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Any Ordinary Day: Blindsides, Resilience and What Happens After the Worst Day of Your Life

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  7,009 ratings  ·  666 reviews
As a journalist, Leigh Sales often encounters people experiencing the worst moments of their lives in the full glare of the media. But one particular string of bad news stories – and a terrifying brush with her own mortality – sent her looking for answers about how vulnerable each of us is to a life-changing event. What are our chances of actually experiencing one? What do ...more
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published October 1st 2018 by Penguin eBooks
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Emma Paton It Depends on the people. The book revisits the traumatic event experiences by the people involved but does not dwell on it. It focuses on how they…moreIt Depends on the people. The book revisits the traumatic event experiences by the people involved but does not dwell on it. It focuses on how they survived mentally in the early days and how they continue to survive day to day. I found it a very powerful book and oddly comforting.(less)

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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  7,009 ratings  ·  666 reviews

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Start your review of Any Ordinary Day: Blindsides, Resilience and What Happens After the Worst Day of Your Life
In writing Any Ordinary Day, author, journalist and former correspondent Leigh Sales has presented something very far from ordinary. The author is widely known in Australia for her sharp journalistic skills in front and behind the camera for the ABC program the 7.30 Report, and for her self-deprecating and witty notes on life in the podcast 'chat10looks3' alongside Annabel Crabb. Here is a link to that if you would like to have a look:

This meticulously researched
Michael Livingston
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it
In contrast to everyone else I follow on Goodreads, I didn't love this. Sales interviews a handful of people who have suffered high profile tragedies about how they coped with the trauma, loss and attention they went through. The interviews are honest and interesting and provide a powerful look at recovery, resilience and grief. The book weaves Sales' own trials and scientific research around these interviews and here, especially the science bits, I was bit underwhelmed. It's a thoughtful and ...more
“The random distribution of misfortune is perhaps the only thing in life that is fair.”

I read a comment years ago that said it was reassuring to think that the odds of a nuclear holocaust were only once in million years . . . until it occurs to you that that includes tomorrow.

The author asks:
“When the unthinkable does happen, what comes next? How does a person go on?
. . .
The novelist Iris Murdoch once wrote that paying attention is a moral act. To me, paying close attention to these kinds of
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is a study in grief, trauma and life altering events. Leigh interviews those who have been faced with some of the most incomprehensible loss or those who have overcome major traumatic events, she does so with a practical approach but always with compassion and kindness. Being an acclaimed journalist she had been confronted with interviewing many survivors and victims. People are curious by nature so satisfying the public’s curiosity while trying to respect and maintain the victims ...more
Leigh Sales is a well-respected journalist who has a prime-time show on the ABC - the Australian taxpayer-funded station similar to the NPR in the States and the BBC in the UK.

I was curious to read this best seller book, so I was happy to get it as an audiobook, especially since it was narrated by Sales herself.

Any Ordinary Day was quite interesting. I haven't read any books that looked at tragedy and how people cope and deal with the aftermath of such life-altering events.
Sales interviews a
4 Stars

In Any Ordinary Day, Australian journalist Leigh Sales takes a thoughtful look at the remarkable power of human endurance in the face of great loss and adversity.

