Tuesday, September 16, 2008
How to be a Complete and Utter Failure in Life, Work & Everything Book Review by ChristineMM
Summary Statement: Fresh Twist on Self-Help Advice, Very Effective, Hysterical!
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Title: How to be a Complete and Utter Failure in Life, Work & Everything: 44 ½ Steps to Lasting Underachievement!
Author: Steve McDermott
Publication: FT Press, Financial Times, an Imprint of Pearson, January 2008
Format: soft cover book
Full Retail Price: $14.99
How this book came to me: I requested a review copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program.
This book is hilarious! Author Steve McDermott has taken self-help advice, some of it so familiar to us that we don’t even ‘hear it’ anymore and twisted it into the opposite. Just reading the one-sentence summary advice in its opposite form is laugh out loud funny, such as “Don’t adjust” and “Don’t take personal responsibility for your life and results”. It is amazing how ludicrous some of the advice on how to fail is, and it hits home when I recognized some of my own actions were right there in the ‘how to fail’ advice such as “Get very impatient in the early stages of growth. You don’t want to wait. You want it now, now, or even sooner than that.”
Each piece of advice is laid out as a step. With each step is a quote from a famous person. There are 2-4 pages of writing to expand on the concept. There is also a box with specific actions to take to achieve the step.
I’m a woman and really enjoyed this book but I can imagine that men would love this book even more. Anyone who has heard the self-help advice before, the advice about how to be successful, how to do well at your career and so on, may not want to hear the same old advice again, in the same old presentation. For some reason twisting the advice into its opposite, and having the advice seem so crazy because it so obviously is guiding us on what exactly to do in order to fail, we ‘get’ the true message that if we want success and happiness, we must do the opposite. The sense of humor is appealing and makes this more readable than some of the many books of advice on how to find success that are already on the market.
Teenagers who may not have read one or a few self-help books yet would also enjoy this book due to the humorous presentation (not to mention that they’d learn a lot from it). Teenage boys really are a perfect audience for this book as so many would be closed-minded to being told what to do especially if it differs from what they think is right because they already know it all, don’t you know? I think it would be a good gift for a teenager, a high school graduation gift, or a good gift for a college student. Additionally psychologists and counselors of any kind may find this book hilarious and a must-read for a good laugh.
The book does not have to be read from front to back. You can flip through the book to find a step to read, put it down and return to it later. Between that type of reading and the sense of humor I can see that this would be a good book to keep on a coffee table at home for people to stumble upon and laugh over, as it is a good conversation starter. It is also good to keep at your office. You or your co-workers might like to read one of the steps to get a bit of comedic relief during the workday.
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