You Are A Badass

By Jen Sincero
ISBN-13: 978-0-7624-4769-5

Publication Year: 2013

Tags: Self-Help, Unoriginal, Potentially Dangerous

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

I had this book recommended to me by someone who said that it changed her life. (She’s still working at a discount book store, so maybe other areas of her life were changed.) Short Form: Another self-styled Life Coach hypes herself as having THE ANSWER, using all of the worst self-help suggestions in the world, barely repackaged into modern, poorly-written tripe. To quote a favorite short review, “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly; it should be throw with great force.” (Attributed, without confirmation, to Dorothy Parker)

I read the work slowly, with an open mind, even after Ms. Sincero sincerely (this, in chapter two) invoked God as the only real source of getting your “vibe” to resonate at a higher frequency. Okay, you can call it something else, like The Universe, or The Force, or whatever, but it’s still God. Even she admits as much. My goodness — has someone read The Secret by any chance? The similarity between that overrated tripe and this book might be described by the term “identity.” Oh, but this repackaging has only just begun. Before long, we get to Living In The Now (may we all be spared from the horror that is Ekhart Tolle!), and then into how we all walk around in a sleepwalking state Sincero calls the Big Snooze (or B.S. for short — “Isn’t that clever?” asks Stuart Smalley), and waking up will be hellishly painful, but it is vital never to give up. (Shouldn’t she be signing you up for her coaching classes by now? Oh wait, that’s at the end.)

It gets nothing but worse. “Affirmations work!” she declares, despite a plethora of scientific studies that prove otherwise (as reported in Psychology Today and Huffington Post). In her Resources section, she uses the equally disproved Think and Grow Rich; the evergreen, ever-soporific positivism of Louise Hay; and the joys of 80s “spirit-channeling” of “Abraham” via Esther and Jerry Hicks. She even invokes Tolle, much to my horror. Has this woman no shame?

Apparently not. Her view of What’s Wrong With You is what sells books and puts butts in seminar seating, where she promptly tells you never to listen to someone (well, someone else) who thinks there’s something wrong with you. This book is yet another in an already overfull quagmire of “NYT Bestsellers” that will tell you exactly why you’re an idiot until you do what the author says, and after all, she must be right, because look at all these copies and spin-offs I’ve sold! Oh, and since I’m criticizing her, Constant Reader, I’m clearly slogging through the Big Snooze and am not filthy rich because I’m just too stupid to see how right she is. This Empress is not only starkers but has a head only a herpetologist could love.

Let me offer full personal disclosure. I do have my own spiritual practices, and they assist me in getting through tough times. I’ve turned to forms of hypnotherapy for short-term help in getting my thoughts and actions together; it helps keep doses of anti-depressants low and less-often used (I’ve been sertraline-free for over two years now). There is value is cutting out toxic people from your life and surrounding yourself with those who believe in you and support your growth. I’ve enjoyed a “channeled entity’s” talk on choices, not because I necessarily believe in the entity’s individual existence, but because I like some of the points raised during the talk. I learned to love myself from reading the redoubtable Leo Buscaglia, I’ve gotten good perspective of getting my metaphorical fecal matter together by reading Sarah Knight, and I’ve found spiritual guidance from Jamie Sams.

There. In one paragraph, I’ve saved you having to slog through some 250 pages of worthless rah-rah. Mind you, I haven’t got a metric eff-tonne of money in the bank, but my riches of spirit are uncountable. If you just want money, be a life coach like Sincero. Good luck with actually having a life. Here endeth the lesson.

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