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Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

Currently reading

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ann J. Lane
Wizard and Glass
Stephen King, Dave McKean
River of Blue Fire
Tad Williams
Richard Ford
Progress: 36/420 pages

F*ck Feelings / Michael & Sarah Bennett

F*ck Feelings: One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems - Michael Bennett  MD, Sarah Bennet

The only self-help book you’ll ever need, from a psychiatrist and his comedy writer daughter, who will help you put aside your unrealistic wishes, stop trying to change things you can’t change, and do the best with what you can control—the first steps to managing all of life’s impossible problems.


In this brilliantly sensible and funny book, a Harvard-educated shrink and his comedy-writing daughter reveal that the real f-words in life are “feelings” and “fairness.” While most self-help books are about your feelings and fulfilling your wildest dreams, F*ck Feelings will show you how to find a new kind of freedom by getting your head out of your ass and yourself onto the right path toward realistic goals and feasible results. F*ck Feelings is the last self-help book you will ever need!



Life sucks and then you die.

But what you do about it in between those two events will make a difference to how you feel about that statement. Are you ready for straightforward advice about what you can change and what you can’t? If so, pick up F*ck Feelings and start figuring it out.

I expected to enjoy this book far more than I did. It is written by a psychiatrist father and his stand-up comedian daughter and while it definitely has its moments, I found myself skipping large portions of each chapter. Apparently the regular readers of self-help books require generous doses of repetition to drive home even the simplest point. I soon found myself by-passing their examples, the “quick diagnosis” sections, and the suggested scripts to make your intentions clear.
By and large, I found the advice dispensed to be highly sensible. Common sense really, which as several of my friends like to remind me, is not all that common. I do find myself thinking about the warning that if brain wiring or brain chemistry are working against you, all the struggle in the world may not get you anywhere. In situations like these, it may be best to just find a way to cope with the way you are wired and move along.

Also sensible: you can only be responsible for your own behaviour. Trying to control other people is an exercise in futility. Decide if the person you are trying to change is someone that you can live with just the way they are or whether you are best off backing away from the relationship. If you decide to disengage, back away slowly and quietly, not making a big deal about it. In other words, just fade out.

Plus, don’t ask questions that you don’t want the answer to. Bugging a quiet person for more input is likely to produce information that you didn’t want to know. Sometimes, silence really is golden.

And yes, Assholes exist in the world. Just about everybody knows at least one. You can’t change them either. Do the fade out if possible, but if they are a permanent fixture in your life (i.e. a co-worker) then you are wise to not engage them in any sort of warfare. Ignore them to the best of your ability and do your own work. Drama accomplishes nothing.

Basically, stuff that I can’t believe that people need a psychiatrist to tell them. I did appreciate that Dr. Bennett did say that therapy is only recommended if you have a specific issue that you want to deal with and only for as long as it takes to deal with it. Don’t waste your money on messy, nonspecific therapy where you just muck about in the past “seeking insights.” That kind of muddy groping about for that “je ne sais quois” can actually make you less happy, more confused, and can even cause harm.

If there is someone in your life who still hasn’t figured out the basics of life, this book might be helpful for them (unless they’re an Asshole, but you know that). Not entertaining enough for the rest of us. Give it a pass if you’re basically happy with your life and aren’t really into the self-help genre.