For fans of Hugh Hewitt, this book will come across as Hewitt at his best. Wisdom ranging from Thucydides to the “Fetching Mrs. Hewitt” is sprinkled throughout his practical-philosophical book “The Happiest Life.” Hewitt spends half of the book articulating seven gifts (encouragement, energy, enthusiasm, empathy, good humor, graciousness, and gratitude) that can be bestowed through seven relationships (parents, spouses, family members, friends, teachers, coworkers, and church members). The latter cluster of seven relationships are further unpacked through the second part of the book. Full of wisdom and wit, the book is engaging a portion of the time.
Hewitt’s work is a very whimsical read and his graciousness came through page after page. However, this whimsy was quickly displaced with a repetitive narration of his personal stories and name dropping. The gifts he delineated are worth the price of the book; however, I found the second half of the book to be rather dull.
Hewitt wove together anecdotes and personal stories quite well; I walked away with a better understanding of him as a person. However, as mentioned above, this big strength is also one of the major detriments to his work. It seemed as if he would namedrop liberally, inserting conversations and relationships throughout his work. While there are some helpful illustrations among the relationships, I found it to be nearly unbearable the further I went in the book.
I did find Hewitt’s use of the classics to be quite refreshing and his use of thinkers across the spectrum was a nice surprise. My guess is that if you enjoy western philosophy and the Judeo-Christian tradition, then you will also enjoy portions of this book. With the exception of the repetitive name dropping, this book is nice to skim through and dive down deep into certain gifts he raised.
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