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Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence Paperback – January 23, 2018
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Praise for Unf*ckology:
“Amy Alkon does a wonderful job of explaining how to not only change what you do, but more importantly, how you think. By rooting her advice in science―and in her own hilarious experiences―she shows you how to get out of your own way and become your best self.”
―Charles Duhigg, author of bestselling The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better
“Amy Alkon is a virtuoso at making science accessible and fun. In this fast-paced, deeply authentic “science-help” book, Alkon weaves her own dramatic transformation with the latest science to show you how to live the life you truly want to live. It’s time to stop pitying yourself, devaluing yourself, hiding yourself, and all the other things we do to ourselves to avoid being our full selves. You can be comfortable in your own skin RIGHT NOW. This book will show you how.”
―Scott Barry Kaufman, Professor of Positive Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, author of Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined and Wired To Create
“Unf*ckology is smart, sassy, and absolutely hilarious (Amy Alkon curses like a great poet). But don’t let the LOL-moments fool you. Unf*ckology is also a rigorously scientific big-hearted attempt to kill the fear that gnaws our lives to the bone. This is a powerful manifesto for living brave.”
―Jonathan Gottschall, Distinguished Fellow, Washington & Jefferson College; author of The Storytelling Animal and The Professor in the Cage
“Amy Alkon is every bit as original, fierce and science-backed as you'd expect in a book titled Unf*ckology. Alkon invented the science-help genre, and this book finds her at the height of her powers. Alkon tackles interpersonal and intrapsychic problems with a voice as sui generis as the problems are universal. It's a master class in making important life changes taught by your hilarious best friend, the one who is as funny as she is smart, and whose radical honesty about her own shortcomings makes her thoroughly unfuckwithable.”
―Kaja Perina, Editor in Chief of Psychology Today
“Advice on how to change behavior should be grounded in the science of behavior, but it rarely is. Don’t let the name fool you: Unf*ckology may speak with a potty mouth, but it cites journals and textbooks to bring a nuanced take on cognitive neuroscience and human evolution to the problems of everyday life.”
―Christopher Chabris, Assoc. Professor of Psychology, Union College; co-author of The Invisible Gorilla
“If what you want the most is a swift kick in the ass strong enough to send you in the direction of your dreams, Amy Alkon is just the brash, hilarious ass-kicker you’ve been searching for.”
―Heather Havrilesky, “Ask Polly” columnist and author of the best-selling How to Be a Person in the World
“In Unf*ckology, your fears are named and tamed, your hopes uncovered and empowered in a dazzling collection of science-based insights, with enough twisted humor to render your brain helpless to resist. The section on managing willpower alone is life-changing.”
―Terry Rossio, screenwriter, Shrek; Academy Award nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay
“Amy Alkon’s guide to having courage, confidence, and self esteem could not come at a more propitious time. As more and more colleges turn out spineless snowflakes offended by hand gestures and adjectives, enabled as they are by equally invertebrate faculty and administrators, and major corporations take disciplinary actions against employees who dare to challenge the PC orthodoxy that everyone is equally qualified for every job, we need a major corrective toward a proper understanding of human nature grounded in science, not in postmodernism’s dogma that all ideas are equally true. Unf*ckology should be assigned to all students as the textbook for the new science―‘growing a spine’―and taking personal responsibility for your life.”
―Michael Shermer, Presidential Fellow Chapman University, author of Heavens on Earth
“You have never read a book like this in your life. Amy Alkon is as funny and as wildly inventive as Dave Barry or PG Wodehouse. Yet she has created what she calls "a science help" book. A book riddled with fascinating research from psychology and neurobiology. A book that shows you and me how to use the results of that psychology in our own lives. And something more. Very few scientists these days are coming up with ideas that pull together the results of wildly diverse disciplines into a new big picture. Very few of today's thinkers give us big ideas. By showing us how to use research on fields like embodiment to change our lives, Amy Alkon has given us two things: new big ideas; and balls-to-the wall hilarity. Let's put that in different words. Unf*ckology is one of the most delightful books you will read in this lifetime. And Amy Alkon has established herself with this book as THE top practitioner of applied science.”
