Monday, May 6, 2013

Book #33: How to Be Interesting

Title: How to Be Interesting

Author: Jessica Hagy

Date started reading: May 6, 2013
Date finished reading: May 6, 2013

Publish date: March 2013
ISBN: 978-0761174707
Number of pages: 272

Official summary: "You want to leave a mark, not a blemish. Be a hero, not a spectator. You want to be interesting. (Who doesn’t?) But sometimes it takes a nudge, a wake-up call, an intervention! — and a little help. This is where Jessica Hagy comes in. A writer and illustrator of great economy, charm, and insight, she’s created How to Be Interesting, a uniquely inspirational how-to that combines fresh and pithy lessons with deceptively simple diagrams and charts. Ms. Hagy started on, where she’s a weekly blogger, by creating a “How to Be Interesting” post that went viral, attracting 1.4 million viewers so far, with tens of thousands of them liking, linking, and tweeting the article. Now she’s deeply explored the ideas that resonated with so many readers to create this small and quirky book with a large and universal message. It’s a book about exploring: Talk to strangers. About taking chances: Expose yourself to ridicule, to risk, to wild ideas. About being childlike, not childish: Remember how amazing the world was before you learned to be cynical. About being open: Never take in the welcome mat. About breaking routine: Take daily vaca- tions . . . if only for a few minutes. About taking ownership: Whatever you’re doing, enjoy it, embrace it, master it as well as you can. And about growing a pair: If you’re not courageous, you’re going to be hanging around the water cooler, talking about the guy that actually is." (

How I obtained the book: Got a free copy through my now-former employer (a newspaper)

My commentary:
  •  I've read (and glanced through) tons and tons of self-improvement books, and this one stands out totally from the entire genre. It not only dispenses awesome advice, it does it in a graphical way that is unique and interesting. 
  • With the things that have happened in my personal life lately (if you've noticed, I haven't read a book in like 3 weeks or so, which isn't like me), I needed a pick-me-up, and this was it. 
  • The way this book presents information reminds me of a "music" video by Baz Luhrmann for "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)." I have absolutely loved the video (watch below) for many years now because the profound -- and somewhat random -- advice, and this book made me think about the video. It's such a classic...

Memorable quotes (Doing this a little different this time -- some will be typed in, some will be scanned in as they appear in the book):
  • “Feel greater than fine. Do better than just okay. Amazing is rare, if only because so few people reach for it. Risking the ordinary is the only way to get something extraordinary.”
  • "If it is unappetizing: Do not eat, date, or sign up for it. If the mere thought of it is depressing: Do not major in it, sit through it, or devote your life to it. If it is not important to you: Do not do it only because it is important to someone else. You will thank yourself"
  • "Mistakes happen. Often. Sometimes they're your fault and sometimes they're your misfortune. Freely admit to both kinds."
  • "Avoid people who make you feel crappy."
  • "Maybe your past isn't perfect. Maybe it was brutal. Maybe you were brutal. Maybe you've got more scars than you thought one skin could hold. You can't linger on these thoughts. You will drown in them."

Buy on How to Be Interesting: (In 10 Simple Steps)

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