Have you ever watched The Twilight Zone? No?
So when Everything I Need to Know I Learned in The Twilight Zone by Mark Dawidziak arrived in the mail, I wasn’t really sure what to think. This book, labeled “a fifth-dimension guide to life” turned out to be a fun, almost self-help style collection of lessons that The Twilight Zone can offer to watchers.
by Mark Dawidziak
Published on February 28, 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books
Genres: Adult, Nonfiction
Can you live your life by what The Twilight Zone has to teach you? Yes, and maybe you should. The proof is in this lighthearted collection of life lessons, ground rules, inspirational thoughts, and stirring reminders found in Rod Serling’s timeless fantasy series. Written by veteran TV critic, Mark Dawidziak, this unauthorized tribute is a celebration of the classic anthology show, but also, on another level, a kind of fifth-dimension self-help book, with each lesson supported by the morality tales told by Serling and his writers.
The notion that “it’s never too late to reinvent yourself” soars through “The Last Flight,’’ in which a World War I flier who goes forward in time and gets the chance to trade cowardice for heroism. A visit from an angel blares out the wisdom of “follow your passion” in “A Passage for Trumpet.” The meaning of “divided we fall” is driven home with dramatic results when neighbors suspect neighbors of being invading aliens in “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” The old maxim about never judging a book by its cover is given a tasty twist when an alien tome is translated in “To Serve Man.”
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Having no previous background with The Twilight Zone, I likely didn’t pick up on as many things as a fan would but I definitely think everyone can still enjoy this book. Each lesson correlates to an episode of the show and details a short story that made the book a fast read as well as entertaining.
Now there are 50 lessons. That’s right. 50. It’s a lot and I enjoyed reading them but I wanted to pick out my top 10 favorites!
10. Imagine a Better World (Lesson 32)
Who doesn’t want to see the world thorough the lens of the fictional? Imagination is so crucial to creation and progress and I love that there’s such a strong focus in this lesson that imagination doesn’t make something lesser or inferior.
9. Nobody Said Life was Fair (Lesson 4)
There was a quoted quote (yes, weirdly worded, I know) that I loved in this one and it’s one you’ve probably heard quite a bit: “Never (ever) ask, What could possibly go wrong?” Connected with life not always going your way, it makes you think about your view of the world and sometimes things COULD be worse (or go even more horribly wrong). Perspective, that’s the word for all that.
8. The universe does not revolve around you (Lesson 48)
Hah. This one was just gold. The amount of people I want to read this chapter alone is pretty high. Just like my #6 choice for this list (farther down), you’re not the only person out there. Keep that in mind moving forward.
7. Don’t judge a book by its cover (Lesson 26)
Okay, I totally included this one because this is a book blog and I judge books by their covers all the time. It’s the first thing you see. Impressions are important and can make it or break it, but it shouldn’t be the end-all decision maker about a book (or a person).
6. Remember the people who got you where you are (Lesson 45)
It’s crazy to think about all the connections you make in your journey through life. And I loved this chapter because I think it’s a fact that people take for granted or forget about. But, as I’ve heard time and again, it’s more about WHO you know versus WHAT. Respect that.
5. Fill your life with something other than hate (Lesson 38)
When has hate ever succeeded over support and love? Please, I want to know. Another one that resonated with me and recent events. The world seems so full of hate right now and I get it. I do. But take a lesson out of this book and give your life more than just hate to run on.
4. Let it go (Lesson 17)
I almost put in a Frozen gif. Almost. But honestly, sometimes something isn’t going to work. Sometimes holding that grudge is going to hurt you more than get back at that other person. Sometimes you have to just let it go.
3. Divided we fall (Lesson 6)
This one really resonated with me with recent events in the world. Sometimes it’s hard to see the bigger picture when we’re all working toward our own goals but we need that bigger picture going into the future. I loved the line, “The episode also can be viewed as a warning against fearing people just because they’re different.” It’s definitely something to think about right now.
2. Follow your passion (Lesson 2)
As an aspiring author, I loved this bit because it talked about writing and not just writing what you know, the age-old advice, but writing what you’re INTERESTED in. Be passionate about your work and do what YOU want to do.
1. When nobody else believes in you, keep believing in yourself (Lesson 24)
The times I needed to hear this is too damn high. I loved the story for this one but the message behind it was even stronger. Not everyone will support you but you can’t give up on yourself because you’re your biggest fan.
So should you buy this book? Honestly that’s up to you. I thought it was a lighthearted, fun read with a lot of real-world value (and this is coming from someone who not only doesn’t read nonfiction normally but also tends to live in the fantasy realm of literature). I definitely enjoyed learning from The Twilight Zone!