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How to Be a Person: The Stranger's Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos, and Life Itself Paperback


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How to Be a Person: The Stranger's Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos, and Life Itself + American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics + Savage Love: Straight Answers from America's Most Popular Sex Columnist
Price for all three: $45.49

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Sasquatch Books (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570617783
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570617782
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"If you're holding this book, standing there at a bookstore, wondering if a book like this is a dumb idea, open it up and you'll soon admit this book is very funny, lacking in all bullshit, and never dumb. If you're holding this book, presuming it to be funny and smart and lacking in bullshit, you will be glad to know it is all those things, but it also tells the truth. About 4 or 5 books a year tell the truth, and this is one of them."
Dave Eggers

"
I went into college armed only with a trash bag used as luggage, a boom box held together with duct tape, and a battered 1965 Chevy. I so needed this guide back then. I am jealous of people who have it now."
Sherman Alexie

"Suck it, Proust. This book about stuff is much better than those things you wrote."
Gary Shteyngart

"You may have read every college guidebook on the market, but it's pretty much guaranteed that none of them will tell you the things you really need to know about university life -- like how to survive a hangover, and how to make tacos. How To Be A Person, written by Lindy West, Dan Savage, Christopher Frizzelle, and Bethany Jean Clement, will give you advice on everything you were too embarrassed to ask about."
The Huffington Post

"From the writers and editors of The Stranger comes a true, real-life guide to conquering life on your own, covering a range of topics (such as majors to avoid, how to do laundry and everything you need to know about philosophy in a single paragraph) with no-holds-barred realism."
Seattle

"Don't be fooled by the bitingly funny humor. This guide teaches simple tasks like how to wash socks, make tacos and not commit a heinous mistake on an English paper as well as how to face complicated situations such as deciding whether to experiment with illegal drugs, choosing an area of the United States to call home or coming out of the closet. Reassuring, practical and thorough, How to Be a Person is perfect for any recent high school or college graduate."
Shelf Awareness 

"It could become an underground Bible for all incoming freshmen..."
New York Post 

"This brand-spanking-new book gives funny, no-bullshit advice on the full gamut of college life, from making friends and getting along with roommates to sex, drugs, politics, and, you know, learning stuff about stuff so that you can get a job and hopefully not have to move back home and work at the car wash and ask all the neighborhood high school kids, 'hey, guys, where’s the cool parties this weekend?'"
MamaPop.com

"…just as you should not read this book if you already know how to be a person, you probably should read it if you don't. There are quite a few things in here that most college grads surely wish they'd realized at 18. …Really, this is a great book for someone who knows how to be a person to buy for someone who doesn't."
LA Weekly

"…may just be the first essential guide to university life since Animal House."
The Snipe News

"The all-purpose guide to your formative years, or, should you come to this later, reformative years. …if you take to Savage Love's sass-with-a-conscience, you'll find no better one-stop guide to … well, life itself."
The Current

"How To Be A Person should become required reading for anyone entering into the realm of academia or even just leaving home for the first time. There’s a lot of value even for those that have been away at school for a few years as well. Reading the knowledge contained within this book might even convince you that you’re looking forward to the return of classes."
The Charlatan

"This book is immensely readable. I found myself reading it at work, at dinner, even while driving (kidding) It begs to be picked up and read in the little cracks of the day where nothing is really happening. …It is chock-full of advice on sexual confusion, drunken escapades, infidelity, and double standards. The college population would feel a lot more enlightened, and get laid a hell of a lot more, if they listened to Savage. For that alone, you should get this book."
The Campus Companion

"Being no-nonsense is a way of life at The Stranger, and How to Be a Person reflects that. The book is divided into sections like 'Different Sexual Positions You Need to Try in College' and 'How (Not) to Be a Foodie', and gives straightforward information plainly and with humour. It’s useful and hilarious."
Prairie Dog

“'How To Be A Person'” has a lot of salient advice for the college and post-college population, from proper drinking advice and realistic advice about drugs to balancing a budget (in the guise of looking at the advice the Bible gives) and doing laundry. It’s all realistic and sometimes quite poignant; the passages on 'What No One Else Will Tell You About Heartbreak and Death' sum up the latter topic in two paragraphs, but they’re two of the most clear-cut and truthful sentences I’ve ever read. To me, it seems that 'How To Be A Person' is vital reading for anyone college-aged who needs a jumpstart in their lives. It’s a fast read, and it’s snappy and frequently laugh-out-loud hilarious. At the very least, it’s one of the most realistic advice books on the market for today’s 20-somethings."
The Daily Campus

"Don’t be fooled by the title. How To Be A Person: The Stranger’s Guide To College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos And Life Itself is not a college guide at all, but rather a guide to being a cool human being while attending school. …this humorous collection that addresses everything from how to handle drugs to how to write well."
NOW Toronto