―Howard Bloom, author of The Lucifer Principle and How I Accidentally Started the Sixties
“Amy Alkon is such a festive cocktail of funny and brainy! Unf*ckology is hilarious, wise and amazingly useful ‘science-help’ for the meek to finally get going on inheriting the earth.”
―Sandra Tsing Loh, host of the syndicated public radio show, The Loh Down On Science; author of The Madwoman in the Volvo
“In this (very funny) book, Amy Alkon explains how not to be a loser. Being socially anxious and desperate isn't fun. And Amy shows you the science behind self-transformation. No short-cuts or thinking your way out―just incremental and targeted action. I found myself nodding throughout because I used a lot of these strategies myself as a socially anxious young person trying to move into an academic career that demanded a great deal of public speaking and interpersonal relationship building. And I appreciated Amy's humor as well―taking life too seriously makes changing that much harder.”
―W. Keith Campbell, Professor of Psychology, University of Georgia, co-author of The Narcissism Epidemic
“Unf*ckology is a f*cking good book. The self-help book for people who hate self-help books, Unf*ckology is firmly grounded in empirical research and takes a no-nonsense, no-coddling, no-airy-fairy-BS approach to the subject. It’s also very funny. Every page sparkles with Amy’s irreverent wit and wisdom. Highly recommended!”
―Dr. Steve Stewart-Williams, Assoc. Professor of Psychology, University of Nottingham
Praise for Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck:
“Alkon not only tells readers what good manners are but also provides useful suggestions for politely calling offenders' attention to their rudeness. And she does this in a ferociously funny style--it's worth a read for the laughs alone. There is nothing here of the proper arrangement of table setting, nor of how to address a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury; rather Alkon deals with modern problems in interpersonal relationships, such as how civilized people should act when standing in lines, on airplanes, online, and elsewhere.” ―Library Journal (starred review)
“This book is a gem. Hysterically funny and grounded in science, Amy Alkon explains why so many people are rude and how it's possible to be courteous, even if you're foul-mouthed and clueless about etiquette.” ―Dr. Adam Grant, Wharton School professor and New York Times-bestselling author of Give and Take
“I can say without reservation that Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck is hilarious, consistently entertaining, and, above all, wise. It's Emily Post as a beach read.” ―Charlotte Allen, The Weekly Standard
“She is chatty, at times outrageous, but full of ideas about living politely in a society that she says has become too big for our brains to handle. As for Oscar Wilde, at the end of his life is said to have commented: ‘The world was my oyster, but I used the wrong fork.'” ―Moira Hodgson, The Wall Street Journal
“If you're frequently left gasping by the jaw-dropping social ineptitude of your fellow human beings, or you're guilty of being a rude jackass yourself from time to time, this is the book for you. Alkon doesn't suffer fools lightly, but she also has the gentle wisdom to know that each of us plays the role of the fool sometimes. Armed with fascinating science, great humor, and a preternatural bullshit detector for a mind, she shoots from the hip – and you'll be damn glad she does, too.” ―Dr. Jesse Bering, Associate Professor of Science Communication and author of Perv
“Contradiction is part of what makes Ms. Alkon so captivating. Perhaps the biggest contradiction: The hisser can also be utterly lovely.” ―Brooks Barnes, The New York Times
“Although the subject matter should be enough to hold your attention, it is primarily Amy's ability to turn a phrase that makes the book such a good ride. Her section headings (e.g., 'Dating is War,' 'Murder-Suicide and Other Forms of Diplomacy,' 'The Tragedy of the Asshole in the Commons') make it impossible to put the book down and get back to work without reading just one more section. I highly recommend this book.” ―Dr. Frank McAndrew, Evolutionary Psychology journal
“In this comprehensive, science-based, easy-to-read, and hilarious book, Alkon looks at where our rudeness comes from and provides tangible ways for all of us to deal with it.” ―Dr. Jennifer Verdolin, Psychology Today
“One of '11 Smart Books You Should Read This Summer'” ―Sam McNerney, 250Words.com
“This crazy redhead is on to something. Her pink Rambler story alone is worth the price of the book.” ―Elmore Leonard on I See Rude People
