A humorous and penetrating glimpse at how we live and how we die. This book is a quick read that will leave a lasting impression.
101 Cool Ways to Die is an opportunity to get past the natural tendency to avoid thinking about dying. It encourages readers to laugh. It might make them cry.
"I'm going to sue you, Douglas. I passed it around my office and they all died laughing." Jean Houston, author of A Mythic Life
Wittgenstein once said that a serious and philosophical work could be written that would consist entirely of jokes. This book is a formidable response to Wittgenstein's challenge. The message revealed between the covers is different for every reader. Death, after all, is a personal matter.
Only in America will you hear people say, "If I die...". As if there were an alternative. As if we could choose between dying and, say, a vacation in Hawaii. This book crosses the great divide between if and when.
Dying is something we all have to do sooner or later, but nobody seems to want to talk about it. Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage." If so, then most of the players are reading a script without an ending. We can act like the show goes on forever, but the climax always comes in the final act. One way or another, each of the fascinating characters who appear in every stage of our lives is going to die.
"We all have a shelf life."
Maryellen Kelley, Director SBCC Omega Program (1929-2015)
"Americans live under the illusion that death is an option. Here is a creative and hopeful antidote to our cultural paranoia. This book invites the reader to stand in the tension of opposites. Instead of fear, expect to discover the joy of living." Richard Groves, founder, The Anamcara Project.
If you had 30 minutes to live, what would you rather be doingflying a hang glider over the South Pacific or riding a commuter train across the Brooklyn Bridge? Everyone has to go sooner or later, but once you're dead it's almost always too late to get a life.
You will discover:
1. Moderation is not always the best policy.
2. It's not what you know but who you are.
3. Live each day like there's no tomorrow.
4. Death is inevitable; life is phenomenal.
You have only two lives to livethe one you live, and the one you will miss if you are too busy or too cautious or too stubborn to take the leap. This book is an accelerated course in living. Why not give some thought to all of the cool ways you could be living your life when you take your last breath?
"Dying was a part of living. You had to keep tuning into that if you expected to be a whole person." Stephen King, The Shining.
Odds are that your last glimpse of the great outdoors will be at the back of a hospital. Once you're inside, they will hook you up, try to save your life, run up a huge bill, and finally pull the plug. Last one out the back door wins.
The worst thing you can do, as a member of the consumer society, is to go out on your own dime, spending all your hard-earned cash on some ridiculous contraptionlike a hang glider, or a rocket-powered scooter, or ropes to rappel off the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Dying may seem like an inappropriate topic, but consider the alternatives. Even God hasn't come up with a better solution. In the next three hours, while you're minding your own business (or flying a hang glider to Hawaii) the population of the world will go up 25,000another 200,000 people a day. That's 72 million more people on the planet every yearand a lot of them will want a new computer every five years, a shiny car on their 18th birthday, and fresh seafood or a juicy steak when they go out.
We live twice as long as we lived a century ago, we each generate twice as much garbage per day, and for what? To play ten more years of golf and tennis? Perhaps we avoid talking about dying because we're so addicted to living.
101 Cool Ways to Die offers a light-hearted opportunity to get past the natural tendency to avoid thinking about dying. And it has REALLY BIG TYPE.
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101 Cool Ways To Die is not an ordinary book - each of its two hundred pages contains naught save a short summary of one cool way to die (left-hand page) and a not-cool way to die (right-hand page). The dark humor may raise an eyebrow at times, but 101 Cool Ways To Die is ultimately about getting a few more laughs in life rather than hurtling faster to an early death. Some of the ways to die are actually quotes from famous people, but most are brilliantly simple. For example, suggestion set #63 is "Writing a thriller" (cool way to die) and "Reading a spreadsheet" (uncool way to die). A great gag gift for friends with a sense of humor - a working funny bone is mostly definitely required for this reading!
"I love 101 Cool. I'm sure others do too. No matter how many times I look at it, there is always something newI get a new perspective. What a wonderful idea."
Michael Goldberg, Painter
About the Author
Douglas Gillies wrote Prophetthe Hatmaker's Son. The Life of Robert Muller (East Beach Press 2003) and Paradise Earth (2008). His documentaries include: "On the Edge," "Savio," "Fall of Man," and "The Big Picture."
Gillies majored in psychology at UCLA, where he produced "The Isle of the Damned," a multimedia exhibit at UCLA Mardi Gras visited by 40,000 people in two days. During law school, he worked as Assistant Legislative Council for the Congress of Micronesia, where he wrote a speech for independence that might have triggered a tiny little revolution.
After winning several jury trials in Santa Cruz, California, he served as Directing Attorney of Senior Citizens Legal Services and facilitated formation of the Seniors Council of Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties. He moved to San Francisco and joined the financial district law firm of Swaner, Leslie, Flenniken, and Gillies, where he participated in complex litigation before branching out into writing and filmmaking.
Gillies took a special interest in dying while he was facilitating a 3-day invitational summit, "A Matter of Life and Death," at La Casa de Maria in Santa Barbara CA. The topic was, "What is the meaning of life and the meaning of death?" He then facilitated formation of the Alliance for Living & Dying Well, a non-profit organization with the mission of "addressing the fear of death and dying in the community, thereby allowing for a deeper, richer and fuller experience of life." But how do you get a community to start talking about dying?
This book is a start.