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Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself Hardcover – May 15, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Unworthy

“Anneli Rufus has an incredible insight into the human condition. She understands and applauds our desire to be normal as we navigate our complex fragility and ability to detest ourselves. Through observation and anecdote, she shows us that no matter what was said or done to us, self-loathing does not have to be our fate. Hers is a strong, sympathetic and encouraging voice.”
—Henry Rollins
"This book should be required reading for anyone suffering from low self-esteem, and while it will likely cause readers to tear up repeatedly, the empathy and grounded advice is sure to help inspire healing."
—Publishers Weekly

"An essential title on the topic of low self-esteem."
—Library Journal

"Whatever the state of your self-esteem, Unworthy is a worthwhile read--a marvelous blend of scientific research and personal stories."
—Monica Wesolowka, author of Holding Silvan
"Anneli Rufus illuminates a problem many have witnessed but few have publicly acknowledged: The world is full of good, honest, hardworking people who nevertheless hate themselves; it is also full of cruel and petty scoundrels with sky-high self-regard. Unlike most books on self-esteem (written from the lofty perches of confident experts), Unworthy tackles the problem of self-loathing from an insider's perspective. As Rufus unflinchingly tells her own story, elegantly weaving it with current research, she provides a light to guide fellow sufferers out of the dark."
Sara Eckel, author of It's Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You're Single

“I loved this book. Anneli Rufus has done the impossible: made it thoroughly enjoyable to read about the exquisite ways we make ourselves miserable.  And we all do. With uncanny precision and wit, she has wiret-apped us in our most private self-loathing moments and written so expertly about them, that she is the only voice we can truly trust to convince us to leave those moments and spells behind and be the hero in our own lives. Whether you are estranged from yourself or on decent speaking terms, Anneli Rufus tells us exactly how to befriend and outsmart our demons and let the self-recrimination go. I found this book to be irresistible. Anneli Rufus has somehow seen us, warts and all, loves us anyway, and will teach us to do the same. You will feel better every time you pick up this book; I know I did! Anneli Rufus will be everyone's new best friend.”
—Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., author of Freeing Yourself From Anxiety

Praise for Party of One:

“A founding manifesto for an organization of self-contained people.... A clever and spirited defense.” —Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Stuck:

"The brilliant mind behind Party of One examines the striking social trend: people are stuck and they want to change, but..."San Francisco Chronicle

"Astonishingly insightful book. This thought-provoking paperback of cultural criticism covers a lot of territory as Rufus probes the unhappiness of many American citizens who feel trapped, bored, and in a rut. She also takes a look at some of the self-imposed obstacles which keep us imprisoned: denial, fear, obsession, confusion, and delusion."
Spirituality & Practice

About the Author

Anneli Rufus is an award-winning journalist and author of Stuck: Why We Can’t (or Won’t) Move On and Party of One: The Loner’s Manifesto. She has written for many publications, including The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, The Huffington Post, and


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (May 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399164219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399164217
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By ABQChris on June 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I know that some readers merely enjoy the book equivalents of magical formulas -- "Just do this, and you won't hate yourself anymore / be depressed anymore / be broke / be lonely / remain obsessed with ferrets / hoard any more dead squid / etc. etc."

But how realistic would such a book be, if it were geared toward the unique life, experiences and self-hatred flavor of each individual reader? And how helpful could a book be about chronic, deep-seated self-loathing, and how to approach it in a healthful way so that it gradually diminishes, if it were to contain an unrealistic fix-it-quickly scheme?

Some authors still (thankfully) don't insult their readers by pretending to know them better than they know themselves, and arrogantly giving them simple solutions. That sort of approach isn't going to do a thing for you. If you're not lazy, and you're willing to assimilate and put into practice the perspectives shared herein, then it's likely that this book will improve your perception of yourself -- and at the very least, offer consolation via a realistic view of brain science, and the assurance that it's up to you, not others, how you perceive yourself.

And duly, how much, or how little, it will improve your self-perception is also up to you, not the author. She's pretty clear about that. If you want a quick fix, you might want to go elsewhere; this is a real book, not a website full of slogans and tempting "solutions found here" click bait.

It seems that people en masse have become rather taken with a book category called "Self-Help," even though such volumes never really work. There's no such thing as a self-help book anyway. To quote George Carlin, "If you did it yourself, you didn't need help." So this is a HELP book, which is to say that it's helpful.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Angela on December 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've suffered from (minor) depression for a large chunk of my life. It was bad enough that it affected my daily activities, but not bad enough that I was suicidal. I have always thought self-help books were a bunch of garbage telling you "Love yourself!" "You're awesome!" "Go team!" This book isn't like that. The author gets to the point: Low self esteem. I've never thought my depression was centered around this concept until after I read this book. What really drew my attention was how she mentioned that low self esteem is, in a way, a form of narcissism. This is because individuals with low self esteem tend to blame themselves for everything, but the fact is that the world doesn't revolve around you and you simply cannot be at fault for everything possible thing. This book offers you an opportunity to mind relief from constant self-bashing and hatred.
If you have depression and tend to think that you are an incapable person, a constant failure, and/or a waste of space... READ THIS BOOK! Just give it a shot. It's an incredibly easy read. The author really opens up, too, which makes it more engaging.
Also, if you are very close to someone who suffers from low self esteem/depression... READ THIS BOOK! It will very much help you understand them.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Therese Borchard on June 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't know how many books I've read on self-esteem. 50? 60? While some give me some good suggestions, none of them are written in my native tongue. Anneli Rufus GETS IT! Her pages are so powerful because she's one of us ... a recovery self-loather. Upon reading her entertaining introduction, I was hooked. She's funny, smart, insightful, and humble. She fights my fight every day so this expert has both the experience and the knowledge to guide me to self-respect, self-acceptance ... the land where I can look at a mirror without grimacing or MAYBE be able to quiet my harsh critics with a few shhhhs. She doesn't throw a systematic equation or boring worksheet at me. She gives me plenty of strategies--with compelling narratives to go with them--that I can choose from, ones that I know work because I already use some in my recovery. She is a extraordinary storyteller with a purpose that is as noble as any. You won't be disappointed. Because, even if you go on hating yourself, you will undoubtedly have smiled somewhere in the book.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Osaka on June 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Rufus did it again; she successfuly managed to recreate the magic of her excellent Loner's manifesto that I have read many times over the years.

Her writing style is excellent, replete with dark humor and with nice stylistic touches and a flair of her own. This is the kind of prose that is entertaining to read and adds a lot of charm to her observations of society and it's peculiar quirks, and her spot-on analysis of the self-hating behavior that emerges in many unlucky individuals - including her, me and many of you.

I could recognize myself in almost everything she exposes in this book and found my soul ungoing instant regeneration as I read the pages. Her examples and advices are all grounded in reality and very helpful.

Unlike most other self-help books out there, this books avoids being too simple and too bland. Instead the reader is treated to a fun read and will not find himself or herself fast reading to the useful parts to avoid the plain prose of most other writers.

For example, books like The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William Irvine contains a lot of helpful stuff and interesting information, but are written in a boring style that fails to engage the reader. Not the case here, all the witty charm and scathing humor Anneli Rufus is known for can be found here, she managed to make the magic come to life again.

So, stop hating yourself now and pick up a copy of this fine book, you won't regret it. You might feel compelled to regret not having had the opportunity to read such a good book sooner, but you'll follow the author's advice and won't fall into that booby trap.

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