Check out Sarah Knight’s latest self help: You Do You

Check out Sarah Knight’s latest self help: You Do You

youdoyouBook review of You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want by Sarah Knight

The self-styled “anti-guru” Sarah Knight adds another volume to her quirky, profanity-laden self-help series with You Do You.

The focus, as you can guess from the title, is the art of allowing your authentic self to shine through without feeling guilt or being so far out of the social norms that you border on “psychopath.”

You Do You is about accepting your strengths and your flaws, whether those flaws are self-identified, or just things that you’re perfectly happy about but that other people seem to have a problem with. Or, should I say, that you WOULD be happy about, if you felt a little more confident in yourself…” loc 146, ebook.

And, like the previous books, Knight doesn’t stint on the bad words. She admits she kept the title clean so a certain publication *cough* New York Times *cough* would print the all the words of the title in their sought after Best Seller list.

Which Knight has made before… but had her titles censored for their content.

“The advice in this book boils down to one simple mantra: Stand up for who you are and what you want. How do you do that? Stop letting other people tell you what to do, how to do it, or why it can’t be done.” loc 188, ebook.

I enjoyed You Do You, but I felt it wasn’t as strong as Knight’s other titles because she spends so much time rehashing material she has already covered elsewhere.

That being said, I like Knight’s style, her famous diagrams and her illuminating stories. This is an author who has been there, done that and cussed about it.

My favorite diagram in You Do You is Knight’s “ouroboros” or symbolic, conjoined serpent of wisdom picture. The text with the cute doodle says: “Is it right or wrong? You won’t know unless you have the confidence to take a risk and find out. If you regret your decision, then accept the consequences, swallow the lesson, and start over. With confidence.” loc 1995, ebook.

Verges on mystic Eastern wisdom, doesn’t it?

She encourages all readers everywhere to let the strange sides of yourself out- within certain boundaries. Don’t hurt anybody. Don’t take advantage of people. Be reasonable within your freakishness.

“Now, with those ground rules established, I do declare that we, as a society, should celebrate weirdness in all its forms- and that the right to be weird should be inalienable- just like the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” loc 2130, ebook.

“You do you” and let everybody else do them. It’s that simple. It’s that hard.

Sarah Knight may be a bit of an acquired taste. Please don’t read unless you have a high tolerance for bad words and, dare I say, mild snark.

But, if you are someone in need of encouragement to let your freak flag fly, look no further.

Thank you to NetGalley and Little Brown and Company for a free digital copy of this book. And thank you for reading!

Read my reviews of Sarah Knight’s other titles:

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight

Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight

 

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It’s like ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ with jazz hands

It’s like ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ with jazz hands

lifeislikeamusicBook review of Life Is Like a Musical: How Broadway Can Help You Live Your Best Life 
by Tim Federle

Life is Like a Musical is a cute, self-helpish book, full of the wisdom Tim Federle gleaned from years of experience on the stage.

“Basically, think of this book as ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ with jazz hands.” Introduction.

Tim’s advice is common sense, but I appreciated it anyway. Make your weaknesses your strengths. Be nice to everybody. Pay attention. Don’t try to be a perfectionist, and so on.

He pairs these nuggets with his life stories. So, it’s part-memoir, part-self help.

“When Bob Fosse had a bald spot, he put on a stylish hat. Where’s your bald spot? Or blind spot? Or thing that you can barely accept about yourself? Go put a hat on it, and make it something wonderful.” pg 23. There’s nothing wrong with advice like that.

First off, the key to approximately 90 percent of adulthood is appearing more interested in something than you actually are. Seriously.” pg 31.

Truth bombs, people.

Don’t give your power away. Remember who you are: “Please, never forget you’re the leading character in your own life. Read that sentence again: You aren’t the supporting cast. You’re it, baby.” pg 48.

And most importantly of all, have a sense of humor about the whole thing.

“Forgive yourself when you screw up. Develop a sense of humor that allows you to snort-giggle before anyone else can.” pg 139.

None of us are getting out of this thing called life alive. We may as well make the most of it.

I enjoyed this book. I was also a huge fan of his drink recipe book mixed with classic book titles: Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist.

Recommended for people who are looking for a peppy voice to get them back on track and singing throughout the soundtrack of their own lives. This read will do the trick.

