Book Review: Be Great, Be Grateful

Photography by Yeshen Venema

Photography by Yeshen Venema


Hackney-based creative studio Patternity has written a second book, Be Great Be Grateful; it arrived a few weeks ago but I'll confess I was a little scared to get into it. 

Pitched as a 'Gratitude Journal For Positive Living', the title jarred a little with my absolutely crazy life and it just felt that setting time aside to dig into this would be self-absorbed and a poor use of my limited resources. 

As it turns out, I'm exactly the kind of person that can benefit from this journal. 

Patternity was established by Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham; read a great interview with them over at The Chromologist where they explain how their innovative practice promotes a new way of seeing and reframing the wonderful environment in which we live.

I finally sat down with it when I was flustered and hot on a train last week, en route to my mother-in-law who had been in a car accident. The opening pages of the book  - which is, by the way, beautifully designed with a smooth cover and accessible layout - suck you in immediately. 

"Being aware, grateful and appreciative ... sounds simple but it's easy to take things for granted. How can we begin to create more gratitude not just for the obviously excellent but also for the mundane every day that we all too often overlook?" 

Almost immediately, I forgot that I was sat next to an extraordinarily stinky fella on the train and that I had ruined my lovely white top by dropping my tasteless sandwich filling down the front of it. As the pages turned ever-more easily, I realized how in the rush and frenzy of daily life, I've been neglecting one of my favorite activities: carefully looking at colours, textures, patterns and shapes in the phenomenal natural and manmade designs around me. 

Slow down, breathe properly, take stock of what's actually important and don't dwell on things you can't control. Simple, really. 

For my taste there are far too many 'Daily Gratitude Logs' - I know that many enjoy this style of journalling but my lack of commitment to anything means the prescriptive format of recording my responses and feelings is a little too restrictive. The 'Free Flow Pages' at the end of the book where I am invited to write, draw, scribble, jot, explore, is definitely more my speed. 

Lots of the photography in the book is stunning and the thought-provoking quotes are well-chosen. My favorite is the African proverb "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together". 

Treat yourself to this book and let me know here what you think of it. 

Be Great, Be Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Positive Living - £12.99