Book review: The Book of Awesome

toy figures shining a lifesaver tower + cover of The Book of Awesome

The Book of Awesome will not make you more so.

It's neither prescriptive nor is it wildly illuminating. After all, most of us can sense the difference between good and bad, easy and difficult, delightful and not-so-much, and when we're thinking clearly, we know how to open ourselves up to the light and steer clear of the stuff that pokes, stings, smarts, bogs or otherwise makes life, well, less awesome.

Here's the thing, though: it's easy to forget how colossally awesome life is most of the time. How almost unbearably fortunate most of us are in so many ways just because we get to wake up in the morning, stretch our relatively healthy and make our stupid beds. That whole Be Here Now thing the Buddhists are always (gently, patiently, eternally) harping about? If we were wired for it, we wouldn't need those pesky Buddhists; we'd just BE.

Fortunately for himself, blogger-newly-turned-author Neil Pasricha remembers to remember, and fortunately for us, he is HI-larious while doing so. Oh, yes, my friends: while reading The Book of Awesome, I laughed loud enough to startle the neighbors no less than a dozen times. TWELVE TIMES. Which made me physically feel awesome in addition to being freshly able to appreciate additional awesomeness around me because, as Pasricha and many others have pointed out, laughing is quite good for you, physiologically-speaking.

Some of the entries (chapters? items?) are also quite moving. There's a beautiful piece toward the end serving as a tribute to an awesome friend of Pasricha's who died tragically young, and the piece that closes the book, well, I won't give it away, but I will say that it alone is possibly worth the cost of admission. Well, it and the HI-larious laughing parts.

If you're already a longtime fan of the blog, you'll notice some duplication of entries, although the book is carefully edited for the best of the best, plus what I felt was really great flow. As a fan of the intimate and thus far irreplaceable something that happens when you read words on pulverized dead trees, I would consider getting a copy to dip into as needed, to remind yourself to BE HERE NOW (and maybe, just maybe, find the AWESOME in the moment). Even better, I would definitely consider getting it as a gift for your sad friend or your Internet-free friend, or even your sad, Internet-free friend.

AWESOME is as AWESOME does...


Yo! Disclosures!

1. The advance review copy of The Book of Awesome upon which I based this review was provided to me for free, and may vary from the book you purchase (although I didn't find any errors of a spelling or typographical nature, so, you know, kudos to Neil, Amy Einhorn and Team Awesome.

2. Links to the books in the post above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click on them and buy something, I receive an affiliate commission. Which I hope you do: it helps keep me in books to review. More on this disclosure stuff at publisher Michael Hyatt's excellent blog, from whence I lifted (and smooshed around a little) this boilerplate text.

Image (left) by beadmobile via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license. Image (right) ©Amy Einhorn Books/Penguin Group Inc.