About the Author

Lindy West writes about movies, movie stars, exclamation points, lady stuff, large frightening fish, and more. You may have witnessed her single-handedly putting an end to the Sex and the City movie series. Lindy's work also appears in GQ, New York magazine, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the New York Daily News, Deadspin.com, and other places. Dan Savage writes the sex-and-relationship advice column "Savage Love." He is also the founder of the It Gets Better Project and editorial director of The Stranger. Christopher Frizzelle joined The Stranger as the literary editor in 2003 and became editor in chief in 2007 at the age of 27. He has written about hunting for magic mushrooms in the wild, the effect of 9/11 on his military family, and creepy old buildings, among other topics. He curates literary cabarets in nightclubs and hosts a regular silent-reading party in a hotel lobby. Bethany Jean Clement writes about eating food, knowing cows (and eating them), drinking drinks, and more. Her work has appeared in the Best Food Writing anthologies, Food & Wine,Town & Country, Gourmet.com,Beard House, the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co., and elsewhere. She is the managing editor of The Stranger.

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Customer Reviews

Really funny and great sense of humor.
Laura Tomkins
This is a great book that is definitely a must-have for all those going into college, or really just anyone in general.
Kelsey
If you are between 15-18, buy it for yourself.
C. A. S.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Adam J. Rendall on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because of an excerpt on Jezebel, where students are told why they are feminists, even if they don't realize it. It's a cute highlight of the book, but overall I don't think I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a solid "so you're going to be an adult" book.

My own days as a college freshman are a decade behind me, but I still have a number of relatives and oblivious freshmen who I though might benefit from a book like this. And while there are a few good parts in this book, overall the ratio of solid material to filler is just a little too low for me to gift copies to the oblivious in my life.

The biggest problem I find is that the book's attempts at humor often overshadow the chance to give solid information in a humorous way. For example, the book begins with a 'what you need to know about college' section, which includes a breakdown of different majors and cultural differences you might encounter when you're meeting people from across the country. The problem is there's a joke/truth ratio of about 95/5, and the jokes aren't that funny. So the book neither entertains nor informs.

The best parts of the book are like the above mentioned 'why you're a feminist' sections, which can be humorous while still focusing on being informative. Similarly, sections like 'how to do laundry' are an important thing for newly independent adults to learn, and this book gives a solid rundown, while remaining entertaining.

Another large part of this book is a selection of 'Savage Love' articles, curated to apply to college student problems. How you feel about this will really depend on your opinion of Dan Savage, but I doubt you're even contemplating buying a book that has Savage's name boldly across the cover if you don't like the man.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mike on September 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've never been a fan of Dan Savage (too dramatic for me), but I could not put this book down. Already having lived through my college years, I couldn't stop laughing (often times out loud) about what people go through during that time. Book is packed with great tips that your parents are too embarrassed to tell you. Trust me it's all true. Wish I had this book my first year of college. Also, each chapter is self-contained so it makes a great book to put on the coffee table.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Larry Chou on March 25, 2013
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I picked this book up because of its interesting topic. I have graduated from college for 10+ years, once awhile I would look back and say I hope I had more fun during college time. The book is written humorously by looking at complex things in a simple way. It's a creative way to look at life! I would recommend it for everyone.
Chapter 6 is the Q&A advice section, which I found a bit dry as it's dealing with some individual cases.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Anderson on March 18, 2013
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I found this book to be helpful for my college children and bought one for each of them.

The book was entertaining and informative.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Waple on March 25, 2013
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I had no idea how great this book was going to be and I flew through it in one day, unable to put it down. Awesome read and very, very funny.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kelsey on March 7, 2013
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This is a great book that is definitely a must-have for all those going into college, or really just anyone in general. It tells you how to be a decent person and uses hilarious ways to do so. It really is a book that I recommend to all of my friends and tell them all about. Hell, just read the table of contents and you'll laugh AT LEAST once.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cecilia on September 21, 2012
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Very funny. The tone is not always consistent, as the different writers have different voices. The savage love content will be repetitive to some.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Brent Scott on August 10, 2012
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The best way to start this review is with a disclaimer: If you have a strong distaste of the far left, stop now and look for something else. This book is not for you. You will hate it.

How to Be a Person: The Stranger's Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos, and Life Itself is a practical guide to life for recent high school graduates, with some emphasis those bound for college. That isn't to say that adults won't also enjoy the how-to's, anecdotes, life-lessons, and advice the book provides. For those of us who are older, it facilitates reflection, understanding, and perhaps allows a filling-in of holes in our lives. For the parent, even (especially) the conservative one, "How to Be a Person" can shed some light on some of the obstacles, down-sides, and moments of judgement that your aging teen will probably encounter in the coming years. Or, if there are some subjects you're just uncomfortable discussing with them, this book will do it.

In "How to Be a Person"'s chapter "How to Write Good," contributor Christopher Frizzelle says, "Don't use clichés." I'm gonna use one. You can't judge a book by its cover. Despite looking like a tongue-and-cheek guide filled with satire and misinformation, at its core, there is warmth, deepness, encouragement, and all around sound facts and advice. Yes, there is a liberal sort of "live free" tone expressed by the authors, but many red flag moments that a young adult may encounter are handled appropriately. Do not smoke crack/meth, shoot heroin, snort coke, how to practice safe sex, how to prevent and look out for rape.
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