ARC Review: Cheat Sheets for Life by Ayesha Ratnayake

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Learn life-changing insights from hundreds of bestsellers – by reading just one book.

As a busy CEO, Ayesha hated her lengthy commutes – until she turned them into her own mobile library. Soon, she was completing over 70 audiobooks each year on happiness, health, productivity, and success – while stuck in traffic. She began capturing and categorising the most valuable research from her readings for rapid reference. In doing so, she realised that it was possible to derive a handbook for life based on the expertise of hundreds of researchers. So, she set about doing just that.

The output is Cheat Sheets for Life – a concise handbook of science-backed advice on 17 dimensions of life, from health to money to leadership to relationships.

In Cheat Sheets for Life, you’ll learn:

— How playing the classic game “Tetris” can protect your mood
— The superfood that is “the most important dietary predictor of lifespan”
— Why you don’t need to have 8 glasses of water a day – and what to do instead
— The simple technique you can use to double your weight loss
— How to increase your chances of finding a partner by 25-46%
— The one factor that can predict your relationship satisfaction 10 years from now
— Why using all your vacation days boosts your chance of getting a raise
— Why you should keep a cute baby’s photo in your wallet
— How to decide whether to quit your job
— And 740+ more valuable insights!

Cheat Sheets for Life aims to be the last book you’ll ever need to pick up to improve your life. Using time-tested research, it strives to give even the busiest individual a foolproof guide to leading an optimised life.

My Thoughts

Rating: 3 out of 5.

There’s something for everyone in Cheat Sheets for Life, which I’d describe as a capsule-sized collection of useful, actionable information on personal development and overall wellness.

I found the chapters on Sleep, Emotional Resilience, Health, Learning, and Productivity to be most useful because I could apply the learnings to my life.

The author presents information in short, easily readable paragraphs and bullet points using simple language. She has curated hundreds of research papers, books, and articles to offer the reader the most important takeaways. However, too many sentences begin with “Research shows that…” so it can be tedious to read.

All her sources are presented chapter-wise at the end, hyperlinked for easy reference. I find this style of referencing good because it doesn’t interfere with one’s reading of the material. The reader can just flip to the back if he/she wants further information.

I didn’t agree to some of the advice, especially the section that discourages co-sleeping. There are cultural differences that the book does not take into consideration. It’s a short book, meant for light reading, so I didn’t expect to see any topic dealt with in detail. But some of the advice is too simplistic–anybody with common sense would know it.

What I liked most about the book were the thought-provoking quotes selected for each chapter.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

— Alvin Toffler

A handy book that you can keep on your desk to be read and re-read for inspiration.

(I received an e-ARC from the author with a request for an honest review.)

Book Links

Goodreads –

Amazon India – –

Author’s website –


7 responses to “ARC Review: Cheat Sheets for Life by Ayesha Ratnayake”

  1. Thanks for your honest critique, Satabdi. I stay away from self-help books as much as possible. Fiction is what enthralls me. After a whole day of study, I find non-fiction boring. Glad to know you found some good advice in the book.

  2. Yes, some of the sections (sleep, happiness, parenting) did have good advice. The rest is common sense.

  3. Curious. It is the basic that I fear. However, from your review it does appear as if the book has some merits. My curiousity has been piqued.

  4. There are only a few sentences about Tetris–even I was intrigued when I read it. The entire book has conclusions derived from research and takeaways from different self-help books. Some of it is quite useful, others are basic.

  5. I guess I need to read this because it mentions my favourite game tetris 🤣

  6. […] I recently finished reading a compact self-help book by Ayesha Ratnayake called Cheat Sheets for Life [my review]. […]

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