Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nonfiction Review: 365 Thank Yous

As soon as I heard about John Kralik’s new book, 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life, I wanted to read it.  I’m a big fan of gratitude in general and thank you notes in particular.  But this book is no trivial handbook on writing thank you notes.  Kralik tells his story with surprising depth and emotion and describes how his life was really transformed over the course of a single year by a simple (yet difficult) change in perspective. 

Kralik’s story begins at a low point in his life, a time when he felt as if his life was falling apart, and he was mired in despair.   His law practice was in the red, his personal finances drained, his two previous marriages broken up, and even his latest girlfriend had recently broken up with him.  After a thoughtful walk in the mountains on New Year’s Day and spurred by memories of his grandfather (and perhaps a bit of divine intervention), he comes up with a plan: to write a thank you note every day for a full year.  He doesn’t expect a lot from this project, but he has a vague sense that it will help him to be more grateful for what he has and perhaps, as his grandfather tried to teach him, will result in gaining more of what he wants.

His project begins slowly, with a few thank you notes written for Christmas gifts, and he wonders how he’ll ever find 365 things to be thankful for.  I won’t tell you what happens next and spoil the book for you, but this silly little project turns out to have quite a profound effect on his life over the next year and beyond.

I listened to the book on audio, read by the author (as I think memoirs should be).  Kralik has a quiet, somewhat monotonous voice, but I came to really enjoy listening to him.  He is obviously a good, kind person who had fallen on hard times, and I enjoyed his dry sense of humor throughout the book as well.  His book tells an engaging story, but it is also inspiring.  Even though I was already a thank you note enthusiast (my kids have been sending thank you notes for birthday and Christmas gifts since they could first hold a crayon!), Kralik’s experiences and his kind, gentle manner motivated me to find more ways to express my gratitude to anyone who has made a difference in my life.

Thank you for reading my review!

Hyperion Audio


  1. This sounds inspiring! I was taught from a young age to write thank-you notes & it was always a delight to get some as well. It's sad to see this type of etiquette go by the wayside of late. Maybe this book can inspire a revival!

  2. It sounds like an intriguing and wonderful book. Thank you for your review :)