John Cleese, Robin Skynner

Life and How to Survive It Translated from the English by Camille Fort. Publication date : May 1, 1998

Skynner and Cleese know each other well - rumour has it that the former was once the latter’s shrink. This is the second book they have published together, the first being Families and How to Survive Them. In Life and How to Survive It, the authors have given us more than 400 pages of lively, tonic humour. Their subject is the joy of living and the conditions required to enjoy life to the full. Proceeding by ever-larger concentric circles, the authors successively discuss happy families (brilliant!), companies that allow their employees to fulfil themselves, and finally countries where life is pleasurable. They discuss the values underpinning these different organisational structures and offer some sound, common-sense advice - which should help all of us to recover enthusiasm and joie de vivre. John Cleese plays his usual role, buzzing around self-importantly and defying all attempts to use psychoanalytic jargon. In the process he succeeds in the difficult task of making a mental health expert define his position and opinions, and even to talk about his weaknesses! This is British humour at its best, brilliantly—and hilariously—illustrated.

British comic actor John Cleese is famous for the cult television series Fawlty Towers, which he co-authored and starred in. Possibly the best known of the Monty Python team of comedians, Cleese gave a memorable performance in the popular film A Fish Called Wanda (1988).

Robin Skynner is a psychotherapist specialising in group therapies. He teaches at the Institute of Family Therapy, in London.