In Hard Easy, Arthur F. Coombs III defines his Law of Hard-Easy and then, through skilled storytelling, describes various situations where this rule can be successfully applied. The book’s goal, he explains, is to “help you learn how to make this natural law of the universe work for you instead of against you.”
Coombs developed this rule after riding his horse, BigDog, while helping cowboy friends move cattle. When it was time to cross a stream, Coombs picked a shallow location—but his horse stubbornly preferred another spot. After struggling with his horse, Coombs decided to give in. Then, a cowboy friend warned him: If he didn’t take control, the horse would fight him every time they came to a stream. “[Y]ou can live easy-hard or hard-easy,” the cowboy said. “It’s your choice.”
In other words, a person can take the easy path now, although it may lead to complications later, or tackle the tough job now.
The law, he notes, has several qualities: It’s sequential and causal: “The harder we work initially, the easier we’ll have it later.” It’s an accumulation of small decisions that gain significance over time. It’s also directly related to our choices, not our circumstances, and a natural law, like gravity. “It affects everyone equally, regardless of how much or how little they know about it.”
It can be applied in many situations. For example, the author used it to teach his son why procrastinating over homework can lead to more pain (decreased job opportunities) later.
Chapters deal with topics such as learning from others’ wisdom and our natural hard wiring for instant gratification. Each chapter demonstrates how the Hard-Easy applies and offers a recap with thought-provoking questions at its end.
Coombs’s book lays out his case clearly and with plenty of common sense sprinkled throughout, resulting in a thought-provoking, well-written book with intriguing and lively anecdotes.
It will be useful anyone ready to take the plunge and commit to making the hard choices now.