Top critical review
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Not a work of genius, but not entirely worthless
on December 15, 2011
This book didn't live up to the hype. I say that more because of what Seth Godin is known for than what Julien Smith is known for, but I think the criticism is relevant.
The Flinch has its moments. I think many of the 1-star reviewers are correct in saying that the primary point of the book can be summed up in a few sentences. It's about not letting fear get the better of you. Or, better yet, when you want to step back, step forward.
Fight Club was also a book about stepping forward, rather than stepping back. I think we all know what happens when you let yourself be dominated by the mindset of fighting over fear.
Yes, oftentimes we modern North American types are too afraid of what *might* happen, versus what *will* happen. We allow unreasonable fears control us. But Julien suggests that ALMOST ALL risks we take are non-fatal. I fundamentally disagree with this premise. Just look at the psychos cutting people off left and right and skidding across the freeway without checking their mirrors and you'll see what I mean. There are definitely fatal risks in our cushy lives, and while they may not be as numerous or as dire as those on the plains of the jungles our forefathers and mothers fought against, tooth and nail, that doesn't make fatalities and maimings any less real.
Also, there are worse things than death. I don't feel this important distinction was sufficiently (or even remotely) addressed.
This is a book for children of privilege to feel empowered by vague talk and calls to arms that involve taking cold showers and "examining" empty lives.
For me, this book rings hollow. Perhaps it appeals to those who've never had any exposure to philosophical thinking, to the deeper examination of their own dreams and goals. But for someone who has spent a great deal of time pondering what is right and true, and how to best live my life with respect to those ideals, this book falls short.
On a possibly unrelated note, the inclusion of so many other Domino Project book excerpts was highly irritating, as it greatly inflated the page count of this book. Fully 1/2 of the pages in this book are actually excerpts. Good thing it's free, eh?