Book review: It’s Not a Big Thing in Life

It’s Not a Big Thing in Life

Arnie Witkin

Angel Glow Press

Review: Simonéh De Bruin

Many years ago, a colleague gave me a pocket-sized copy of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (and it’s All Small Stuff) by Richard Carlson as a bon voyage gift when I went on a work exchange trip to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

The book was a reminder to not agonise over little things or things out of my control but to focus on making the most of the trip and being in the moment.

It’s Not a Big Thing in Life, sub-headed Strategies for Coping, written by 77-year-old Capetonian and passionate cricketer Arnie Witkin, is in the same vein.

In the book, with illustrations by Dov Fedler and a foreword by Jamaican-born and West-Indian cricket great Michael Holding, the author asks you to consider what actions you should take in handling life’s troubles and triumphs.

He covers 65 topics in the 182-page book, from the principles of success, love and relationships, how to deal with sexting, cyber bullies, pornography (“bear in mind your computer or device may end up with a nasty virus … make sure you have protection”, he advises tongue-in-cheek) and racism, to coping with illnesses.

The last is a subject Arnie has had to deal with not once but twice, having been diagnosed with advanced thyroid cancer in 2001 and prostate cancer in 2009, which resulted in him having had to have a prostatectomy.

While Arnie’s forte is the world of investments and equities, not writing, his reflections come from experience – some bitterly-learnt – and it has a simple honesty everyone can learn or take heart from.

The past year has taught us how easily our circumstances can change and how we need to value those things that money cannot buy.

This book reminds us that there are certain things in life that remain a constant; that we cannot take our measure by other people’s (sometimes) superficial yardsticks and that there is a lot to be learnt from others and how they navigated the flights and dips life threw at them.

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