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How to Be You: Stop Trying to Be Someone Else and Start Living Your Life Paperback – August 2, 2016
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“The advice Jeffrey gives is so succinct and so intimately personal that I swear, if your brain could change colors in reaction to humans, Jeffrey's words would turn your brain bright pink.”—Bustle
“Their message is simple: Be yourself. Be happy with yourself. Be more comfortable with your differences — and embrace and enjoy them.”--Digg
About the Author
Host, author, and youth advocate Jeffrey Marsh has more than a quarter BILLION views across social media. As the creator of the global trends #DontSayThatsSoGay and #NoTimeToHateMyself, Jeffrey has earned spots on top Viner lists by both BuzzFeed and Vine with a positive, inclusive message. In 2015, Jeffrey was named official red carpet correspondent for both MTV/Logo and GLSEN and as a featured writer for The Huffington Post and Medium. Jeffrey is a precepted facilitator in the Soto Zen tradition of Buddhism, as well as a host, actor, singer, songwriter, dancer, and comedian.
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Top Customer Reviews
While the book's tone and general approach to the subject matter is pitched at a young adult crowd, there is still a lot of stuff here that will benefit readers of all ages -- I'm nearly 40 and I found myself challenged and enlightened by it.
For something as short and light as it is, this is a surprisingly insightful, helpful little book. If you approach it honestly, openly, and with a willingness to meet the material halfway, you will find a lot of useful wisdom here. It's a very comfortable read that manages to present challenging self-help concepts in a relatable, safe-feeling, hopeful way. (Giving up the illusion of control, giving up the notion of "perfect", practicing forgiveness, that sort of thing.) The exercises are fun and engaging, no-pressure, and occasionally startlingly thought-provoking.
At no point does it tell you what to think, it merely encourages you to think about how you think, and examine whether those patterns are actually working for you, emotional-health-wise. Because, honestly, frequently they are not, and that's the source of a great deal of discomfort in our lives.
It treats the reader as a partner, as the authority on their own lives, and acknowledges the bravery it takes to try to be a more genuine person. I liked that it consistently agreed that it's hard work to try to grow into who you are, and that doing so is an act of great courage.
There are only two ways in which the book did not work *for me*, and they are pitfalls common to many self-help books.
First, the subject of systemic oppression and its effects on the self is beyond the scope of this book, but I still feel that a short section devoted to discussing this candidly would help make it more accessible to people who experience levels of oppression that disproportionately expose them to oppression-based violence (Black youth, LGBT+ youth, etc.) and who may feel that their very serious concerns are completely overlooked, and that their very understandable frustration and anger is being portrayed as harmful to the self, instead of a normal response to an unhealthy situation. I hope, if there is a sequel or revision, something like this could be added. Now more than ever we need to be validating young people's lack of faith in a system that is failing them spectacularly at every turn.
Second, it, like many, many, many books of its kind, doesn't really make an effort to reconcile its advice with the realities of depression and other mental illnesses -- something that people who are likely to truly need this book struggle with disproportionately. Again, I know that Jeffrey is aware of how hard mental illness is to deal with, and again, it's a big subject for a little book, but a brief discussion of it would really have kept it from feeling like I was being talked over, which at a couple of points I did.
Overall, this needs to be in every library and school library in the country. Every single one. And if you know someone you even remotely suspect might benefit from it, make sure they get hold of it. It's a genuinely helpful tool for self-exploration at any age.