Tag Archives: self help

Review: You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

About You Are A Badassyou are a badass

Paperback: 256 pages
Published: April 2013 by Running Press
Source: Library via Overdrive

Buy it on Amazon

Goodreads DescriptionThe #1 New York Times Bestseller YOU ARE A BADASS IS THE SELF-HELP BOOK FOR PEOPLE WHO DESPERATELY WANT TO IMPROVE THEIR LIVES BUT DON’T WANT TO GET BUSTED DOING IT. 

In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word. If you’re ready to make some serious changes around here, You Are a Badass will help you: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks, figure out how to make some damn money already, learn to love yourself and others, set big goals and reach them – it will basically show you how to create a life you totally love, and how to create it NOW.

By the end of You Are a Badass, you’ll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass.

If you’re wanting to kick some serious ass in the money department (you wanna?) and start making the kind of dinero you ain’t never made before, pre-order the next book in the series that’s all about your financial badassery: You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth, coming April 2017 from Viking Books.

My Review

You Are A Badass seems to be EVERYWHERE lately. So everywhere, in fact, that I thought it was a recently published book, not one published 4 years ago. Ah well, not that it matters, I suppose.

You Are A Badass is a self-helpish book about really going for it, whether that “it” is starting a business, traveling the world, starting a family, or just putting down the potato chips. There’s no shortage of motivational “kick in the pants” books, but somehow, Jen Sincero manages to keep hers short, sweet, and fresh.

A lot of self-help/motivational books fall short in the “action step” department. They focus too heavily on the need for improvement, and spend very little time actually telling you how to improve. I understand the difficulty, and many of these books are still worthwhile reads. However, when an author gives you concrete suggestions for putting your money where your mouth is, it really sticks out to me.

Jen Sincero does that with You Are A Badass, and she does it in a way that isn’t overbearing. Her suggestions are more like guideposts – she leaves it open enough that everyone will get something different out of her suggestion, but she still sets a direction. (That said, I did get tired of being told to love myself in every single chapter.)

For me, You Are A Badass wasn’t earth-shattering and really didn’t contain anything new and unusual. But, Sincero’s no-nonsense talk and to-the-point snippets were just what I needed. I’ve let a few areas of my life slide, and have been living the “Big Snooze” as Sincero calls it. Reading books like You Are A Badass helps keep me focused, and gets my wheels turning. In my mind, that’s what makes a self-help book a success – it inspires.

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February Book Reviews (2015)

I actually didn’t get much reading done this month! I was trying to read several books at once, mostly nonfiction, and it took me a while. Needless to say, I’m ready for some fun stuff – not that these weren’t fun, but I need a brain break! Plus, I realized that it’s now past time for me to read the next book in the Outlander series…and I still haven’t finished book 3 of Game of Thrones. March may be “epic books month.” We’ll see.

Ratings

I use the Goodreads rating scale of 1-5 stars. I know sometimes it’s hard to stick to only 5 options…lots of times we want half stars!! But, half stars make things messy. My ratings tend to be on the somewhat conservative side, so keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that a 3 star rating doesn’t mean a book is bad. Generally, I choose books that I expect to enjoy (don’t we all?). If I do enjoy them, then they’ve met my expectations…so I give them a 3. Anything lower than 3 didn’t live up to my expectations, and anything above 3 exceeded them. I’m generally not looking for certain writing styles or plot lines or technical aspects. If something stands out (for good or bad), I’ll comment on it, but in general technical aspects won’t be the sole influencer on my rating.

Any questions on my ratings? If so, just ask, and I’ll try to clarify!

And now, on to the books!!!

Groomed For Murder (Pet Boutique #2)3 starsI loved the first one. The second was good….but I didn’t love it quite as much. Izzy kinda got on my nerves this time and the story was a little too predictable. The rest of the characters are great, and I still love the setting. Plus, I can’t wait to try the enchilada recipe in the back. (Don’t worry, I’ll tell you how it goes if I ever get around to it.) The third book should be out sometime this summer, and I’ll definitely pick it up.

One Brave Dog: Journey Beyond the Forbidden River3 starsRead the review here.

How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer3 stars

This was our February book club book. I’d never heard of Montaigne. Turns out he’s considered the father of the modern essay (not school essay, but personal essay). Bakewell’s book is a pseudo-biography that uses examples from his life and his writing (sorta) to answer the question, “How to live?”

