Book Review: Be More Kid by Ed James, Mark Taylor and Nicky Taylor

I feel like I’ve ‘known’ Ed James for decades – having listened to him on Heart since he was the Ed of Ed & Helen, then Ed & Sarah-Jane, then Ed & Rachel – before the current iteration of Ed & Gemma. I’ve texted and phoned into his Heart shows lots over the years – I even spoke to the breakfast show after a few glasses of wine whilst in Australia (it was the afternoon there, I’m not a total animal) one Christmas! Ed and I are a similar age, have kids of a similar age, and live in a similar part of the Midlands (we even shared a PT for a few weeks!) – so I’ve always been interested in what he’s up to. When Ed said he’d written a book (he probably mentioned it less than Piers Morgan whose book was out at a similar time!) I thought I’d give it a go – but never got round to buying it. Then I was lucky enough to win a copy in a Twitter competition (thanks to Capstone the publisher!) and I’ve FINALLY found time to read it.

Here’s the blurb:

Have you ever felt there must be more to life? Do you feel unfulfilled? Have you felt stuck, not knowing how to move forward and found yourself settling for less than you deserve?
Since childhood you’ve had all of the resources that you need to create the life that you want, and over time you’ve simply lost touch with them. Now is the time to find them again.
With expert guidance from broadcaster and entrepreneur, Ed James and behaviour and relationship experts, Mark & Nicky Taylor, you’ll rediscover your sense of purpose, reconnect with what is important to you and find out how to unlearn unhelpful habits and behaviours.
Employing simple tools and techniques you can use each day, Be More Kid shows you how to:
– Enjoy a meaningful and fulfilling life
– Stop overthinking and build resilience in a challenging world
– End the conflict of putting everyone else before your own needs
– Rediscover the contentment, enthusiasm and zest for life you had as a child
If you are ready for a new approach to your happiness, relationships and your future, Be More Kid will guide you through the journey, one step at a time.

My general feeling on self help books is they’re not rocket science – but they make you stop and think – and I would say that this is definitely true of ‘Be More Kid’. Sometimes it’s very good to stop and think – especially at the moment, when lots of us feel like we’re hanging on by our fingernails. This was clearly written BC (before Covid) but that doesn’t stop lots of it being really relevant in these tricky times.

Initially I wondered how I’d feel about the book. The first chapter talks about being in the grey zone – and basically unhappy with your day to day life. I have to say that my husband and I have made life choices that means this isn’t the case for us (usually, BC and all that, the life choices did not involve home schooling 4 children!) I’ve historically felt sorry for people who are devastated at the end of a holiday because they have to return to their everyday lives. Don’t get me wrong, I love a holiday as much as the next person (remember holidays?!) but equally we’re always excited to get back to real life and on with our family life and business as we genuinely enjoy it.

However chapter 2 spoke to me a lot. I am the Queen of Overthinking (in fact I actually have a t-shirt with that written on it from the fabulous Paper Press Ireland.) Why do I do it? And how can I try and not do it? This really made me stop and think.

I also enjoyed Chapter 3 on procrastinating! People often say to me they don’t know how I manage to fit everything in to my life – blogging about books often prompts people to say that and ‘how do you have time to read books in the first place?’ But – I listen to audio books in the car, or plan blog posts in my head whilst driving / waiting in the playground. I take my Kindle with me everywhere so I can read when waiting for the kids / trying to get an ill child to sleep / on the loo – so not a minute is wasted. Don’t get me wrong – I’m definitely guilty of procrastinating in other areas and this book made me think about that.

I’m not going to go through the book on a chapter by chapter basis, don’t worry, but some other things I found helpful and interesting were:

Finding joy in behaving like a child sometimes. I’ve often said I have 5 kids, as my husband is one big kid – but he finds joy in being a child (or as I often say, in a loving way of course, ‘being a bit of a d*ck’!). And even I can embrace my inner child. I know of lots of families where the parents – or one of the parents at least – won’t get stuck in, but the whole 6 of us will be flying down the rapids at Centerparcs (I might be a size 20, late forties Mum, but I’m not going to let that stop me!) or taking laser combat super seriously getting muddy and dirty together. Not wanting to sound like a washing powder advert – but dirt is good, the kids coming back from a day out covered in mud can easily be washed away – but the memories last forever. There are definitely times when I could ‘be more kid’ – but I’m up for that! I’m going to try and be excited if it snows tomorrow. Maybe………

Something I also found really interesting – and had actually only thought about recently when reading Caitlin Moran‘s new book – was the pressure we put on ourselves, and our children, by insisting we should be happy at all times. ‘Mummy and Daddy just want you to be happy’ said to our kids when they’re upset. Contentment is quite sufficient – you don’t have to be the life and soul and happy 100% of the time. Sometimes life is rubbish (2020 anyone?!) but to know that ‘this too will pass’ is a valuable thing.

I struggled a bit with the ‘if you don’t like it, don’t do it’ chapter. I’m just such a typical stiff upper lip British people pleaser it’s ridiculous. This is something I really need to work on. There are certain people in my life that are total fun suckers, that drain you of every positive thought you have and you come away from seeing them feeling exhausted – but I’m not brave enough to say no to seeing them. I feel like I ‘should’ be there for them. It feels selfish to not be there for them. I will give this some more thought!

I also think that sometimes the ‘be more kid’ is actually ‘ be more toddler’. At a very young age – and getting younger in society now I would suggest – kids ARE worried about what others think of them, they do want to make other people happy, they can take offence – but I could see where the authors were coming from in the basis of their assertions.

Overall I enjoyed the book – and it did make me stop and think. There were some really helpful messages to take away and continue to work with. Will this still be important in 6 months chimed with me just this afternoon in a particular situation – and in the words of Elsa (or Anna – I can never remember which is which despite having been subjected to ‘Frozen’ many many times) I will attempt to ‘let it go’. I also enjoyed the personal anecdotes from Ed, Mark and Nicky – that really added to the book I felt (as I am naturally nosy!!)

In addition to the book, there’s a whole website with more resources – so definitely worth investigating if you think it would be helpful.

A big thank you to the publisher for my free copy.