How Not to Be a Hot Mess by Craig & Devon Hase – A Review

How not to be a hot mess craig devon hase

How Not to Be a Hot Mess: A Survival Guide for Modern Life by Craig & Devon Hase
Nonfiction | Self-Help | Buddhism
Published by Shambhala Publications
Released April 21st, 2020
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars

Note: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. This in no way affects my opinion.

2020 has definitely been the year of self-help books for me. My mental health has been poor for most of the year, and I’ve felt stuck and trapped in my life. So, I’ve been reading at least one self-help book at all times.

When I saw a description of this book, I reached out to Shambhala for a review copy, which I am very grateful to have received. The book itself is super cute; small enough to fit in a pocket, bright pink and yellow, and just adorably designed. The book is definitely marketed to women though, which I feel was a mistake since the information in the book is meant for everyone.

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Devon and Craig Hase

Once I started reading How Not to Be a Hot Mess, I was instantly surprised that it’s influenced by Buddhist philosophy. I probably shouldn’t have been considering it’s published by Shambhala Publications, but the book hadn’t been marketed as being influenced by Buddhism. I was a practicing Buddhist for years and still try to live by Buddhist principles, and feel that it would have been a selling factor for the book if they had advertised that aspect a bit more.

The advice in the book won’t be anything new if you’re familiar with Buddhism or if you regularly read self-help. Mindfulness meditation, generosity, having a healthy sex life, not taking mind-altering drugs… all the usual stuff.

However, if you are new to these concepts, this book will for sure help. Devon and Craig Hase explain the topics clearly and with plenty of examples from their own life. There are guided meditations to practice as well.

Overall, for what it is this book is good. Due to my past and interests, I didn’t learn anything new, but again, it will be beneficial to people wanting to know how to incorporate Buddhist concepts into their daily life. It’ll make a great gift for your friend or family member that is going through a rough patch.

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson – A Review

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
Nonfiction | Self-Help | Personal Development
Published by Harper Collins
Released September 13th, 2016
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars

“In my life, I have given a fuck about many people and many things. I have also not given a fuck about many people and many things. And like the road not taken, it was the fucks not given that made all the difference.”

Self-help books have become a staple of my TBR, primarily because, despite being almost 33, I’m still trying to figure my life out. As are many people. A lot of self-help books are all the same: manifesting good vibes, having faith in something, etc.. For some people that’s fine, and sometimes, depending on where I’m at in my life, it’s fine for me as well. More often than not though, it’s not enough.

I DNF-ed The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck last year because I was turned off by the edginess/cringiness of the author saying “fuck” in every sentence. Cursing in no way bothers me, but it’s obviously a ploy to stand out and catch people’s attention for this book.

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Mark Manson

I recently gave it another shot, listening to the audiobook on Scribd. Once I got through being annoyed with the style of Manson’s words and all the “fucks,” I ended up having an amazing experience with this book. In fact, I’m planning on buying a physical copy soon just so that I can read it again.

The thing that I like about The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, especially as compared to a lot of the other personal development and self-help books that I’ve read, is that it focuses on taking personal responsibility for your actions and how you respond to difficult and stressful situations. Most of us are guilty of, at some point in our lives (and some more often than others) of blaming the world or someone else for everything wrong in our lives. Sometimes it is someone else’s fault, but as Manson frequently points out in his book, the way you react to your problems is more important than anything else.

Manson has a way of making his points easy to understand and uses a lot of great examples from his personal experience to sell his ideas to readers. It works well. Listening to the audiobook was like having a serious, sit-down conversation with a mentor about getting my life together. I feel like so many people can benefit from an experience like that.

My absolute favorite part of the book is how he discusses in length the fact that you are not special. It’s even the name of one of the chapters. Coddling people is not good, and there are so many parts of society where that is happening. Participation trophies, thinking your problems are unique, etc. are leading to a culture where people don’t know how to deal with problems, losing, or any kind of disadvantage.

Obviously, Mark Manson’s approach will not appeal to everyone. It’s worth it to give it a read (or listen, the audiobook version is really good) if you think this book might help you.

Have you read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck? If so, what were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

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Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe by Yumi Sakugawa – A Review

Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe Yumi Sakugawa

Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe by Yumi Sakugawa
Nonfiction | Graphic Novel | Spirituality
Published by Adams Media
Released 2013
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars

The older I get, the more interested in spirituality I become. I’ve never been much of a religious person, not enjoying the confines of organized religion. However, I have been finding some solace in quiet meditations and pondering on some of life’s big questions.

I found Yumi Sakugawa’s Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe tucked away in my library’s graphic novel section, and it stuck out to me. It’s a very short book at just 160 pages, and the art is done in a very minimalistic style.

This graphic novel is exactly what it sounds like: a cute, illustrated guide to feeling connected with the universe at large. While it definitely has some “woo-woo” moments, overall this book is meant to be a quick meditation on oneness. It won’t be for everyone. In fact, I had a hard time with it.

The art itself isn’t typically something I would enjoy, but I do feel that it worked well for what this book was. It’s all hand-drawn, black and white, simple doodles.

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The content is what I had trouble with. If I had read this book five years ago, I would have hated it. I prided myself on preferring logic and science over religion and spirituality (perhaps some Vulcan-ness rubbing off on me). As I mentioned before, however, I have been growing more open in the past couple of years, and the book spoke to me more than I was expecting. There is some useful information and advice contained in these pages, and reading it was itself a calming experience.

At the same time though, some of the information was far too “out there” for me. For example, there are several suggestions to lie outside at night and explore the cosmos through your mind. For someone who is a verbal thinker rather than a visual one, it was hard for me to picture doing this.

Much of the information in this book is metaphorical or abstract, which is something else that left me feeling unconnected with it. There’s nothing wrong with metaphors! It’s just that in a format such as this one, I’d prefer information that can be taken at face value. An example is a chapter on “planting seeds” of your hopes and dreams and learning more about yourself as they grow. I get it, I really do. It just didn’t speak to me.

I’m glad that this book encourages meditation and peacefulness, traits that, in my mind, are always positive and good for the spirit. Some people will like this graphic novel more than others depending on how you feel about new-age spirituality. I read the entire book in roughly fifteen minutes, so if you’re even remotely interested in, go for it.

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