Montaigne would have been a blogger, I think. He was all about looking inward and figuring out why he did the things he did. In a way, the book was a mix of philosophy and psychology with a good bit of history thrown in. I was expecting to read Montaigne’s writing – but other than short quotations, there isn’t any of it in here. I’ve got his Essays on my list for next month.

This is the kind of book that I think you really have to be willing to give a shot. It’s not an easy read, but it’s not terribly tough either. But, if you’re not at all interested in philosophical musings it’s probably going to put you to sleep. What I liked was that it made me think, and it made me curious.

That said, there was a lot…and I mean, a LOT….that I think could have been left out. At times, reading the history of the time periods was pretty interesting. Other times, I had no clue why it was being presented, because it made no difference to the “answer” Bakewell was presenting. I thought about half of the chapters made sense, but the other half felt like she was grasping at straws. I also think that I went into it expecting something different, and that probably messed me up a little. I was looking for more of a commentary on Montaigne’s writing, and this book wasn’t that. It was a biography, but that’s a little hard to remember with a title like “How to Live.”

What Are You Hungry For?: The Chopra Solution to Permanent Weight Loss, Well-Being, and Lightness of Soul

2 starsThis was a Blogging for Books book, and by rights, should have its own post. Meh.

I was really excited about this. I read Intuitive Eating last year, and this book seemed like it would be similar. Plus, Deepak Chopra is supposed to be THE GUY.

Honestly, I had to force myself to finish this. There were a few things that were valuable, but mostly, I just felt like I was being lectured. Like Chopra himself was standing over my shoulder berating me. He wants you to give up all the bad stuff (including alcohol and cheese and meat), and he wants you to love doing it. He wants you to pay attention because as soon as you do, you’ll realize you don’t like alcohol and cheese and meat. And he wants you to sit at the table with your family because if you don’t you have an unhealthy home life.

And then there was this line…”Self esteem allows you to look at chocolate cake and think, “I’m not doing that to myself.” EXCUSE ME? Since when is chocolate cake the devil? (In context, I think what he’s attempting to say is that if you feel good about yourself you can make a conscious choice about whether you truly want the cake or not, but the connotation is that chocolate cake is bad.)

I mean…ok. It’s not that I necessarily disagree with him on everything, but the whole thing was so black and white. Like, just do what I’m telling you and you’ll be happy. And thin. Because you can only be thin if you do these things.

I’m sure that’s not what Chopra intended (or maybe it is?) but I got really tired of his self-importance. I did enjoy the medical information – there are a lot of good explanations about how nutrition and your body works. Would I recommend this book to anyone? No. I especially would not recommend it to someone looking for “a solution to permanent weight loss.”

Station Eleven5 starsWait, what?! A five-star??!! Have we even had any of these since I started doing these monthly reviews? (Yes. Two – Ready Player One and A Little Something Different.) They’re rare. Sometimes Jimmie tells me I’m too strict in my ratings. Sometimes I think he’s right, but then I come across a book like this and I think, nope. This is why I’m strict. Because if I gave every book I enjoyed a 5-star rating, then there’d be nothing that told you THIS IS AWESOME. Because they’d all be awesome. Anyway.

This book made its way onto my radar when our book club decided to read a National Book Award finalist (you may remember that book. Ugh.) I’d read a couple reviews of it, and finally got around to reading it. First of all, this book is 10 million times better than All The Light. And. Since it didn’t win, I can’t even imagine how good Phil Klay’s book is, so I’m going to have to read that to find out. Station Eleven is a post-apocalyptic story – it’s a little hard to explain, so I’ll honestly just refer you to the description. I’d make a mess of explaining it.

I think this is the kind of book you either love or you hate. I was about a quarter of the way into it, thinking, meh, this is ok…not bad, but not really grabbing me either. But I was curious, so I kept going. It’s not a hard read, though I wouldn’t call it easy either. A little over halfway through, I was hit with the most visceral reaction. I had to stop reading. All I could think was….when did this book become so real? When did I start to feel like I was in the story, and when did it suck me in? Days after finishing, I still have no idea when it happened, but it did. All of a sudden, it was real and I was both terrified and horrified and knew I was going to have nightmares. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a horror story at all. But, it’s intense. If you’ve ever read The Road, it’s the same kind of feeling.

The more I read, the more beautiful the book became. I loved the ending – if you can even call it an ending. Most of the book you’re kinda scratching your head thinking, where is this going, and then you find out, but the story is left open. Not open like there’s going to be a sequel, but open like there’s any number of possibilities and the author wanted to let you choose. It’s one of those books that this ending works…I was so glad she didn’t feel the need to wrap it up nicely with a bow.