Here, Sales shares with her readers a series of candid interviews, featuring members of the general public who have, in one role or another, been at the centre of some of Australia’s most memorable and devastating news stories over the past few decades - everything from the Thredbo landside and the Port Arthur massacre, to more
couldn’t finish this one. I’m a massive fan of leigh’s journalism and podcasting, but her pop-psychology attempt didn’t hold my interest. I was interested in the idea behind this book and some of the subjects interviewed but I feel like she should have stuck to her strengths - interviewing, getting stories out of people, and then highlighting that more than scientific studies and statistics. it was also a pity because I did find her interview segments quite interesting, especially her segment ...more
In 2014, respected Australian journalist Leigh Sales had a close brush with her own mortality and that of her unborn child. All turned out well in the end for both of them, but the traumatic experience made her think about how people handle severely traumatic events on the worst day of their life and move on. In this book she talks candidly to survivors and relatives of victims about what it is like to go through a horrific event, the effect of the media response and what it takes to rebuild ...more
Carly Findlay
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cathy Miers
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it - such an interesting topic well handled. Was great to meet such a variety of people who were willing to open themselves up to this extent. All the cases are things I remember well so I found it really relevant. I loved Leigh revealing her own vulnerability too. Well done.
Kali Napier
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: aww2019
I found truths in Leigh Sales’ writing about traumatic events that have blindsided people that I found confronting and had to heed.. I’ve been that person who doesn’t know what the right thing to say is to someone who’s experienced intense loss and so have ‘avoided the subject’. As many of the people Leigh interviewed for her book said, this lack of acknowledgement was the hardest to bear.
However, this book sat uncomfortably with me. I think this sense of disquiet started when statistics were
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf-other
Most of us go through our day with a sense of invincibility. People don’t spend their lives thinking that a catastrophic event, one that could irreversibly change their lives, could ever happen to them. Most people don’t walk around thinking that they are vulnerable, and yet terrible things can and do occur. This book investigates the devastating effects that these out-of-the-blue events have on ordinary people’s lives, and how they learned to accept and move on from these type of unexpected ...more
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Finished: 04.10.2018
Genre: non-fiction
Rating: A++++++
If you have a pulse...and I know you do
this book will grab you and not let go.
Absolutely inspiring!
Sometimes I have to let a book sink in for a few days....and this was one of them.
Last year I commented on my post 23 Nov 2017 about losing somebody dear to us.
We don't realize we were making memoires back then when times were better...festive family get-to-gethers
…we were just having fun. When some leaves you life there's no
Claire Fuller
I was really interested in the interviews with the individuals, but the premise of the book wasn't clear enough. What happens after the worst day of your life either wasn't strong enough to carry the book, or Sales didn't stick to it closely enough. So it seemed to meander into some pop psychology, statistics (which were repeated), secondary worst days, and other things that diluted the whole thing.
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
The Walkley Book Award recognises high achievement in non-fiction and long form journalism. Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales was the winner of the 2019 Walkley Award, which follows her 2012 Walkley Award for online reporting, along with her 2005 best radio current affairs reporting award. Any Ordinary Day explores loss, trauma and tragedy, with an emphasis on the aftermath of these tragic events. Any Ordinary Day opens up an enlightening conversation about
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
It started off good but then it just veered into unexpected territory.
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
#mindblown #perspective

It's fair to say that until a recent turn of events occurred in my life, I have never really experienced "trauma". Certainly, a few shitty things have happened to me in my life but nothing that has shaken me to my core.

In the aftermath of said trauma my dearest friend happened to mention a podcast she had listened to by Leigh Sales over a dinner gathering. I swiftly listened to the podcast then ran to the first book store I could find to purchase Any Ordinary Day.

In the
Megan Maurice
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. I’m glad I read it, there was definitely stuff to take out of it. But I don’t feel like it was the book it marketed itself as? It was much less about the people whose stories it was supposed to be sharing and more about the author’s experience of those stories. Maybe if you’re a big fan of the author it would be great, but I wasn’t very invested in her perspective and how it affected her. I would have preferred in depth profiles of each person she interviewed with her personal stories ...more
Sashi Grayndler
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brilliant book. Loved reading about the factors that contributed to the resilience of the people interviewed. And the lessons they learned along the way.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an absolutely beautiful book made even more powerful by listening to Leigh’s narration on Audible. Very grateful for Leigh daring greatly to capture these stories, to accompany grief and to share some lessons learned.

None of us know when something will happen that changes everything. And we have no ability to control or prevent death and grief visiting us and our loved ones. Understanding how other people have endured grief does not give you a blueprint but it does give you faith in our
I’m a big fan of Sales the journalist, and also of her collaborations with the wonderful Annabel Crabb, so had really been looking forward to reading this. Like Sales, my own instinct is to recoil from traumatic events and those directly affected, to the extent that I’m ashamed to admit I have avoided funerals I probably should have attended, I’ve written banal and useless condolence messages because I haven’t been able to find the “right words”, and have felt the self-centred relief of the ...more
chantel nouseforaname
There's so much to say about what we humans think we can withstand.

