21 January 2024

Best Wishes

| Rama Gaind
Start the conversation
book cover

Richard Glover’s latest book looks at ”all that’s wrong with the world, if only we could change it, and what’s right with the world, if only we could see it”. Photo: Supplied.

Radio presenter, journalist and author, Richard Glover is a forever optimist.

He has put together a discerning and amusing list of 365 wishes, one for every day of the year, to help make the world a better place. Looks like you are not the only one who thinks people should get some humour back in their lives!

Glover has just published his 17th book, and each one has a Canberra connection. In Best Wishes, one of his desires is for cheap instant coffee to be given the respect it deserves. He then relates a story about growing up in the nation’s capital as a “teenager when you couldn’t get a cup of coffee after 9 pm. So, groups of friends would drive the 90 minutes to Yass, where we’d enjoy a beverage at the Hume Highway Truck Stop.”

Some of his formative ties to Canberra are a matter of record. Best known as presenter of the Drive program on 702 ABC for the past 25 years, Glover’s ties to his father’s newsagency in Petrie Plaza and the time spent at nearby Gus’ cafe are happy memories.

Another of his books, The Land Before Avocado, starts with a scene in Garema Place with Glover telling his son, ‘I was here when Gus put the first chair on the pavement and the police were called’ and his son not believing him.

READ ALSO Sort Your Career Out: And Make More Money

“Making the world a better, less annoying place one wish at a time” could be perceived as ambitious, but as we join Glover on his wistful literary journey it’s easy to get swept along into this world of make-believe where 365 doesn’t feel like nearly enough!

Best Wishes is heartfelt, entertaining and agreeable, and intermittently, it brings on some slight amusement. Filled with Glover’s usual astuteness, backtalk and humour, it makes you think that if life is better when we laugh, then this is a much-needed salve!

“It’s an encyclopedia of ‘can do better’. It’s a plea for making the world a better, less annoying place — one wish at a time,” he said.

In some ways, this volume borrows from every piece he’s ever written.

“This is a book about all that’s wrong with the world, if only we could change it, and about all that’s right with the world, if only we could see it,” Glover said.

It’s a book that mixes things big and small, because human beings struggle with things both big and small. While there are bigger issues that plague us — such as hunger, discrimination and war — what if we adopted a free-thinking, first-principles, anti-status-quo attitude to the lot? Maybe, in both small ways and big, we could make the world a better place.

”Only you can separate the ideas that are not entirely serious, that express a moment of frustration, from the ideas that could really work. Good luck on deciding which is which, because I’m unsure myself. My surprise, writing this book, was that some of the most jokey ideas grew on me. I’d hoped for a laugh and then thought, ‘Actually, this really would work.’ Maybe they really should ban leaf blowers.

READ ALSO Political Lives: Australian prime ministers and their biographers

”Most of all, I hope you enjoy and are fired up by this book, at the absurdities of the way we live right now — served with a measure of hope that we can find a better way.”

Glover’s compilation of can-do-better is a call to action for an empathetic world. It’s innocuous, with some ideas you’ll agree with and others you think are idiotic. Nonetheless, in the hope of whetting your appetite, a few of Richard’s best wishes include: ”I wish the very rich would pay more tax; I wish dogs lived longer; I wish people were less dogmatic; I wish for an end to companies that want me to ‘rate our service’; I wish, early in life, I’d been told the one hangover cure that works; I wish for the removal of mirrors in retail change rooms; I wish for a ban on special rates for new customers; and I wish Australians would stop running themselves down.”

While you contemplate Glover’s fervent best wishes, why not add some more of your own into the mix!

By Richard Glover, ABC Books, $34.99

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.