Thanks for reading!

Remodelista: The Organized Home by Julie Carlson

Remodelista: The Organized Home by Julie Carlson

remodelistaRemodelista is another de-cluttering book. This one encourages readers to utilize storage containers made out of natural materials, to hang items in unexpected places and to make your space functional and beautiful.

Maybe I’ve reached my limit on these types of books. For example, I loved The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but that was one of the first books of this kind that I read.

I know not everyone responds well to Marie Kondo’s philosophy of considering the spirit of your stuff, but that clicked with me, for whatever reason. Must be a hippie thing.

I thought this one was a bit ridiculous. It just wouldn’t work for me in my real life with my crazy pets, busy family and serious amounts of stuff.

My main problem with this one is illustrated quite clearly on the cover. We’ve got two brooms, a towel, an umbrella, some string and a large bucket hung right over a cat drinking from a water bowl.

I can think of a hundred reasons why that wouldn’t work for me, but let’s start with three:

First of all, the kitties would think I was trying to kill them- hanging menacing items over the watering hole. And, let’s be honest, with my poor hanging-things-up skill, it just might.

Second, putting string high up but visible is inviting a kitty disaster. They would hunt the heck out of that string, probably using the umbrella as a climbing wall to get to it, destroying my artfully arranged buckets and mops in the process.

Third, where would I put the rest of my family’s entryway stuff? We’ve got a lot more than that in just umbrellas, not even counting the brooms, swiffer mops, you-name-it.

The result: easy-to-maintain spaces that are both orderly and artful, personal and purposeful. Because, ultimately, the goal isn’t a flawless, impossible-to-maintain showcase. The aim is an unencumbered life in a house that makes you happy.” pg 9.

All of the rooms and cabinets in this book had like three things in them. It’s just not realistic.

That being said, I did like the “Daily Rituals” on pg 18. The authors included “seven simple habits” to adopt every day to make your life easier. They include activities like making your bed and opening the mail.

I can handle that.

I also liked the ‘Herb and Spice Drawer’ suggestion on page 70. My spices are a jumble of bottles and sizes and it’s nearly impossible to find anything quickly.

The authors suggest storing herbs and spices in: “Uniform glass jars- we like small paint jars from the art supply store.”Then, label the tops. It’s a simple solution but one that never occurred to me.

Only recommended for people who have calm cats and very few items. Other than the suggestions mentioned, I can’t see myself using very many of the tips from Remodelista.

Thanks for reading!

How to Be Happy, Dammit: A Cynic’s Guide to Spiritual Happiness by Karen Salmansohn

How to Be Happy, Dammit: A Cynic’s Guide to Spiritual Happiness by Karen Salmansohn

howtobehappyHow to Be Happy, Dammit is a succinct, brightly colored treatise on enlightenment. Coming in around 230 pages with only a few words per page, this is a book that can be read over the course of a lunch hour or *ahem* during other short breaks in your life on a porcelain throne.

It doesn’t use an abundance of coarse language (see title), but it does utilize a few words to get the point across.

The book is broken down into short life lessons that feed into the next. “Life Lesson 1: Pain exists. Life can hurt. Like a lot. Even when you’re good, you can get whacked. Without apology. Without explanation.” pgs 14-15.

That’s the life lesson about being born. Can’t really argue with that.

My child was born wailing before she was even entirely out. I was wailing too, for different reasons of course, but life can hurt. No doubt.

I found meaning in “Life Lesson 6: Never go shopping for kiwis in a shoe store. Some people just don’t have what you need. So why waste time, banging on their doors, ringing their bells, demanding service?” pgs 38-39. I think I’m still learning that one.

“Life Lesson 19: This is a world of duality: of good and bad, yin and yang, decaffeinated and caffeinated. So you must always be prepared!” pg 112. Decaffeinated? Poor souls…

In the chapter on self-programming, we get this wisdom: Life Lesson 27: The world is your mirror.” pg 174.

I don’t think folks realize that either.

Recommended for people who are interested in spirituality, but don’t necessarily have a lot of time or patience for more touchy-feely books. How to Be Happy, Dammit delivers on its title. Now let’s all go be happy. Dammit. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story by Steve Kamb

Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story by Steve Kamb

levelupSteve Kamb, the creator of nerdfitness.com, offers behavioral games and community support to assist readers in becoming their best self. It’s the self help genre meets gamification.

