Biz & Books Review: ‘A little childishness becomes a good thing’


You threw a perfect fit. You stomped into your room, kicked a chair, knocked things off a table. You ranted. Screamed. And though you were tempted, you stopped just short of throwing yourself on the floor because your colleagues would talk.

Oddly, you felt better once you were done because sometimes, says Hasan Merali, being childish is just what you need. In his new book “Sleep Well, Take Risks, Squish the Peas,” doing so could even make you successful.

Spend even just a few minutes with little people between the ages of one and five, and you’ll notice a few things. Kids that age are generally happier. They laugh more, they have curiosity, unabashedness, and risk-taking abilities. What would your life – at work and at home – be like if you acted more like those kids?

Says Merali, it’s not as far-fetched as you think.

As our brains mature, we lose our sense of wonder, our attention to detail and our flexibility in thinking. Logic rules our minds, while creativity waits in the wings. We laugh a lot less. We get stingy with generosity and kindness, and we become self-conscious.

Who wants that? Turn things around, Merali says, by eating only when you’re hungry and by getting enough sleep. Make a routine before bedtime. Read yourself a story. Nap, if you can. Stay active, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Be kind, learn to share, and don’t assume that every stranger is a danger. At least once a day, do something that will make you laugh; better yet, do it with a friend or two. Pick a book if you need to give yourself a reward, and always read a mixture of “make-believe and real stories.”

Remember that life is not entirely goal-oriented, so take time to play. Use teamwork. Don’t get angry at malfunctioning equipment. Learn that it’s okay to ask for help, and to give it. Ask questions. Be brave. Learn that “NO” is a full sentence.

Can you fit a teddy bear into a lunch box or briefcase? Can you arrange to have a sandbox in the break room at work? You’ll be tempted to try these things, once you see the possibilities inside “Sleep Well, Take Risks, Squish the Peas.”

If this all seems a little silly at first, remember that age regression isn’t mandatory, but a toddler’s outlook is. Author Merali doesn’t insist that readers act like children but with guidance from this book, a little childishness becomes a good thing.

Even the most stoic CEO can benefit from more levity, and Merali’s words on maintaining curiosity and openness to learning are priceless for both home and work. Merely reading Merali’s imaginary scenarios can add fun to your day.

This is the kind of book you hand to your sales team for a group read, followed by a discussion and bottles of soap bubbles. If you need to lighten up and laugh more, “Sleep Well, Take Risks, Squish the Peas” could be the perfect fit.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is the reviewer behind “The Bookworm Sez.” Reach her at


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