I couldn’t stop thinking about this book for days – and I woke up twice in the middle of the night with my heart racing and feeling like I’d been scared to death. Will I read this book again? No. Will I recommend it to everyone I know? No. Do I think it’s an excellent book that fans of this style of fiction should read? Absolutely.

Hunted (Spirit Animals, #2)

4 stars

This is the second book in the Spirit Animals series, about four kids who call “Spirit Animals” and then have to save the world. Basically. Each book is written by a different author, and it shows a little bit…I enjoyed Book 2 more than Book 1. That said, Maggie Stiefvater tends to get a little too “romantic” for my tastes, so I got kind of annoyed by the not-so-subtle flirtations going on between two of the characters. I kept thinking…this is for kids. Get that out of here.

Otherwise, though, I really enjoyed the book. Meilin is still a whiny brat, but she’s growing on me. Rollan is flippant, but we’re starting to see a little more depth. Conor is the classic hero, and Abeke is the underdog. It works.

There was a lot more action in this book, and the battle scenes were fairly well done. I love that the Spirit Animals play such a big role in the story – sometimes I like them more than the main characters.

Blood Ties (Spirit Animals, #3)3 starsStill enjoying this series! I didn’t like this one quite as much as #2, but I’m still definitely hooked on them. So far, it seems that each story sort of features one of the kids a little bit more than the others. This one was Meilin, and she’s just not my favorite. I do love Jhi though, her spirit animal.

One thing that kinda bugged me though – and that I hope doesn’t continue as the series progresses – is that there are characters in Book 2 that I really enjoyed. Some of them you sort of know what happens, why they aren’t in Book 3. But some of them, it’s like they never existed. I want to know what happens to them!!!! I realize the story isn’t about the extra characters, but still…give me a little more closure!!!

Book of the MonthThis shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone after that review….. February’s book of the month is….

 Station Eleven

What books did you read this month? Any keepers?

January Book Reviews (2015)

Holy January! I’ve got to say….if I can keep this pace up, I’ll have no trouble meeting my goal to read 100 books this year! True, I read a lot of short easy books, and I’d started one before January. Regardless. It’s still a lot of books!

Ratings

I use the Goodreads rating scale of 1-5 stars. I know sometimes it’s hard to stick to only 5 options…lots of times we want half stars!! But, half stars make things messy. My ratings tend to be on the somewhat conservative side, so keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that a 3 star rating doesn’t mean a book is bad. Generally, I choose books that I expect to enjoy (don’t we all?). If I do enjoy them, then they’ve met my expectations…so I give them a 3. Anything lower than 3 didn’t live up to my expectations, and anything above 3 exceeded them. I’m generally not looking for certain writing styles or plot lines or technical aspects. If something stands out (for good or bad), I’ll comment on it, but in general technical aspects won’t be the sole influencer on my rating.

Any questions on my ratings? If so, just ask, and I’ll try to clarify!

And now, on to the books!!!

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success

3 starsI know, I posted a whole review of this book. But, I didn’t give you a rating. Here’s your rating. Go read the review. 🙂

Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up3 starsI admit, I almost didn’t share this with you, because it’s a little embarrassing. Terrible title. I read The Dance of Anger a few years ago, and this one has been on my radar since. So I finally made time for it. I like Harriet Lerner because she’s accessible, and because she’s not a touchy-feely-bullshitter. There were some good points in the book that anyone in a relationship can learn from. And it’s short. And the lessons in here are good for anyone, whether you’re married, in a relationship, or just thinking about being in a relationship.

Yes Please4 stars

Our January book club book. I knew nothing about Amy Poehler, and was a little skeptical. I was afraid it’d be like that horrible Chelsea Handler book I read. Thankfully, it wasn’t.

I think the thing that got me was Amy is a genuinely good person. I’m not a huge fan of her comedy, and truthfully thought she was probably a bit of a jerk. But either she’s not, or she’s a really good faker. I kid. There’s no way you can read this book and not see that she’s someone who cares about the people and world around her.

And she’s real. She’s humble, she’s proud, and she’s not afraid to admit she screws up. Her book is full of things she’s learned the hard way, of little nuggets of advice. There are a lot of profound moments in there too – and messages all of us could stand to read (and take to heart).