Honestly, this book fucked me up.

I'd never heard of Leigh Sales, but I admire her humanity. It felt like journalism but with a social work spin. There were times like this book felt like it could venture into trauma/tragedy-porn territory, like for example, the woman's account of the Lindt Cafe Seige. However, I'm conflicted because I don't really think it's Leigh Sales writing that makes it trauma/tragedy-porn but the
A.B. Gayle
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was drawn to this book out of respect for the author as an investigative journalist and because she is a very fair interviewer. I knew the subject would be explored thoroughly and with integrity. It was.

The author acknowledges, “If you often watch the news, you may come to believe that the events that are reported (terrorist attacks, shark maulings, child abductions) are more common than they really are.”

This book explores a number of personal tragedies which, due to their nature, became very
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
the most sensitive and honourable gut punch I've experienced.
Reannon Bowen
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t think I’d like this book. I thought it would be hard & cause my overly anxious mind to go into overdrive. But I loved it. I watch Leigh Sales most nights, I listen to her podcast. She feels familiar & trustworthy. The way she narrates this book is so open, so honest & her natural curiosity shines through. And yes, the stories were hard to listen to, made me catch my breath, broke my heart but overall it made me feel uplifted & amazed at how strong & resilient humans ...more
Kathy Fogarty
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was a timely read for me. I'm a clinical psychologist and one of my dear clients who I'd already been seeing for several months suffered a sudden, and unbearably tragic loss. This book affirmed something I sensed amidst my own feelings of horror and helplessness, which was that although she had come to me as a psychologist, in the immediate aftermath she needed my humanity above and beyond my psychological knowledge. The message about accompanying people in grief spoke to me, and I was ...more
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Uhming and ahhing over the rating for this one. I think this is a really well thought out book, well researched and well executed in many respects. But I found the part with John Howard just despicable - and I know that's in part because of my lefty leanings but the idea that I should be sympathising with someone who feels bad about sending troops to support the Iraq War is totally beyond me. And that is without mentioning all the other miserable things policies his government championed led to. ...more
Bel Ramsay
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my pick for the best non-fiction book of 2018. The book weaves emotive interviews with individuals who have faced high-profile traumas with statistical and psychological research that provides an explanation of the often unexplainable human themes of trauma, adversity and resilience. Leigh lends her own honest voice to her experiences and preconceptions in a way that is reminicent of Helen Garner's non-fiction works. Overall, an incredibly interesting and introspective read from one of ...more
Bridget Mutton
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A thought provoking and interesting read. Leigh delves into subjects that a lot of us don’t think or talk about much, and in many cases may actually avoid, but that’s what makes this book and others like it so important. In a world in which we face so much uncertainty and fear it’s important to remember and appreciate our extraordinary capacity to endure and overcome the hardships life offers.
Jaclyn Crupi
Leigh Sales shows us what real resilience looks like and reminds us to treasure our vulnerable, messy, cusp-of-tragedy at any time lives. Powerful and life-affirming.
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Leigh Sales is an Australian author and journalist. She is the host of the Australian television channel ABC’s flagship news and current affairs program 7.30.
“Ultimately, counselling is an act of hope. It’s the hope that something might get better, and for that to happen, it requires something to change.” 3 likes
“Stuart Diver has had years of extensive professional counselling to retrain his brain so that he can replace the thought of how helpless he was when Sally dies with the truth that he tried everything he could to save her, showing how much he cared. He has learned to substitute memories of Sally's last moments with thoughts of wonderful times from their lives together- a great trip, a fun birthday, some other special occasion.
In the corner of his living room is a bicycle that he rides every night, and he likens keeping his mental health on track to keeping physically fit. It's hard. It requires patience and it takes discipline.”
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