I’ve always loved otters, ever since I first saw them at London Zoo when I was 8 or 9. They’re just so playful and engaging to watch, especially in big groups. The Little Book of Otter Philosophy was a birthday gift from work, which has been sitting on my shelf waiting for me to get around to it for far too long. Though I sometimes struggle with non-fiction, I had a feeling this would be quick and easy to read. What I couldn’t have predicted was how very, very appropriate it would be.
So if you’re the one that’s let someone down, don’t be too hard on yourself — or on them, if it’s the other way around. Apologise or forgive (or don’t and move on to a hopefully healthier situation), but take heart that even the best, most adorable things in nature are also complete assholes sometimes.The Little Book of Otter Philosophy, Jennifer McCartney
The week I started reading about how to ‘live life like you otter’, I was working into the small hours most nights, trying to get my magazines schedules for 2022 sorted while also facing narrowed print deadlines. Never have I more needed the advice to play more, work less. If only it were that easy!
That’s what the otter philosophy is all about, vocalising pleasure with all your might. Shouting joy out into the universe. Putting that happiness out there for all to see and for everyone to share.The Little Book of Otter Philosophy, Jennifer McCartney
I particularly appreciated that Jennifer McCartney got right into ‘a practical guide’ — I so often find self-help books or articles to be so vague that I just get frustrated because I have no idea how to implement that advice. As a long-term choir member, I found the section on singing and music to be particularly affirming. As a long-term scheduler, however, being told to organise and prepare less was not quite so welcome, though I can see it has merit.
Overall, I just really enjoyed reading The Little Book of Otter Philosophy. It was nothing ground-breaking, and I certainly didn’t manage to implement the guidance to cut down on the amount of work hours I was putting in, but I think parts of it will stick with me, nonetheless. I’d like to reread when my work life isn’t quite so hectic, so that I actually stand some chance of putting it into practice.