Her style is all over the place, which was fine with me but no doubt will bother a lot of people. It feels a little more like talking to a friend than reading a memoir, and for that reason I wish I’d listened to the audio book instead. Amy herself is the reader, so I bet it’s fun.

Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)

2 stars I know, I know. This is a classic, and on all of the “best books” lists. I have no clue why. Maybe I’m too old for it. Maybe I’m too impatient for it. But seriously. ..where was the plot? It read like a diary, and not a particularly interesting one. By the second half I was reading only the first sentence of each paragraph, and don’t feel that I missed anything. I’m sure someone will think that’s blasphemous and I do apologize, but this book just wasn’t for me.

A Tiger's Tale (Call of the Wilde #2)

4 starsI want more of this series! I love the characters, and Morrigan has fantastic pacing. I got a little annoyed with Grace this time around, because of all the whining about not sharing her power with other people, but otherwise, another great book. Plus, it was neat to read a mystery that didn’t involve a murder. This is a missing persons case. If you like animals and cozy mysteries, definitely give this series a try.

Wild Born (Spirit Animals, #1)

3 starsI’m a sucker for a good kids series, and this has a lot of potential. The writing isn’t great in this one, but it’s tolerable. Each book in the series is written by a different author, so it’ll be interesting to see how the style changes. Basically, there are four kids with “spirit animals” and they’re trying to save the world. What’s not to love???

Curiosity Thrilled the Cat (Magical Cats, #1)3 starsI picked this up because of the cover and because the cats are supposed to be magical. I suppose they were, but I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t have larger roles! I was also a little put off by the main character. ..she was the head librarian but from what I could tell, actually didn’t do anything. I didn’t have much sympathy for her. This was cute but nothing special, and there are better cozies out there.

A Deadly Grind (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery, #1)

3 starsYet another cozy. This one was a bit different in that the main character really wasnt a very good sleuth. In fact, she was pretty bad. And she drove me nuts with her constant mooning over her ex. All that aside though, I enjoyed the story. I loved the vintage kitchen aspect, and I loved meeting all the characters. I thought Hamilton did a great job bringing the town to life and making me feel like I was in the story. I’ll keep reading the series, for sure.

Paws For Murder3 starsThis was too cute! Loved the focus on the pet boutique. The murder itself was a little boring, and the book was carried by the supporting characters just as much as the main character. In fact, I forgot her name half the time. A decent first book in a series, and enough to make me want to keep going.

The Beginning of Everything

3 starsI had mixed feelings about this book. At times, I loved it. At times, I hated it. Ezra was…..ugh. Exhausting. Cassidy reminded me too much of a girl I couldn’t stand in high school. On one hand, this book was too dramatically tragic. On the other, it was a pretty accurate portrayal of how teenagers think everything is a tragedy. Not to say there weren’t some serious bad things in here. But mostly, Ezra just waffled around and couldn’t decide who he was. (I mean, in high school, who can?) It wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t a great one either.

Book of the MonthThis month was kinda tough, actually. I read a lot, but there really wasn’t a clear winner. I guess I’ll go with

 Yes Please

What books did you read this month? Any keepers?

Blog Tour: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do

About the Book (from Harper Collins)

Expanding on her viral post that has become an international phenomenon, a psychotherapist offers simple yet effective solutions for increasing mental strength and finding happiness and success in life.

As a licensed clinical social worker, college psychology instructor, and psychotherapist, Amy Morin has seen countless people choose to succeed despite facing enormous challenges. That resilience inspired her to write 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, a web post that instantly went viral, and was picked up by the Forbes website.

Morin’s post focused on the concept of mental strength, how mentally strong people avoid negative behaviors—feeling sorry for themselves, resenting other people’s success, and dwelling on the past. Instead, they focus on the positive to help them overcome challenges and become their best.

In this inspirational, affirmative book, Morin expands upon her original message, providing practical strategies to help readers avoid the thirteen common habits that can hold them back from success. Combining compelling anecdotal stories with the latest psychological research, she offers strategies for avoiding destructive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors common to everyone.

Like physical strength, mental strength requires healthy habits, exercise, and hard work. Morin teaches you how to embrace a happier outlook and arms you to emotionally deal with life’s inevitable hardships, setbacks, and heartbreaks—sharing for the first time her own poignant story of tragedy, and how she summoned the mental strength to move on. As she makes clear, mental strength isn’t about acting tough; it’s about feeling empowered to overcome life’s challenges.

