Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Smile at Strangers: And Other Lessons in the Art of Living Fearlessly Hardcover – May 28, 2013
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
"Funny, focused, and fierce with wiry wisdom, this memoir is a muscular meditation on living fearlessly. It’s a sort of ‘Code of the Samurai' for every 21st century person, written by a witty literature professor with a second-degree black belt and a keen eye for spotting human folly. Schorn breaks down our conventional understanding of confronting menace in the world with the same ease that she breaks planks of wood. A perfect, engaging read for tackling college, the workplace, marriage, or prison—basically anywhere humans congregate with complicated motives."
—Joe Loya, author of The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell: Confessions of a Bank Robber
“This book delivers a swift, lethal karate chop at pantywaistedness in all its forms. With huge amounts of wit and grace, Susan Schorn looks Adversity in the eye, and crushes that sucker's windpipe.”
—Henry Alford, author of Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?: A Modern Guide to Manners
“Smile at Strangers is an elegant, often hilarious, and very personal account of women who fight and the paths they take to fearlessness. If you’re anywhere on that path—and if you love someone who is—it might be your most essential read of the year.”
—Michael Erard, author of Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners
“Eat, pray...kick ass. Smile at Strangers is the ultimate self-defense guide—from the liberation of the word 'no' to protecting yourself from overzealous Girl Scout troop leaders—all the while cleverly disguised as an insightful, grounded memoir with bursts of hilarity that hit you like a roundhouse. Delivered with self-deprecating candor, Schorn's life lessons learned at the dojo will resonate with anyone who's ever tried to remodel a house, raise kids, cope with a health crisis, navigate office politics or hyperventilated—essentially anyone who's ever been slammed on the mat while testing for the black belt of life. In fact, Schorn's skill at karate is only outmatched by her mastery at prose. Like the fighter herself, you can't put this one down.”
—Mary Moore, author of The Unexpected When You're Expecting: Clear, Comprehensive, Month-by-Month Dread
"This is a memoir I’ll be thinking and talking about for a long time. To begin with, the voice is unique—trust me, you’ve never heard anyone talk about coping with fear and anger the way Susan Schorn does. The writing is hilarious at times, dead serious when it needs to be, and always brilliant. The insights into the psychology of martial arts training—with special emphasis on the experiences of female students and teachers—is sure to launch a thousand discussions about violence, gender, confidence, and how to deal with alligators. I enjoyed this book thoroughly, and I will make sure never to get into a fistfight with its author."
—Mark Salzman, author of Iron and Silk
"Susan Schorn is a badass black belt with a huge heart and generous wit. This inspiring, often funny tale of her journey—from a cowering, self-confessed "neurotic" to a martial arts master—is not just about the kick. It’s about how the lessons of karate can be applied to women’s daily lives to make us stronger and less fearful—as friends, mothers, wives, and professionals—no matter how we dress or where we go. Smile at Strangers is a power tool indeed. It’s a swift chop to the myth that women need to live like victims in order to survive. It made me want to take up martial arts too—and keep reading."
—Susan Jane Gilman, author of Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress
"Hey readers! Time to put on your karate pants and crush some imaginary trachea! In Smile at Strangers Susan Schorn urges us to confront our fears in an increasingly scary world. Who knew that the highs and lows of the dojo held superb—and often funny— lessons for life? Schorn never suggests that karate is the only path, or even the best path. She is reminding us that we have a choice. We all experience fear, but we can choose our response to it. Overall, reading Smile at Strangers is sort of like watching samurai chanbara, only with more safety helmets and female bonding. You wince, but you can’t look away."
—Rhoda Janzen, author of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
As we read this book, we re-live parts of the author's life - her fears, loneliness and the feeling of being an outsider even in a crowd of people. We can almost feel how her fears gripped her when she was very young; those vague childhood terrors that creep into a child's mind - those vague "what if this happens" thoughts. Then, we can sense the progression of those fears when the mother of one of her friends was murdered. She was 14. This tragedy moved her vague fears and insecurities into the "it did happen" category. All of the dangers and uncertainties became vivid!
In our own lives, when we are crippled by childhood fears and unanswered questions that, at some point, become real, we are challenged with finding a way to keep those real-life dangers and insecurities under control so we're able to reach out to life and be our best selves.
This book reminds me of another book, Eat, Pray, Love, written by Elizabeth Gilbert which was also brought to the big screen in the 2010 movie of the same name starring Julia Roberts. In the movie, Julia Roberts went on a travel quest to find herself. She found three countries that opened her mind and changed her life. In one country, she learned to enjoy food. In another, she learned to pray and in the last, she learned to love without reservation.
In Smile at Strangers, the author tells us that she found living in fear was not living at all. Something was missing. She tried many ways to start living, including psychoanalysis. Ultimately, the keys for her were karate and meditation.Read more ›
M's Schorn has a black belt in karate and looks at how her life changed as a result of learning karate. Before, according to her own report that she was "neurotic". After the karate class, she becomes "fearless". Not recklessly fearless, but more settled in her own body, she knows what works and why it works. I have to admit, I had to check out exactly what each move looked like to get a better idea of what was being discussed. She believes by learning a skill such as karate when help prepare a woman (or a man) for the unexpected. Obviously, that's helpful to know, whether it is a physical attack or perhaps a verbal assault.
I recommend this book for anybody seeking help on changing their lives.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thought it would be a good read relating to martial arts and women, found it to be very boring, dry and uninteresting. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Nona
Wonderful. Personable. She's funny and likable. And has given me a little courage to apply to my own life. Well worth reading.Published 8 months ago by B. R.
As I read through this book, I was disappointed that it was so karate focused - something I didn't pick up in the title although the image on the cover should have given me a hint. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Linda Tapp
This is basically Eat Pray Love but instead of travel and food being toted as the cure for all anxieties, it's martial arts. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Luna Fortuna
Everyone has fears -- some of us more than others. Susan Shorn's journey from neurotic to black belt may not be something anyone can replicate -- but anyone can learn from it.Published 22 months ago by Silicon Valley Girl
If you are a person who is wholly, or even partially, dependent on the praise and adulation of others to build your self esteem you probably need this more than most others. Read morePublished 23 months ago by E. Ford
This book sounded good for our book club, but unfortunately we found the physical Karate descriptions too involved and the life insights too shallow and too few and far between. Read morePublished on February 3, 2014 by R. Uhlig
I would recommend it to all martial arts and self-defense instructors who would like a women's perspective on what they teach.Published on August 22, 2013 by P. A. Mills