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Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life Hardcover – August 1, 2017
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“UnFu*k Yourself ... will guide you in how to deal with divorce, loss, failure, health, work place woes, and will give you the power back in tackling life and teach you how to deal with your problems by taking responsibility.” (Reader’s Digest)
“If you like your self-help without any BS, look to Gary John Bishop’s Unfu*k Yourself, [which] aims to help readers who feel f*cked up work through their challenges. You’ll get advice and tools to combat negative self-talk and feel more empowered.” (Bustle)
“Meet Gary John Bishop, the straight-talking Glaswegian taking the self-help world by storm.” (Sunday Herald)
From the Back Cover
Wake up. You’re a fu*king miracle of being.
What’s standing in the way of you living your best life? Most people would reference things like relationships with other people, money, their job, or unfortunate circumstances. None of these explanations make any difference. Through decades of working with people as a personal development coach, Gary John Bishop has discovered that the barrier is one thing only: you. If you’re easily offended, stop reading now. This isn’t the book for you.
But if you’re looking for a book that gives you the power to find everything you ever wanted residing within you like a well of potential, waiting to be expressed, you’re in luck. Unfu*k Yourself is the handbook for the resigned and defeated, a manifesto for real life change and unleashing your own greatness.
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One of my biggest gripes with this text is that Gary seems to contradict himself throughout it and complicates his overall message. He is adamant that this is not another self-help book that focuses on positive thinking; however, it is one of the first concepts he introduces. In sum, he teaches that assertive language affects emotions, feelings, and ultimately decision making and that one should engage in healthy inner dialogue. He also later bashes the quote, "Change your thoughts, change your life," calling it bullsh*t. Where he is attempting to go with this is to say that actions speak louder than words and no matter what you think, unless you take action, your life will not change.
Okay, this is fine but he took a six-word quote and said it was invalid over the course of ~200 pages. The problem is that he views ideas singularly and criticizes them in isolation; however, if you took any one of his chapters singularly, it would contradict his overall philosophy. For instance, positive self-talk is useless without his later instructions on asserting and acting on them. Overall, I think the overt criticism of other ideas throughout the text followed up with very similar approaches hurt the message Gary was trying to send to his readers. You may find yourself confused or frustrated without having a deeper understanding of some of the philosophies on which Gary touches. In the end, Gary pulls it together but it may take a while to see the differences he is attempting to portray--the book could have been more concise and focused.
Another gripe would be that on page 21 he tells you that if you are easily offended not to read his book and to give it away immediately. The very next page he claims, "I have designed this book to be as accessible and useful to as many people as possible." Really, is anyone proof-reading this thing? Look, if you're going to be a self-help coach how can you tell the people who may need to hear your words the most, to shove off? This move was very Nietzsche-esque in that he believed he was a writer for everyone and yet no one at the same time. But Nietzsche was writing critical philosophy and engaging his own ideas--he wasn't writing it for them and that's why he didn't care if anyone read what he wrote. Gary, is writing for the people who he believes need help--that is his profession. So why scare away people who need the help?
TLDR: This book is a bit all over the place but does come together in a way that you will be able to understand by the end. If you are not well versed in philosophy and psychology, give it a go as it won't cost you an arm and a leg or too much of your time. Gary, I think you're doing good work but would encourage you to collaborate with some colleagues on condensing your thesis. I would also advise you to encourage your readers/clients while staying true to your no-bullsh*t approach as these do not have to be mutually exclusive.
Most of Bishop's advice is solid and makes a lot of sense. His concepts around creating the reality you want by changing your inner dialogue are helpful, and having that advice repeated throughout the book certainly helps to drive the point home. The friend who suggested this audiobook told me that she loves his Scottish accent, so that's a minor plus, too! Hearing the advice (which, basically, could be boiled down to "stop getting in your own way and just do the f-ing thing already!") in so many different ways is probably helpful for making the information accessible to as many people as possible.
What I don't like about this book:
Does Bishop really need to use being fat as a negative? This is not a minor detail–– he repeats the notion that being fat = being unhappy with your body and unable to be attractive SEVERAL times throughout this book. I pressed the "skip" button past these moments. It's outdated and offensive to use this stereotype as a way to illustrate points. Additionally, there is a lot of the same information and I imagine it could feel repetitive for some.
Finally, as with "You Are a Badass," the concept of the "tough love" self coach who's super cool because they curse? I mean... It's a bit tired. A little cheesy. Kind of feels like your dad throwing you a "hang ten" hand signal as he drives off in his PT Cruiser.
Overall, I absolutely would recommend this book to someone looking for good advice and something to help them reframe their mindset into something more productive. I'd also recommend remembering that thinking any type of body is less-than is actually a really great way to make you feel negatively about yourself. Give up the body hate, Bishop, and I'd be totally accepting of your Cool Dad brand.