The Big Importance of The Little Things

Friday Book Review of The Little Things by Andy Andrews

Book Cover of The Little ThingsWhen the first line of an Author’s Note exclaims “Gosh, you’re still here. That’s a good sign, I suppose,” you know you’re in for a ride.

Then you’re urged to rip pages out of the book, stuff them in your pocket, and pull them out to read when standing in line somewhere.

Then you get to the Preface, which is a single page entitled Preface with the words “Ha! I’m just kidding. There’s not a preface. Turn the page.”

Yeah, this book’s going to be different. Trust me, that’s a good thing.

At first glance, The Little Things by renowned author and speaker Andy Andrews appears to have, pardon the pun, little to offer. It’s just 160 pages. My hardcover copy fit into my car’s coin tray.

Before this, I’d never read any of his books, though I had heard of him. It’s hard not to have, when such works as The Traveler’s Gift and The Noticer have sold millions of copies. Andrews is known for providing great insight in a down-to-earth way.

The Little Things does it. It’s a fun ride, but the lessons he teaches are substantial.

The Little Concepts That Matter

The premise of the book is simple and self-evident: the little things matter. If that were the beginning and end of it, it would be another throwaway entry into the crowded personal development field.

To my great relief, it was far more. It’s not that anything Andrews says is revolutionary. There are few ideas in the book that, at some point in your life, you haven’t encountered. The problem is that these are in many ways the ideas. They’re the not-so-secret secret sauce.

Andrews seems to recognize this, which is why he doesn’t spend countless chapters rehashing the same concepts. Nor does he wax philosophical where he doesn’t need to. Instead, The Little Things focuses on telling great stories that each prove a point.

Several of these stories are personal. Andrews tells about how he and his wife drove to a friend’s house for dinner while a spectacular sunset streaked across the sky behind them to show the importance of perspective. He talks about what he learned toughing out a difficult year of sixth grade football. He shares about the challenges he faced as a first-time author.

Some of the tales are also historical. You’ll never think of the Battle of Waterloo the same way again after you read Andrews’ account of it. Then there’s the story of how a young newspaper delivery boy changed the course of history.

My favorite chapter, without a doubt, was about the question “why?” The way he explores the implications of why will get you thinking. I considered the question of “why” in Monday’s post, but my post does no justice to Andrews’ chapter.

Key Takeaways

Without revealing any of the meat of the stories he tells, as it is a small book, here are a few of my biggest takeaways from The Little Things:

  • “Why” is a key that unlocks a lot of doors, when you ask it enough and in the right contexts.
  • Perspective is something you control that can change your entire outlook on life.
  • Change is much easier if you understand how it works.

As mentioned earlier, these concepts don’t seem earth-shattering unless you’re not giving them enough thought, and most of us don’t. Even if you’re skeptical, I’m pretty sure you’ll get something big out of The Little Things. I sure did.

One final note. While I did buy the physical book, I also got the audiobook version. I like to have both when possible so I can listen and refer back to the book itself when necessary. It’s one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to because Andrews narrates it himself, and he’s a world-class storyteller and speaker.

I’ll be posting about how I use audiobooks soon, but if you like audiobooks, this is top of the line.

Question: What little things have you found to be big things in your own life? Leave a comment below!

At least two Fridays a month I post book reviews. I read non-fiction, such as economics, business, leadership, and biographies. I’ll mix it up from time to time also. If you want to suggest a book for me to read and review in the future, please leave it in the comments. Thank you.