Analysis from a non-stranger in a non-strange place:
I never thought I’d find myself parked in front of a Georgia Super Target, reading a self-help book. Just moments ago that’s where I found myself, finishing the last several chapters of You Are A Badass: blah blah blah. As much as I rolled my eyes (and all other vital organs) while ingesting this book, I kept coming back to the question, “If a self-help book makes someone feel better about themselves, even in the slightest bit, then hasn’t the book been effective in its main goal?” “Hasn’t it worked?” I felt like much of the content here was a little cringy to read, but I don’t think I am really the intended audience.
BUT, more than a handful of times, I felt like Jen Sincero was speaking directly to me. With the aforementioned Target parking lot being the result of uprooting my life and starting a new job, with training taking me across the country for a month, several chapters of the book were very relevant to me. Along with some of the meditation and stress control techniques, there were some bright moments acting like a pair of snapping fingers in front of my eyes, focusing my attention.
Will I take anything from this book and use it in my life moving forward? Probably not. I’m surprised I didn’t hate the book as much as I saw myself doing. A couple of Jen’s life stories were passable for entertaining, and she overall did an excellent job of compressing large life-changing ideals into brief sections. I’ve never heard Jen Sincero speak publicly, so perhaps some of the lingoes she uses would be easier to gloss over. Still, time and time again, it just came across as a cool teacher sitting in a backward chair, breaking it down for a class full of students who could give a fuck less.
I’m sure this could be a powerful tool in the hands of someone looking for something like this, and in need of a little life coaching. For me, though, it was just a reminder that everyone has a rough time going through the struggles of life. Otherwise, books like this one wouldn’t exist.
Analysis from the last few drops in the NyQuil bottle:
This book was my pick. I passed it in Target and thought, “What an interesting turn for our little club.” I had been looking for a self-help book for the two of us to dive into. We have more than our share of neuroses, and couldn’t we all benefit from a little guidance? I regret this choice. It’s a burning regret, much like having that last shot of whiskey when you’re double-fisting glasses of red wine. You’ve all been there. Right?
I spend a great deal of my career speaking to women on overcoming obstacles and improving their lives. It is the most crucial part of what I do, and now I have this tiny voice in the back of my head asking if I’m coming across as someone who is trying to dumb down positive thinking or finding new ways of telling someone to love themselves and if I am, do they hate my mouth? I hate to think that I am too pious to appreciate someone providing me with direction, but I found this book exhausting. I hate self-help. Is that terrible? I don’t mind being guided into positive thinking. I suppose, but this just felt so cookie-cutter and planned out. I am choking on positivity and self-love, and all I want is just a little glass of reality to wash it down with.
I can see this book being effective for those who have had very little real-life shit storms they’ve had to encounter. Bullied at school? Sure this can help. Your boss thinks you don’t speak up enough? Love yourself!! Too many shoes, and you need to declutter your life to find peace? Hire someone to do it for you!! (This idea of spending money to staff out things popped up so much in this book that I was seriously appalled. Please know that sometimes doing the dirty work yourself is important, and unless you have a mass of discretionary money lying around, please don’t hire someone for all life’s mediocre tasks. Your money might be better spent on actual therapy.)
I don’t think this book is poorly written, and it seems if you Google the author, then perhaps a real autobiography of the madness of her life would be a great read. I could perhaps read an entire book explaining the youtube video I saw of the band she mentioned and was once apart of. That was something special and confusing. I just honestly think that maybe I’ve lived too much life and am far too jaded to have found the help I was seeking in this book. I’m exhausted.