The Weekend Read – The 50 Rules of Life by Eric Sanford

I can find little about Eric Sanford online but I know that he is a journalist and photographer who fell into writing after spending too much time “drinking beer” when studying engineering at college. I believe he spends as much time as he can sailing – there is a scary account of his being swept overboard (when breaking one of the rules of sailing as it happens) in Ocean Navigator.

I have no idea when I bought this little (82 pages)book*. It has a dedication in the front which reads, “To Alun – If you play by the rules you miss all the fun! Eric”. Delicious Library (my cataloging programme for books etc) tells me that this was first published in 2005, the year that I decided that clinical dentistry was no fun anymore but this edition was released in January 2011.

So far so good, in the forward Eric explains that he wrote the book when, after making the same mistakes over and over again, he determined to learn some lessons so he wouldn’t keep repeating his blunders. Although his rules are personal many can apply equally to most of us. Using “50 Rules” helps me to stay grounded, reminds me of my core values and helps me gain perspective. I think Eric’s exercise is one that most of us could and should copy. I have a document on the desktop which I copied from the Guardian, “This much I know” which makes a start.

The reason that I have re-read it this week is that I am in the middle of one of my regular periods of re-appraisal, examining my mindset, my motives and my methods reflecting on what’s working, what isn’t and what adjustments in course I need to make for the next year or so.

Here are some examples from the book:

  • Rule #1 Make your dreams come true.
  • Rule #2 Write it down.
  • Rule #3 Do it now.
  • Rule #28 Believe only what you see with your own eyes or hear with your own ears.
  • Rule #33 Don’t assume that others share your views.
  • Rule #47 Question authority.

Having now written about “The 50 Rules of Life” I am minded to write my own as an exercise, why don’t you?

I believe you can buy a copy from

*PS. I realise that I bought it on the recommendation of my friend the ocean rower, environmental campaigner and coach Roz Savage MBE, FRGS, who is mentioned, but not named, in the opening chapter. 



Published by Alun Rees

Dental Business Coach. Analyst. Troubleshooter. Consultant. Writer. Presenter. Broadcaster.

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