With his Blinding Glimpses of the Obvious, Rajan Jetley joins the ranks of modern writers who offer wisdom in short bites, otherwise known as aphorisms.
Jetley’s slim book of truisms is in coffee-table format with several pieces per page. They are not organized by subject, such as family, work, relationships and politics, because the author found it “hard to compartmentalize these ideas so easily.” His thoughts are presented as they came to him during “the last twenty-odd years.” The reader “can open any page and read it in any sequence.” Some full-page cartoons depicting insights are also included.
Many of Jetley’s aphorisms explore the idea of success: what it means and how it is obtained. For instance, he states, “In order to succeed, keep your objective clear and your strategy flexible.” Other aphorisms concern such topics as children, sex, morality and religion. Some of his strongest are those about love and relationships. “With every act of caring you take for granted,” he admonishes, “you untie a knot that holds the relationship together.”
Too often, however, Jetley’s aphorisms lack the pithiness or impact to provoke reflection or to make the kind of impression that will continue to resonate in future situations. For example, George Bernard Shaw’s assertion, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself,” creates an impression that some will mentally revisit. Jetley’s “The reason for your casino addiction may be the memory of a single win” or “Sensitivity is ironically our best and worst quality” gives a moment’s thought that is unlikely to be recalled later.
Still, there are some stars among the rest, and for those who collect aphorisms, Jetley’s book is worth browsing.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.