Magazine article The Spectator

'Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life', by Ariana Huffington - Review

Magazine article The Spectator

'Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life', by Ariana Huffington - Review

Article excerpt

Credit: Julie Burchill

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life Ariana Huffington

W.H. Allen, pp.342, £16.99, ISBN: 9780753555408

A-Huff's career has been remarkable for the contrast between hard-headed social advancement ('the most upwardly mobile Greek since Icarus') and addle-pated spiritual questing. In this she resembles an older, colder Gwyneth Paltrow, who coincidentally came out with her 'consciously uncoupling' corker as I was ploughing my way through Thrive -- such a G.P. cookbook title! Like Paltrow, who recently vowed that after years of lying she was 'starting to get honest: the path to honesty has been one of the most beautiful, painful and interesting lessons of my life', A-Huff attempts to portray trauma as a lifestyle accessory and growth enhancer.

It can't be a bundle of laughs finding out that your butch Republican hubby is actually a gay libertarian, but she took it on her admirably tight chin and didn't just survive, but yes, thrived, shucking off her drab politician's wife's weeds and pulling on the sharp suits of the mega-career woman, creating the Huffington Post, which she sold to AOL within just six years for $315 million.

But no matter how rarefied a gal's air, sooner or later Madame de Menopause will come a-calling. Most of us see even simple middle age as a sign to slow down, peel off the pantyhose, reach for the elasticated waistbands and proudly exclaim 'Ooof!' upon sitting down. If we were to find ourselves on the floor of our 'home office' bleeding from a head wound, having collapsed through not sleeping and working 18-hour days, as A-Huff did in 2007, most of us would think 'Sod work! I'm gonna go on a Caribbean cruise and eat ice cream with bourbon poured over it for breakfast all the way!'

But characteristically, A-Huff decided to make a whole new string for her bow from her temporary trip-up. Of course, most of us who manage to reach middle age without getting our head stuck up our own fundament while simultaneously gazing down from an ivory tower are well aware that if we force ourselves habitually to work 18 hours a day, then probably something's got to give. Doing so, and then writing a book about why one shouldn't do it, seems quite like tying one's own legs together and then complaining that some unseen hand has forced one to hop. …

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