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My Review of Teja Lele’s Book ‘Live Smart’

Live smart: 100 hacks for a healthier and happier life by Teja Lele called out to me since it promises to make the reader more self-sufficient and independent if the reader follows the hacks and DIY instructions.

We have had an old copy of ‘Hints n’ Helps’ – Household dictionary – A complete guide to saving money on house repairs and maintenance published in 1988 in Miami, Florida that my dad bought at a book fair back then. So, I was curious to have a look at a ‘modern’ book on those lines. Live smart consists of a section on beauty tips, health tips and reuse and recycle tips, which is in addition to the home and food sections.

The author of Live Smart, Teja Lele, in the introduction says that COVID-19 taught us the importance of self-sufficiency. She also mentions that Scarlett ‘O Hara is the heroine she sees herself as. The author has been to twelve schools and moved around quite a bit due to her army-brat upbringing. It is what she credits her adaptability to. She lists ‘a basic survival skills quiz’ and asks the reader to rate themselves.  She talks about minimalism, old-fashioned living, frugal living and slow living in the introduction.

Book cover of Live Smart.

The book consists of five sections:

1.       Home, which encompasses topics such as how to fix a blown fuse, how to unplug a clogged toilet, how to fix a flat tyre to instructions on making an all-purpose cleaner. This section has a total of 25 such hacks.

2.      Section 2 is about Food and Kitchen, which teaches you how to make banana bread, a variety of sauces, pizza, how to re-use spare rotis, to growing your own microgreens and clearing a blocked sink. This section contains 22 tips.

3. Section 3 is about beauty tips. The author gives us the recipe for making reetha, amla and shikakai shampoo, dry shampoo, ghee kajal, moisturizing face mask, foot soak, body scrub, etc. The section contains 14 tips.

4. Section 4 includes health and well-being tips such as how to remove a splinter, how to save a knocked-out tooth, how to administer CPR, ease a sore throat, reduce nausea, tackle gastrointestinal problems, deal with insomnia and so on. The section contains 24 tips.

5. The fifth section is reuse and recycle where the author teaches us how to reuse fruit peels, vegetable peels, regrow veggies from kitchen scraps etc. The section has 15 tips.

In addition to the existing tips, there are also smart tips inserted in the book. For example, in the beauty section, the author tells us how we can bid adieu to clarifying shampoos by mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with the regular shampoo.

In her conclusion titled ‘Not the end’ the author touches upon the Japanese concepts of Wabi Sabi and Kintsugi, “which appreciates beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.” She also explains the rasquache aesthetic of the Spanish. Rasquachismo is the art of ‘how to make the most from the least.’

This book will be of interest and use to the general reader who is interested in learning life skills and living a minimalistic life. Some hints about gardening and water and energy conservation measures would have been welcome. 

You can buy the book on Amazon India.

This review is powered by Blogchatter Book Review Program


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Aishwariya Laxmi

I’m Aishwariya. I’m passionate about writing, reading, marketing communications, books, blogging, poetry and editing. I’ve donned several hats, such as freelance journalist, copywriter, blogger and editor.


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