I’m new to reviewing nonfiction, partially because I’m fairly new at reading it. Self-help books especially aren’t my forte, as I usually turn to blog posts and Dear Abby columns when I’m in need of advice. But I read this book, cover to cover, since it had been recommended and I received a copy for free. Yes, free! Thank you, BookCon!
The premise of You are a Badass is summed up in the subtitle: how to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life. Jen Sincero, the author and professional life coach, is vigorous and matter of fact. This is the book equivalent of a foghorn alarm clock, when other advice can feel like birds twittering. In some ways it’s quite refreshing. Sincero doesn’t shy away from blunt truths, swearing, personal disclosure. Even the bright yellow cover is bold and unassuming.
In terms of content, the advice is actually quite simple. Love yourself, because you only have one life to live and there’s no point in wasting time on misery. Love yourself, because you are unique and special with your own thoughts and perspectives. Love yourself, because it’s the only way to happiness. She reiterates this many different times in many different ways, which can feel repetitive after a while and start to lose its meaning. However, there were genuine poignant moments, and what those were for me may not be the same for you.
To elaborate, I personally struggle with self-discipline and working towards long-term goals. It’s June and the novel draft I told myself I’d finish by New Years is barely 40 pages. I’ve been carrying the same extra twenty pounds since high school. You get the idea. Sincero encouraged me to look at the benefits of my inaction, to see what I’m gaining by not writing, not exercising. Comfort, mainly. No risk of failure. These are things I knew before, but phrased in an illuminating way.
You have to change your thinking first, and then the evidence appears. Our big mistake is that we do it the other way around. We demand to see the evidence before we believe it to be true.
Where this book falls short is in Sincero herself. While I appreciate her straightforwardness, I find it hard to relate to her. She peppers the book full of anecdotes, but not one ends in failure. The woman works as a nomadic life coach, with no ties to places or people. While she tries to make her message universal, there is an element of condescension about it all. She recalls a story of buying an Audi with money she doesn’t have, and coming up with the cash somehow because she really wants to afford it, and the statement reeks with privilege. Her monetary advice in general was eyebrow-raising, which is interesting since she has an entire follow-up book based solely on money.
Additionally, the book rambles on far too long at points, and doesn’t get into actionable items until well past the halfway point. As someone who loves goals and strategies, this was immensely frustrating.
Nevertheless, her intentions are good and there are gems mixed in with the topsoil. I’d recommend this book, lightly perhaps, but a recommendation all the same.