Steve was addicted to video games, miserable at his job and disappointed with life. “I still love those games and movies and enjoy the entertainment they provide. They’re a part of who I am as a person. The problem was that they had become a way to avoid the unhappiness in my real life while also allowing me to continue doing nothing about it.” pg xi

The game that had him hopelessly hooked was EverQuest. “What had begun as a fun way to blow off some steam after school or work quickly became an addiction.” pg 5.

So, Steve took what he loved best about the game- the levels, the endless quests, the secrets- and created an online community in which the members support each other to become the best whatever-it-is you want to be through just those things.

Essentially, Steve takes the hero’s journey, as described by Joseph Campbell, and crafts a way to implement that into your life through your own preferences. “Life is meant to be lived on your own terms.” pg 23

I picked this up because I recently read a behavioral game book and I wanted to see what the theory would look like in action. Steve has done a solid job making his game completely customizable.

He provides examples between the chapters of people who have used his game to “level up” their lives. The results are impressive.

“The truth is that most people fear change. They, themselves, might want to change but don’t want to put forth the effort and energy to make it happen.”pg 57.

With Level Up Your Life, Steve gives readers the tools to make their lives into a game of their choosing. Recommended for gamers and the young at heart.

Thanks for reading!

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works  by Dan Harris

10 happierDan Harris had problems, like all of us, but unlike all of us, he was beginning to experience some of the messier symptoms of his dysfunctional inner world in front of millions of people.

He sought help and jumped into the meditation world with both feet. I think its why most people find their way into spiritual practices- something isn’t working quite right in their life and they need to change from the inside out. So, they look for a process of inner change and run smack into meditation.

However, Dan isn’t drinking the kool-aid of the new age movement. He questions every practice for its practical benefits and searches for scientific experimentation to back up those benefits.

In essence, he brings the investigative skills that he applies to his job as a news anchor to the practice of meditation and it’s a delight to read.

I loved this. Dan had the same initial reaction to Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra that I did. One of them seems too mellow to be real and the other seems to market himself too well to be that spiritual.

Over time, I’ve come to love both of those authors/gurus for their wisdom, but they are both just out of this world. Harris isn’t afraid to point that out.

In conclusion, I’d recommend 10% Happier to anyone who wants to become 10% happier- isn’t that all of us?

Also, anyone who has read Eckhart Tolle or Deepak Chopra may also enjoy this, if only for the surprisingly accurate descriptions of their foibles. Anyone who wants to try meditation but feels like they don’t have time, couldn’t do it if they tried, or doesn’t know where to start may find some inspiration from this book.

And, finally, anyone who is fed up with the hippie-dippie-trippie feeling that most spiritual memoirs give them, will find a kindred soul in Dan Harris.

Thanks for reading!

Art Of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander, Benjamin Zander

Art Of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander, Benjamin Zander

art of possibilityThe Art of Possibility takes a psychologist and a musician and smooshes their ideologies together to create a self help program.

“Our premise is that many of the circumstances that seem to block us in our daily lives may only appear to do so based on a framework of assumptions we carry with us. Draw a different frame around the same set of circumstances and new pathways come into view.” pg 1.

The various practices that are discussed in The Art of Possibility seek to create those new frames.

One of my favorite chapters was: Being a Contribution. In it, the authors suggest playing life like a game. “The purpose of describing, say, your professional life or your family traditions as a game is twofold. You instantly shift the context from one of survival to one of opportunity for growth. You also have the choice of imagining other games you might prefer to play in these realms.” pg 59.

As a gamer, that’s an idea that I can easily assimilate into my life. 🙂

I also enjoyed: The Way Things Are“Being present to the way things are is not the same as accepting things as they are … It simply means, being present without resistance: being present to what is happening and present to your reactions, no matter how intense.” pg 100.

A little bit of Buddhist philosophy can go a long way.

One of my complaints about this book is that I don’t think that it fit together as seamlessly as they were hoping it would.

Also, I feel like non-musicians may not get as much out of this book as I did. It is rather heavy on the music stories and metaphors.

But, like many self-help books, it is packed with actionable suggestions and feel-good stories. Recommended for those looking to inject a little more possibility into their lives.

Thanks for reading!