Book Reviews

The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku

9781760980085

Life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful. It is up to you.

Eddie Jaku always considered himself a German first, a Jew second. He was proud of his country. But all of that changed in November 1938, when he was beaten, arrested and taken to a concentration camp.

Over the next seven years, Eddie faced unimaginable horrors every day, first in Buchenwald, then in Auschwitz, then on a Nazi death march. He lost family, friends, his country.

Because he survived, Eddie made the vow to smile every day. He pays tribute to those who were lost by telling his story, sharing his wisdom and living his best possible life. He now believes he is the ‘happiest man on earth’.

Published as Eddie turns 100, this is a powerful, heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful memoir of how happiness can be found even in the darkest of times.

When a person who has lived for 100 years on this earth offers you life advice, you should listen. When this same person has also not only witnessed but experienced first-hand one of the greatest atrocities this world has ever seen, you not only listen, but you prepare to have your outlook on life completely changed.

Eddie takes us through his time as a prisoner in Auschwitz during World War II, and his life after the war. Each chapter contains a sliver of wisdom that Eddie lives his life by, and by the end of the book you will find your perception of the world and your own life have been changed. The writing in this book is simple and to the point; there is no flowery language or grandiose metaphors here. This only serves to further emphasise Eddie’s message of respect, kindness and love. He is a man who, despite all the horrors he has experienced, has such a positive outlook on life and on humanity.

My new friend Eddie’s message of happiness, love and, above all, hope, is a timely one, and one that we should all be paying attention to.

Rating: 5/5

Australian Publication Date: 1st August 2020

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