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You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life Paperback – April 23, 2013
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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#1 New York Times Bestseller
“Sincero (Don't Sleep With Your Drummer) brings a fun, feminine verve to now well-tread self-help tropes… The tone is far more feisty than academic, and there's humor on every page, all of which is exactly what her intended audience most needs"
—Publishers Weekly online
“If touchy-feely self-help tomes make you feel, shall we say, less than inspired, this no-nonsense manifesto to awesomeness might be just what you're looking for. Filled with blunt and sassy advice, do-it-yourself exercises in personal transformation, and a whole lot of hilarity, You Are a Badass will silence your inner critic, and help you build a life worthy of the kind of Facebook news feed that others envy. Take a day off from looking for your inner goddess, and spending some time cultivating your outer badass instead.”
“I adore Jen's realistic and funny take on all matters of living an awesome life. She has such a gift for writing in a very digestible way that will appeal to everyone. If you're looking for purple unicorns and rainbows you won't find them here, what you will find are practical and easy ways to connect with your inner badass and change your life.”
—Madisyn Taylor, Co-Founder, DailyOM
“Author and success coach Jen Sincero takes the self-help book to another level with her cutthroat humor and in-your-face attitude. …The 27 thoughtful, well-written chapters are worth it—by the time you finish the book, you will understand the secrets to a life you deserve and how awesome you really are at controlling the outcome of your life. In other words, you’ll realize how much of a BAMF you really are!”
—Albuquerque’s Weekly Alibi
“Sincero has probably written the most entertaining self-help book many readers will ever get in their hands on…. Reading this book was like talking to a best friend – the one that will tell you like it is no matter the circumstances and that forces you to think outside the box.”
—The State Hornet, California State University, Sacramento campus paper
“[You Are a Badass] is (and I quote) “the self-help book for people who desperately want to improve their lives, but don’t want to get busted doing it.” You have permission to upsize your serving of awesome with this funny, fulfilling read.
“YOU ARE A BADASS is a phenomenon!”
—Liesl Freudenstein, Boulder Book Store
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Until Chapter 17.
About halfway through the book, Sincero begins talking about excuses. Okay, yes. A valuable thing to discuss. People, myself included, make excuses all the time. But she decides to target a set group of people.
People who are clinically depressed. She says, and I'm paraphrasing here, that depression is a comfort because it gives those who suffer from it an excuse not to do anything but stay in bed.
And that is precisely when I tuned out. I went from loving everything she said to eye rolling in a matter of seconds.
My clinical depression is not an excuse. It isn't me being lazy. It isn't me snickering as I back out on plans I make with friends. It's me literally being unable to do anything because my disease is keeping me from doing it. There are days where I can't do anything at all. There are days where laundry piles up and my bedroom becomes a disaster and I hide away from the world because I don't think I'm worthy of being seen. There are days where I stop seeing my friends because I feel like I'm a burden to them.
And my friends understand this. They know what I go through and they know that if I need some time to myself to get my brain under control, then it isn't an excuse. It doesn't mean I don't love them. It means that I'm just dealing with negative thoughts and I need to work through it. The fact that Sincero completely misunderstands depression ruined this book for me instantly. Yes, I will admit she gives valuable advice. But once I figured out that her advice disvalues someone like me, I checked out.
Also, her advice...is highly privileged. She says things like, "If you can afford this book, then you're doing okay." "Just buy the car of your dreams!" "If you want to travel the world, stop making excuses and you can." Some people...can't do that. Don't get me wrong, I'm in a good place right now but a year ago? I could barely pay my student loans. I couldn't afford to replace the khakis that were part of my work uniform. I ate leftovers for days on end because my paycheck wasn't going far enough. I didn't blame the universe for this. And I certainly didn't spend beyond my means just because I thought 'the universe owes me and will figure it out.' Sometimes, you're just in a s***ty place in life. I was in a s***ty place for three and a half years. Going out and spending money on a trip around the world isn't exactly sound advice for everyone. I felt like Sincero was speaking to one small group of clients. I didn't fit within that group.
