“The key to success in life is using the good thoughts of wise people.”

Leo Tolstoy

Painting of Leo Tolstoy by Nikolai Ge

My current bathroom book is “A Calendar of Wisdom” by Leo Tolstoy, translated from Russian by Peter Sekirin in Toronto. 

I’m fascinated by the lives and whimsies of enlightened artists. Quirks of character are a common trait with this breed, and Leo was no exception. In his lifetime, he journeyed from the privileged youth of a Russian aristocrat, to an ageing maverick condemning war and rejecting the idea of private property. 

In his later years, Tolstoy collected what he considered the wisest thoughts from the greatest thinkers across numerous centuries and compiled them in this publication. The many contributors include: Greek philosophers like Epictetus and Socrates, Eastern sages such as Buddha and Lao-tzu, and more contemporary writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and George Eliot. He constructed the book as a calendar, so I can count on an entire year of savouring this treasure. 

I’m only a month in and delighted to discover that the quandaries humans face today have changed little over the ages. 

“To love means to live within the lives of those whom you love.” 

 Lao-tzu (4th or 6th Century BC—depends on who you ask)

“The secret of happiness? Enjoy small pleasures.”

Samuel Smiles 1812-1904 (his masterpiece of 1859, titled “Self Help”)

Countless self-help books have come out since Mr. Smiles penned the original one, but the modern ones tend to focus on a single new-wave theme. My latest bathroom book lays out human thought and wisdom shared over hundreds of years.

It’s a daily reminder that wealth and success matter little, and to lead a good life we need to: 

  • Work with purpose 
  • Practise kindness to others and ourselves
  • Exercise humility and avoid big-headedness
  • And, most of all—to meet each day with love and a sense of awe


My novel “f-Holes of MELANCHOLIA” is now available. It was a labour of love.

To sample the first pages, click on the image below.


Read an excerpt

Available at Ingram Spark, Apple Books, and Amazon.

September 24th would have been my Mom and her twin brother’s 94th birthday, so I chose that date for release of my book. And, on that day, my son Lochlin interviewed me about my novel. He hosts a morning show in Edmonton—The LOCKERROOM—on 95.7 CRUZ FM.