In which Brianna and Ariel discuss Neil Pasricha's upcoming book, You Are Awesome. Who is this man, what is his book about, and when is it available? We received advance copies of this book so that we could give it our honest review. This post contains affiliate links.
You Are Awesome, by Neil Pasricha
Summary & Review:
Hello, dear readers! It has been a while since our last book review because we have been busy making book club kits. However, we’ve missed sharing our thoughts on helpful books with you and with each other. There’s a long, long list of all the books we want to review or that friends have asked for our take on. We were excited to take on this book because we were fortunate enough to get early access to it. So what is this book? It’s called You Are Awesome, by Neil Pasricha.
Neil Pasricha is the best-selling author of six previous books, as well as the creator of (at least) six failed websites. He’s also the son of two very wise and patient parents, whom I’d love to meet. In his book, which is an interesting blend of autobiography and life advice, Pasricha explains how he went from working the careers he was “supposed” to want, to finding his own path to success, happiness, and resilience.
Woven between Pasricha’s anecdotes about how his various strategies and philosophies work, there are concise overviews of some of the most fundamental ideas in self-help today. As I read You Are Awesome, I was intrigued and inspired by Pasricha himself (as I, too, am hustling to find my own path), and his nods toward other authors reminded me of nothing so much as a nice sampler platter at a restaurant. Tiny, bite-sized snacks meant to entice you toward a larger whole. For that reason, I think You Are Awesome would be a great read for anyone looking to get into self-help and positive psychology, but may be overwhelmed by the sheer selection at the bookstore or library (decision fatigue is real, and Pasricha addresses it, as well). It might also be a good fit if you’ve read the other popular titles, but are struggling with methods to put their wisdom into practice.
Brianna: So, Ariel, did you enjoy You Are Awesome?
Ariel: Yes, absolutely! Not only did I enjoy reading the story of Pasricha’s life, but I thought he used personal anecdotes to make some seemingly complex ideas from positive psychology and self-help accessible to all of us. For example, I was especially moved by his description of hope as an ellipsis - those haunting little dots at the end of a sentence. I will never look at them the same way again!
Brianna: He might have saved ellipses for me, honestly. I was starting to cringe every time I saw a sentence trail off with the “...”. It’s so foreboding and abused by people older than my parents that I was really getting peeved by it. But Pasricha’s take has changed my perspective and I shall use them in my own life as an opportunity for hope. And that’s not the only simple tool we can use to make our lives a little better from this book. What didn’t we like?
Ariel: You are Awesome contains nine secrets for upgrading your life. I thought the first six secrets were well-written and easy to follow. However, the last few secrets were confusing, which was so frustrating because I felt like they were equally (if not more) important than the first six secrets. Or at the very least these particular secrets don’t get as much air time in the public discourse. I loved that Pasricha included them! That was a bold move. I felt he could have spent more time unpacking them, though. What do you think?
Brianna: I agree. In particular, I think we agree that Pasricha’s definition of “untouchable” is different from ours. He starts his advice to “go untouchable” by bemoaning our obsession with productivity, but then explains that by going untouchable he becomes more productive than ever. Is productivity a bad metric? Are we just doing it wrong? Or do we genuinely need to unplug and not worry about work at all? Most of the time when we read about being off the grid for the day, it’s in the name of becoming unbusy and unproductive, so his take on this was interesting and I would have liked to have seen these distinctions untangled a bit more.
Brianna: What was your favorite advice or anecdote from You Are Awesome? I will go first. My mind was blown when I read about his interview with the generous (with both his time and money) John McArthur. McArthur’s advice to Pasricha was that everyone in business school are like a crowd of people waiting behind a fence for the beach to open, and that upon graduation the fight for a decent bit of beach would be ferocious. He told Pasricha to “get off the beach.” Pasricha took his advice and ended up building a place for himself in Walmart’s executive team.
This shook me for two reasons.
1) A Harvard Business School dean actually told a student not to fight for a an entry-level business job at a prestigious firm?!
2) I can barely remember a time when Walmart was not “the beach.” It’s a behemoth! Apparently part of that is thanks to Neil Pasricha, so I’m glad I read his book. How about you?
Ariel: The secret that had the greatest impact on me was “Reveal to Heal.” Mostly because Pasricha did not immediately rely on the go-to “see a therapist.” He captured a wide range of ways that we can practice confessing in our modern society - from Post Secret to a simple two-minute journaling practice. These are both options we can wrap our heads around! Whereas if our advice is always “tell it to a professional,” most of us will shut-down. There is a time and place to employ professional help and, as one of the professionals, I think the threshold is a lot lower than most of us think. But we also need to be realistic! Revealing is not a one-size fits all - journaling and reading Post Secret may fit you or your situation right now. If for nothing else I would recommend You Are Awesome for how it allows us to see these concepts (and hopefully ourselves reflected in them) from a new lens. As Pasricha would say, read this book to “shift the spotlight!”
Brianna: I agree; his persistence in carving his own path applies not just to his career, but to his approach to wellness and happiness, too. And that’s pretty inspired, actually. Self-care doesn’t have to be done a certain way, and we can find small, unconventional, ways to nurture our mental health, which make a big impact over time. So, bottom line, would you recommend this book, and to whom?
Ariel: I would recommend this book to those just starting on their path to self-discovery through self-help and positive psychology and those looking to shake things up. Maybe this isn’t the first book you picked up off the self-help shelf! Regardless, you will get something out of it. Pick up a copy November 5th! Or pre-order it from Amazon now.
Get your own!
If You Are Awesome sounds like your cup of tea, click on the picture below to order your own copy. To learn more about Pasricha and his current projects, check out his three successful websites, 3books.co , 1000awesomethings.com , and www.globalhappiness.org
Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
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