Shatner Rules by William Shatner

I listened to Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large by William Shatner with Chris Regan, narrated by William Shatner on audiobook. And this is my review of that experience.

The book
This is a sort of memoir by Bill Shatner, about Bill Shatner, obviously. It’s also a sort of guide to life. He figures that since he’s 80 he has some insights into life and can probably give some advice. It talks about his life from when he grew up in Canada, his life on Star Trek, and his life up until this point. It’s interspersed with these rules of his life, like he says Yes to things as often as he can, and it leads to just delightful things.

I should say, I’m not a Star Trek person. I have watched the modern versions with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, but I didn’t watch Star Trek when I was a kid, I’ve never seen the TV show, or the old movies. My parents were Star Wars people, so I became a Star Wars person. Not that they’re mutually exclusive, but that’s how it worked out.

So while I know Shatner was on Star Trek, I mainly know him from Boston Legal and Shit My Dad Says, and just his Shatner-ness. I know him from being Bill Shatner and being sort of odd. And I find him fascinating, his computer-like delivery and his weirdness. So I thought, this would be fun.

It was fun. It talks a lot about who he is, and it’s very tongue in cheek. He clearly knows how he is perceived and he takes the piss out of that. He knows that he’s thought to have a massive ego, and he plays with that. He knows that he’s seen as this slightly odd dude, and he owns it.

It is clear that he has owned that in his life too, when people have come to him with kooky, out-of-left-field-ideas, like him making an album, or him selling his kidney stones (yes, he did that) he just went, yeah. Let’s do that. Not that simplified, clearly, but he doesn’t seem to have said no to many things.

There is quite a bit of focus on his feuds with his Star Trek colleagues. He has had quite a few feuds, most particularly with George Takei, but also the others, who saw him as pompous and accused him of stealing lines. I obviously don’t know if this was the case, as I firstly didn’t watch Star Trek, and I also have no idea what happened in the background. I assume that both Shatner and his co-stars did slightly shitty things, and they are angry with each other, and now it’s been too long and yeah. Although he says he bears Takei no ill will he does bring him up a lot, which was a bit tiring after a while.

The narration was great. Shatner has this slightly stilted, staccato way of speaking and reading, and it was great to hear Shatner read his own book. So that was great.

I thought it was okay. It wasn’t amazing, it wasn’t awful. It was funny and Shatner’s off-kilter delivery and his life is fascinating. And he has some great stories from his life.