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This Is How: Surviving What You Think You Can't Paperback – April 23, 2013
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2012: In writing and in life, Augusten Burroughs has repeatedly summoned the courage to grab the wolves of his past by their foaming muzzles and peer into their wild eyes until he owns them--and because of this, he's survived nearly every horrific experience a person in a modern-day, first-world country could face and emerged as an astonishingly well-adjusted person. After turning his profoundly messed-up early life and its alcoholic aftermath into six harrowing, uplifting memoirs--including Running with Scissors and Dry--Burroughs lost interest in writing about himself. He kept meeting people who were locked in the same struggles he’d overcome and decided they needed to know they had options for fixing their lives. In This Is How, Burroughs delivers prescriptions for handling life's most pernicious problems. Don't let the snake-oil-salesmannish title put you off: this is raw, hard-knock-life advice, veering from brutal to hilarious to deeply compassionate. Burroughs doesn’t really believe in "happiness" or "healing." He’s honest about the limits of recovery, but even those in the depths of despair will be energized by his exhortations to claw their way back to OK, even if it means leaving the life they’ve known in the dust. --Mari Malcolm --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“The last self-help book you'll ever read.” ―Janice Harper, The Huffington Post
“Hilarious and searingly straight forward…Burroughs turns the self-help genre upside-down.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Fans of the author's massively popular confessional memoirs will likely agree with that statement, and all of the wisdom he dispenses in his new book -- delivered with the dark, acidic humor we've come to expect -- is certainly well-earned.” ―The Boston Globe
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Top customer reviews
Having been a huge fan of his other books , and loving his irreverent humor, I was not expecting this straight forward no nonsense advice.
It is not always easy to hear the truth but I give advice to people who ask for it, I feel it is a disservice to them to sugar coat things. This book is like that.
If you would rather someone hold your hand and pat you on the back while you enjoy feeling sorry for yourself, you not care for the advice.
I myself may not always want to hear that I am capable , and should, do what I know I need to do..
I do not want to make it sound like he is being brutally truthful. There is still some tasteful humor, but the better thing to point out is he is gentle with you as he explains how to recognize dysfunctional things you may be allowing in your life and not even realize it.
It feels like a sensible manual for life. For example he talks about common phrases such as I just want to be happy.
But points out things ways in which we tend to keep grasping at things , thinking that will make the happiness come while all the while we seem to have blinders on and don't even have a good idea of what happy is to us.
I am paraphrasing all the that. It is simple , helpful , direct advice and in a very easy to digest format.
I don't agree 100 percent with everything, like his criticisms of AA, which I believe in based on what I've read and been told by those I respect. But then he's the alcoholic who's been there, not me, and this is a book of personal truths. So maybe I ought to give it five stars. But there's the AA stuff that while personally true for him feels kind of irresponsible too. That's the book's memoiristic aspect, for better and possibly in this instance for worse.
A five-star book in this genre is Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, and Burrough's advice about letting go of the past is the same. Everyone kind of says the same thing over and over. So why the need for more? Because we need to keep hearing it. And because the way someone says something might be finally the way you need to hear it to finally get it. Maybe Tolle prepared me to know that Burroughs is right, as did my failing to change to the depth that Tolle says is possible. Burroughs' advice and precepts may seem more doable to me because they don't come from a glowing saint but from someone who fell repeatedly and who is still flawed, damaged, sad, maybe feels a bit broken himself.
This is How is Uncle Augusten's gift to the world. For instance, here he is on loss:
"As it happens, we human beings are able to live just fine with many holes of many sizes and shapes.
"And pleasure, love, compassion, fulfillment--these things do not leak out of holes of any size.
"So we can be filled with holes and loss and wide expanses of unhealed geography--and we can also be excited by life and in love and content at the exact same moment.
"Though there will always be days, like the weather, when the loss returns fresh and full and we will reside within it once again, for a while.
"Loss creates a greater overall surface area within a person. You expand as a result of it."
I sat right up, reading it, very quiet, intent and amazed. A gifted writer's blazing truths will do that to you.