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How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly's Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life Hardcover – July 12, 2016
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"A genuinely humorous and compelling voice...Havrilesky's writerly energy and passion confirm that the exchange of best friend wisdom -- a domain that has always been considered 'female,' and therefore trivial -- can be elevated into art."
—Jessi Klein, New York Times Book Review
"[Havrilesky] is part Buddha and part Amy Schumer: wise, whip-smart, and profanely funny."
"The best advice columnist of her generation"
“The title of Heather Havrilesky's How to Be a Person in the World is almost too cute.... Like: do we really need a guide to that, and is that really what this is? But it turns out the answers are yes, actually, and yes.”
“There’s something nourishing in every column… But sometimes she writes things that are like opening up the fridge and finding the universe inside.”
"What I love so much about Heather Havrilesky and her new book is that, beside being her usual brilliant, hilarious, equally kick-ass and compassionate self, she actually gives great advice. How to be a Person in the World will change your life, for the way better."
—Anne Lamott, New York Times bestselling author of Small Victories
“A large-hearted reminder that all of us are struggling, and none of us are alone.”
—Kate Bolick, author of the national bestseller Spinster
“Heather Havrilesky’s advice leaves me laughing, nodding in recognition, pumping my fist with excitement, and furiously underlining passages to capture the wisdom that drops out of her mouth.... This is more than an advice book — it’s a life raft."
—Sarah Hepola, New York Times bestselling author of Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget
“True to its title, this collection touches on nearly every facet of living, and Havrilesky’s wit, intelligence, and candor set her apart as perhaps the best advice columnist currently in circulation.”
"Funny, frank advice for people searching for solutions to a myriad of relationship issues."
“Readers allergic to classic self-help will adore Havrilesky’s empowering, grounding, and utterly sincere message delivered in a lovingly unsparing, perfectly profane tone.”
—Booklist (Starred Review)
“In moments of despair, Havrilesky's elegant writing and rock-solid judgment can change your entire outlook. Read How to Be a Person in the World for the advice, but stay for the pure magic that is her perceptiveness and prose.”
"Saying that Havrilesky has a way with words is like saying Marilyn Monroe liked diamonds. Havrilesky doesn’t just write—she dances with the words, building empathetic responses that can’t be classified as just advice columns. They are more keen observations of human behavior."
“[Havrilesky is] an alluringly wry cheerleader, an enthusiastic volunteer offering sports drinks as we struggle past during the half-marathon of life.”
—Slate Book Review
“She is not only an excellent writer and cultural critic, but the best possible agony aunt for people who don’t care for agony aunts.... And she has an exceptional ability to hit the nail on the head and fundamentally understand people.”
“Heather Havrilesky… is both the first and last person you'd seek out for guidance. On one hand, she'll shake you by the shoulders and tell you the truth. On the other, she's the friend rooting you on, cursing (creatively) all the way… Havrilesky abandons the prim and proper and instead delivers delightfully offbeat wisdom with a side of straight talk.”
"Heather Havrilesky, who if there's any justice in this unforgiving universe should become the first person to win both a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize for an advice column"
—Stuff Nation (New Zealand)
About the Author
HEATHER HAVRILESKY is the author of the memoir Disaster Preparedness. She has written for New York magazine, The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Magazine, Bookforum, The New Yorker, NPR's All Things Considered, and several anthologies. She was a TV critic at Salon for seven years. She lives in Los Angeles with a loud assortment of dependents, most of them nondeductible.
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And here is where Heather Havrilesky comes in. For years she has been someone you could write to to ask about why you are increasingly falling apart in different ways, and she would take these letters and pick some that seemed somehow more universal, and then she would write columns giving out advice that tends to boil down to: "hey, it's ok, it's ok to be you, the real you." And she's written this book here, which is full of important things that people should know. And it's one of those books where you will read a chapter, or even a few paragraphs, and then you'll have to stop and put the book down on your chest (this book is very good for reading while lying down, late at night) and stare up at the ceiling and you will think "oh gosh, gosh gosh, that is an important thing for me to have read, that is a good way of putting that complicated emotion that I have inside me." And you might be one of those people who has a pencil on their nightstand and you will underline a sentence or two. And slowly, slowly, while reading a book like this, you will come to understand yourself, or your loved ones, or even your acquaintances a little better. Which is what we need in this increasingly terrifying world. We just need to understand that we're all swimming in the same dark, open ocean.
Buy this book! It's got good things inside of it. And you have good things inside of you, too! And this book will help you perhaps realize that.