“Amy Alkon is intellectually promiscuous―and funny as hell.” ―Howard Bloom, paleopsychologist and author of The Lucifer Principle, on I See Rude People
“Seriously great book. Alkon is smart and savvy and funny as hell. Where Hannibal the Cannibal only ate the rude, Alkon stands up to them with the sort of glorious panache that sometimes makes you want to stand and cheer.” ―David Middleton, January Magazine on I See Rude People
“Alkon turns reporting on findings in evolutionary psychology into an art form. She scans the research horizon for fascinating new results. Though relentless in her skepticism, she is keenly attuned to findings that are both solid and suggestive. (The world lost a great analyst when Alkon turned away from academic research.) In her hands, all this research turns into practical advice for how ordinary people can live better lives. Alkon may be, as the LA Weekly put it, 'Miss Manners With Fangs,' but she is perhaps better characterized as the offspring of Charles Darwin and Dorothy Parker. We academics can all take a lesson from her ability to redefine academic turf in terms 'the ordinary person' can both understand and enjoy.” ―Dr. Barbara Oakley, Oakland University
About the Author
AMY ALKON does "applied behavioral science," translating scientific research into highly practical advice. Alkon writes The Science Advice Goddess, an award-winning, syndicated column that runs in newspapers across the United States and Canada. She is also the author of Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck and I See Rude People. She has been on Good Morning America, The Today Show, NPR, CNN, MTV, and does a weekly science podcast. She has written for Psychology Today, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times Magazine, the New York Daily News, among others, and has given a TED talk. She is the President of the Applied Evolutionary Psychology Society. She lives in Venice, California.
Top customer reviews
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Amy Alkon spent years compiling and examining scientific research to find real answers about how to initiate deep personal change (as opposed to some "Secret" wish cult). She found the answer, and "Unf*ckology" is her gift to anyone who ever felt "less than." You'll never be "less" again.
This book is so much fun to read you forget that it’s really a science book, not a self-help book, even though it does help (its a science-help book, as Amy says). The book describes how to identify your fears and turn them into strengths. Seriously. Amy can take you from being the mouse cowering in the corner to throwing the party. It feels like magic, but it is based on research that Amy clearly explains so that you can put it to action.
Amy’s tone is as bold as her message, so if you can’t handle tough talk and cuss words, this book isn’t for you. But if you saw this book and were intrigued by what "Unf*ckology" might mean, by all means dive in. It’s the thrill of an amusement park ride fully grounded by science.
Now that I'm older, I not only see where I went wrong in trying to fix my own head and make my own way with no guidance, I've also studied enough on human behavior at this point to recognize that Amy's advice truly is science-based.
The target human being for this book is the person who is unsure of him or her self, perhaps shy, perhaps lacking in confidence. This book will help fix those things. But there is another audience for Unf*ckology: everybody else.
All of us could use a little boost of confidence from time to time.
Further, we all know people who are shy and lack confidence. Those of us with confidence make a great contribution to the world when we can help those who lack it.
So my advice, if you don't think you need this book: in one way or another, you do.
Finally, I've been a fan of Amy's writing through her Advice Goddess column for close to 20 years. By the time I discovered her column, I was married, and happily so, not dating, and not needing much of the advice provided to her readers. I read her -- and my wife and I would read her to each other -- because she was such a witty and entertaining writer, full of sharp observations that hit their mark every time. She had no time for people's BS and called them on it with flare.
She was a good writer then. She's even better now. If the idea of reading a "science-based" book scares you, don't fear -- Amy's wit, her ability to grip your interest with stories, and her vivid use of the English language will keep you thoroughly entertained.
Would definitely recommend. Even if you aren't so-called lacking in the confidence department, it's still a clean read on its own.