Like I said, she does say some really nice things. She did build me up for quite a few chapters. But she dropped me instantly and it hurt. Depression is hard enough. People with depression shouldn't hear that it's an 'excuse.' I was highly offended and if I wasn't so far in the book, I would've stopped reading altogether.
Needless to say, I'm pretty glad to be done with this one.
As one reviewer noted, this book seems largely oriented around the author pitching her life coaching session and praising herself. Most of the book is designed to teach you to constantly chase after things that are in many ways irresponsible(being irresponsible is not badass). The author, at one point, tells the reader to go into debt(I am not making this up). The terminology is sometimes amusing, but I found the ideas lacking and in many ways offensive. Here are a couple of problems that I noticed. I apologize in advance for any errors in my review, but I think readers should be aware of all the problems despite my inability to articular them well:
Manifestation-This is a common marketing tool that has historically resulted from the New Thought movement. It takes ideas of optimism and says that optimism and material thinking can turn them into material objects. The idea is that there is some sort of energy in the Universe(the author refers to it as Source Energy) that one can "match." Of course, there is no real proof of this. The positive imagery may help one maintain a positive attitude(scientifically people with positive attitudes do do better in the job market) but it will not manifest other objects. The New Thought movement comes out during the early 20th century and, to me, seems to be based on misinterpreting pragmatism. You can manifest ideals in your brain that effect your worldview(almost anyone knows this is true) but that does not lead to you being able to manifest money or food. It can also be dangerous. For example, I would be curious as to how the author would explain this to a terminally ill patient or child in hunger. Finally, the ideas are presented very sophomorically. The author keeps telling people that the Universe wants them to be happy. I don't know what "Universe" the author is talking about and how the author "knows" that it wants people to be happy. In fact, most people in America are often sad. The author might contend that the Universe only wants people to be happy that are motivated and willing to manifest positive imagery. Using the starving child example, I am fairly certain that people seek out food despite their hunger. I don't think their attitude towards not having it truly affects something. I also don't know how one can create frequencies. If these frequencies are real, how does the author differentiate between when a frequency is related to this "source energy" and when it is not? It seems more of a way to have your cake and eat it too. If something does not work out, you did not align your frequency and if it did, you aligned it. Seems like a confirmation bias.
Debt-The author talks about buying an Audi rather than a Honda because she believes that she would manifest the money for the Audi. As mentioned earlier, this is a ridiculous claim. This is an offensive statement for people that are truly straddled with debt due to mistakes when they were younger. It is also ridiculously irresponsible to buy an Audi rather than a Honda if one does not have the money. I would question the author's ability to be content with herself. Why exactly did she believe that this Audi was required for her self worth to the point of going into debt? I think the author should count herself lucky that none of this affected her long term. Others are not blessed with such circumstances.
Meditation-The author's ideas of meditation seem to be some sort of way for her to connect to this random "Source Energy." While there are some ideals of meditation that talk about a connection with the universe, they largely deal with metaphysical issues that have nothing to do with materiality. They deal with a oneness that looks beyond dichotomous relationships on a metaphysical level but not necessarily on a material level. Obviously, many new age gurus take this to be some sort of "energy" that they believe exists in the world as a whole, but it is not the traditional definition. If you were to continue meditating in any religious or long term setting, these notions will truly hold you back from reaching a broader understanding of the nature of reality(or its illusory potential). With the earlier example of the debt ridden Audi, I think it is worth mentioning that meditation in the way the author spouts it is probably no different than every day existence(craving of objects). It is based on a selfish attitude about what the Universe will provide you if you do everything a certain way and view things with positive imagery. I suggest reading Taoist, Hindu, or Buddhist philosophy to see where these ideals are stolen from in this work and new age literature. They are more complex than simply "be one with the universe." If you are serious about spiritual inquiries, I think you would be denying yourself a great deal of human experience/knowledge by not going more in depth.