 

Review

When I was contacted about this book tour, I immediately jumped at the chance. I had a feeling from the description that the book was right in line with the entire reason I started this Fearless Creative journey in the first place, and since I’d been fumbling a little bit, I felt I could use a reminder. I hadn’t read the initial web post, but it didn’t matter. I knew I needed this book.

From a readability standpoint, it’s pretty easy. The chapters are short, the writing is conversational, and there isn’t a lot of scientific jargon. Morin devotes a chapter to each of the 13 Things that, according to her experience as a psychologist, mentally strong people don’t do:

  1. Waste time feeling sorry for themselves
  2. Give away their power
  3. Shy away from change
  4. Focus on things they can’t control
  5. Worry about pleasing everyone
  6. Fear taking calculated risks
  7. Dwell on the past
  8. Make the same mistakes over and over
  9. Resent other people’s success
  10. Give up after the first failure
  11. Fear alone time
  12. Feel the world owes them anything
  13. Expect immediate results

At times, I felt the topics were too high level, like there wasn’t much information – just a broad overview. I didn’t think there was enough substance there to help someone know how to make changes. Other times I thought the level of information was appropriate because it was just enough to inspire action without being overwhelming.

In each chapter, Morin lists a series of behaviors, thought patterns, or actions, and asks readers if they identify with any of them. In that way, she gently says, “there’s something for you in here.” I identified with some chapters more than others, but there was not one chapter in which I didn’t say yes to at least one item.

The chapter on taking calculated risks was one of my favorites. It wasn’t rocket science, but having a list of questions in front of me to think about when contemplating a risk made all the sense in the world. It got me thinking of what I’ve been holding back on for fear of the risk. Some of those questions, such as “What are the alternatives?” and “How much will the decision matter in 5 years?” made me stop and think. Do I have the answers yet? No. Have I taken any new risks? Not yet, but I finished the book a week ago. Give me time.

But even that wasn’t the chapter that I got the most out of.

When you look through the chapter list, I’m willing to bet that you say to yourself, “Nah, I’m good on that one. I’ll read it, but I don’t need to learn much here.” I sure did. People-pleaser? I’m not sure I’ve ever been accused of being a people-pleaser. Quite the opposite, in fact. And yet, that chapter was the one that I can’t stop thinking about. (Although, once upon a time – in July – I did tell you that I am, in fact a people-pleaser. Now we see who’s paying attention….)

In that chapter, Morin talks about values and about how knowing what yours are can help you make the best decisions. Truthfully, I didn’t quite follow all of her logic about why we strive to please others, but that’s beside the point. Morin challenges readers to list their top 5 values, in order.

I couldn’t do it.

I stopped short and stared at the page for a good 3 minutes before admitting I.COULD.NOT.DO.IT.

Have you ever actually, truly thought about your values?? What’s important to you?? What really matters?

Seriously, try it. Stop reading, and list your values. I’ll wait.

Could you do it?

If you could….are you living your life according to those values?

Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I’ve been able to at least identify some of my values. Prioritizing them is another matter entirely. Living them…some yes, but some I could definitely do a better job with. So what are my values?

  • Honesty/truth
  • Openness/acceptance
  • Adventure and a sense of fun
  • Knowledge and wisdom
  • Happiness
  • Connection to others
  • Kindness
  • Loyalty

These aren’t in order, but even then, I think they’re pretty telling. Nowhere on there do I see career, or money, or status. I don’t see family, though I do see connection to others – which is bigger than family. I see kindness, honesty, loyalty, and openness….all things I strive to be, and things I tend to demand from the people around me. Respect should probably go on there too – maybe that’s the umbrella for a few of these.

I see knowledge and wisdom, but I also see fun. Life should be fun. Fun is important. Without fun, what’s the point? (I think I said this exact thing back in July during my birthday week posts. It’s still true.) And of course, happiness. And maybe, peace should be there too.

All things considered, I think I’m doing ok with being mentally strong. Can I improve? Of course. Am I in a better place than I was a year ago? Without a doubt.

Unfortunately, I think many of the people who need this book the most are the least likely to read it. That’s the problem with self-help and personal growth books…generally, the people reading them are open to change, and thus miles ahead of everyone else.

A huge thanks to TLC and Harper Collins for the opportunity to join this blog tour and read the book. I needed it! Make sure you check out the other stops on the Book Tour!

And just for fun, here’s a quiz to see how Mentally Strong you are. How’d you do?

 

Amy’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmyMorinAuthor

Amy’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmyMorinLCSW

tlc-tour-host

 I received this book free in exchange for my honest review.