Goodreads: You Are a Badass
Published: April 23, 2013
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.
You Are a Badass is a fairly generic self-improvement book. It’s not really about anything, beyond encouraging the reader to take control of their life and work towards their goals—whatever their goals are. The lack of specificity can be daunting for people who really want to know something like how to start a business, exactly, or how to reach their ideal weight, exactly, but the overall message of believing in yourself and going for it could be just what some readers need to get inspired to seek out books that are more focused on their exact goals.
The tone of the book is relentlessly peppy and upbeat, and I found it entertaining even though I was reading the book simply because someone had given it to me—not because I had any actual interest in the book. I felt pretty inspired from the opening pages to go out and do something (again, unclear exactly what that something was supposed to be, but oh well), and I really only raised eyebrows when Sincero started talking about getting in tune with cosmic energy and putting out positive vibes so they come back to you. (Really, she seems to think there’s something useful in believing in God but didn’t want to have that type of religious undertone to the book, so she settled for some unspecified universal energy we should all believe in. I think you can pass on this part and still get something out of the book.)
There are two main points to the book, which make a ton of sense, even if you’re not really a self-help book kind of person.
1.) Sincero invites you to think deeply and figure out what’s really holding you back from trying to achieve your goals. For instance, did your parents’ bad marriage make you subconsciously wary of getting in a committed relationship? Or are you just comfortable being single and, even though you gripe all the type about wanting a partner, are you holding yourself back because it’s just easier to live alone? Sincero wants you to stop telling yourself and others “stories” (“I’m destined to be single.” “I’m broke because there are no good jobs in my field.” “I can’t start my own business because it’s too much of a financial risk.) and to be honest with yourself. You can’t address what’s holding you back if you don’t know what it is.
2.) Sincero posits that the difference between successful people (whatever your definition) and unsuccessful people is that successful people take action. (That’s not to say there are not things like being born wealthy or knowing the right people that provide an advantage, but that’s not really the focus of the book.) And this is really her message: If you want something, you have to commit yourself to getting it. It might be hard. It might be scary. And, yeah, it’s possible you will fail. But Sincero’s point is that you are only going to open your own business, or become an artist, or get a date next month if you actually go out and take steps to achieve those things. No one is going to walk up to you and offer you the opportunity to open your own bookstore/frozen yogurt shop. You have to decide you want to do that and find a way to make it happen.
Basically I would say this is a good starter book for people who want to make some kind of change in their lives but are being wishy-washy about it. Though Sincero occasionally dives into more specific topics like how to meditate and how to manage relationships with people who don’t believe in your goals, much of the book is an extended pep talk. Once you commit to your goal and get going, you’re probably going to have to do more work and research (say, reading books or taking a class on exactly how one does start a small business), but if you’re just feeling unmotivated or indecisive or brought down by people telling you you’re not going to succeed, this book could be the one that gets you on a brighter path.