India-The author talks about going to India to witness the "love" that India has. Often, this is done by Western spiritual seekers to see the way that South Asian society values things rather than consumerism/capitalism. I do not know the author's exact trip, but I would question anyone touting serious knowledge about India after only visiting it for a brief time. Unfortunately, there is a serious racial element here. Westerners are often treated a certain way due to their skin tone or their wealth. In many parts of the country, poverty is rampant. There is considerable starvation, corruption, prostitution, gambling, etc. throughout most third world countries. At one point, the author talks about being given an M&M on a train. I would be curious as to the author's opinion on this large issue of globalization and how she feels about Mars Incorporated in India. There is a broad literature on the history of globalization and capitalism that should be worth noting for anyone interested. While there are some positives, there are definitely significant negatives that should be taken into account. She also talks about how Indians do not value getting to places on time because of her riding on a bus that often stopped with little complaints. I do not know what bus this is but it is definitely not the one that takes people to call centers in the middle of the night away from all their families in order to meet the demands of globalization. It seems to be some sort of tour bus. To make a claim that people do not value punctuality as a result is very offensive. Also, in many cases, people have simply chosen to not worry about the speed of the bus because of an inability to make dramatic infrastructural changes. It is a passivity based on giving up rather than a passivity based on contenment.
Asking for money-The author in many cases also asks for money as a previous reviewer notes. Ideas about paying for self-help and coaching are thrown throughout the book. While I am glad for Sincero's happiness as a result of her life coaching sessions, these things should not be mentioned without really understanding their financial costs.
Money-The author tells many people that it is ok to desire money and anyone else that thinks otherwise is delusional. While this is an interesting perspective that comes from "The Science of Getting Rich" written in 1910(the author spouts the values of this book many times), I would recommend readers look at the larger questions of spending and debt throughout the work. The author seems to be selling a discontentment throughout that requires readers to take a course. If you read books on psychological well-being or philosophical thought, you will notice a trend that tells of the ills of such a thought process in regards to money. For Sincero, this is just because of a cultural obsession with poverty. I would highly doubt these claims. Mass consumerism as something that is linked to notions of personal character is a product of the early 20th century(at least in America, although some trends of it existed in the 19th century). I would ask Sincero to understand these broader cultural changes and use them to question her own circumstances. I would also in many cases look at some of the great historical leaders/thinkers and their ideals of money. This is not simply limited to those that spouted poverty such as Jesus, Gandhi, etc. but also extremely wealth businessmen, such as Andrew Carnegie, for a more nuanced approached(although I personally would side with the former).
Illogical-There are many claims that are self-contradictory. For instance, the author talks of accepting one's self and gratitude but also spends much of the time telling people that they need not be passive and to not settle for less. There are claims to not listen to people and then claims to join "coaching" sessions. There are claims to be irresponsible with claims about being responsible.
Unfortunately, I can't recommend this book to readers. I am sure that Sincero is genuine in her desire to help others, but this book does not seem to reflect her desires. If it does, I suggest the author spend a little more time analyzing her philosophical viewpoints. While witty language may be helpful, it is a disservice to serious readers that hope to gain something with their time. I also feel very cheated on the Kindle version as there is no way to return the book. As for readers, I think there are plenty of other options for good self-help literature. Also, look to the leaders of your communities. If these people are not setting a good example, look for people that have spent a little more time on these issues. The great works of philosophy are available in almost any library. As for developing personal characteristics, I may be old school, but I still think that there are great historical leaders that lived noble lives worth emulating.
Finally, if you gained something out of the work, I hope that you continue searching for a little more nuanced approach to life. I don't think I have all the answers, but I would contend that it is questionable that Sincero does either despite what her book states. While Sincero's approach may be what society has deemed valuable, it does little for the broader ideals of contentment, family, community, etc. that have led to happiness for thousands of years. I highly doubt that Sincero has studied philosophical thought deeply enough that she has solved the great questions of life.
If you are not interested in a more detailed analysis, I still believe there are better "pop" self-help books that do a better job.
Most recent customer reviews
It's a bunch of that. Nothing really useful or practical here.