Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Book of Awesome - Neil Pasricha

Summary: Sometimes it's easy to forget the things that make us smile.  Sometimes it's tempting to feel that the world is falling apart.  But awesome things are all around us:

- Popping bubble wrap
- The smell of rain on a hot sidewalk
- Hitting a bunch of green lights in a row
- Waking up and realizing it's Saturday
- Fixing electronics by smacking them
- Picking the perfect nacho off someone else's plate

The Book of Awesome reminds us that the best things in life are free.  Based on the award-winning blog 1000awesomethings.com, it's a high five for humanity and a big celebration of life's little moments.  With wise, witty observations, The Book of Awesome is filled with smile-inducing musings that make you feel like a kid looking at the world for the first time.  (Summary from book - Image from amazon.com)

My Review:  The Book of Awesome is the brain baby of a blogger named Neil Pashricha who wanted to find joy in the everyday moments that we often overlook, so he started a blog about the all little things that delight us.  Sounds great, right? Here are a few examples (mostly selected at random):
  • Catching someone singing in their car and sharing a laugh with them
  • High tens
  • The thank you wave when you let someone merge in front of you
  • Finding the last item of your size at the store
  • The smell of gasoline*
  • Using Q-tips the way you’re not supposed to use them.
  • Eating a free sample of something you have no intention of buying
  • Using all the different soaps and shampoos in someone else’s shower
  • Sweatpants
  • When there is ice cream left at the bottom of the cone. 

Now, as you can see, Neil doesn’t delve too deep, passing over the joys of hearing a baby bust a gut laughing or watching your toddler take their first steps for the decidedly less monumental.  Instead, he focuses on highlighting the often-overlooked, wildly unappreciated pleasures of the human experience.  I absolutely love the concept, applaud the author’s effort to bring more light into the world, and even identified with the majority of his “awesome” experiences, but sadly have some issues with the execution.  Here’s why: 

Some of Neil’s entries were short and sweet – I could read them swiftly, smile and nod in agreement (yes, that IS awesome!) and then move on, but on far too many occasions he expounded for pages about some awesome thing that didn’t quite seem to merit the tremendous word count.   Reading the longer entries felt like Neil was writing to reach a word quota rather than convey an idea.  Ultimately, I think I would have preferred this content in its original format – blog post.  In that way, I could read one post a day and be gently reminded to look for the small and simple signs of joy in the world around me.  As a book, well, I felt bludgeoned over the head with it.   By the time I was halfway through I was just reading to finish.  Slogging.  And if you’ve ever slog read, you’ll know that it’s exhausting.  I finally stopped about 20 pages from the end, because it took me that long to call time of death.  Life is too short to read books you don’t want to read. 

All that unpleasantness having been said, if you’d like to read a little more about Neil and check out his blog you can head on over to http://1000awesomethings.com/ .  He seems like a pretty nice guy who is committed to doing some pretty awesome things.  Just because I didn’t like the book doesn’t mean I don’t think his ideas are AWESOME!**

*Whaaaat?  Neil and I are totally at odds with this one.
**Here's hoping I got all those double negatives right...but just in case I didn’t that was supposed to be a compliment.  He seems cool.

My Rating: 2.75 Stars (great concept but annoyingly long-winded execution)
For the sensitive reader:  Nothing I can think of….

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