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You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations

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Darkly humorous and told with raw honesty, You're Not Doing it Right is Michael's debut memoir. In it, he takes on his childhood, his marriage, his children, and his career with unexpected candor and deadpan wit, as he shares the neuroses that have plagued him since he was a kid and how they shaped him into the man he is today. In this funny-because-it's-true essay collecti Darkly humorous and told with raw honesty, You're Not Doing it Right is Michael's debut memoir. In it, he takes on his childhood, his marriage, his children, and his career with unexpected candor and deadpan wit, as he shares the neuroses that have plagued him since he was a kid and how they shaped him into the man he is today. In this funny-because-it's-true essay collection, Michael says the kinds of things most people are afraid to admit, and as a husband and father living in the suburbs, asks the question so many of us ask ourselves at one point or another. How did I end up here?


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Darkly humorous and told with raw honesty, You're Not Doing it Right is Michael's debut memoir. In it, he takes on his childhood, his marriage, his children, and his career with unexpected candor and deadpan wit, as he shares the neuroses that have plagued him since he was a kid and how they shaped him into the man he is today. In this funny-because-it's-true essay collecti Darkly humorous and told with raw honesty, You're Not Doing it Right is Michael's debut memoir. In it, he takes on his childhood, his marriage, his children, and his career with unexpected candor and deadpan wit, as he shares the neuroses that have plagued him since he was a kid and how they shaped him into the man he is today. In this funny-because-it's-true essay collection, Michael says the kinds of things most people are afraid to admit, and as a husband and father living in the suburbs, asks the question so many of us ask ourselves at one point or another. How did I end up here?

30 review for You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Michael Ian Black tells the reader in his Acknowledgments: Writing about myself in an honest way proved to be one of the most difficult things I have ever done. There were many, many days when I felt like abandoning this project. I understand the “abandonment of project” impulse here. Writing your truth can be incredibly painful, and also incredibly rewarding, especially when you find an unlikely new reader like me, as a result of your inward journey and your outward expression. I have no idea who Michael Ian Black tells the reader in his Acknowledgments: Writing about myself in an honest way proved to be one of the most difficult things I have ever done. There were many, many days when I felt like abandoning this project. I understand the “abandonment of project” impulse here. Writing your truth can be incredibly painful, and also incredibly rewarding, especially when you find an unlikely new reader like me, as a result of your inward journey and your outward expression. I have no idea who Michael Ian Black has been in the entertainment world. Based on the few bits and pieces I've picked up, he's a comedian and a comedic writer and the man does like him some four letter words. For me and this review, he exists only in this book, so if he insulted your Aunt Marge at one of his stand-up shows, that's unfortunate. . . but my review is about this book. And I liked this book. A lot. I read many pages of it out loud to my husband, and then handed it to him when I was done, and asked him to read it, properly. I think a memoir by a man that explores the taboo topics of marriage and coupling and childrearing is rare and is one of those must-reads for men of a certain age. I liked it as a woman, too. It turns out, Michael Ian Black and I were born the same year. We were both one of three children born to parents from The Silent Generation, and both his parents and mine were divorced by the '80s. And silent. I could relate to so much here, especially the “lost” feeling of how you were supposed to set off on a marriage of Disney movie magnitude one day when, growing up, your own parents didn't communicate, respect one another or cherish their own coupling. No guide books, no great examples, but. . . here's your storybook wedding, now. . . dig in! I found myself laughing out loud at so many of his stories, especially those relating to the misery of being in high school in the '80s with not only bad hair but examples of bad humanity (common vernacular at this time referring to how retarded you look or how gay you were acting). Let's see. . . invisible, divorced parents, lackluster educators, bus stop beatings and then. . . Married with children with invisible, divorced parents who spent YOUR childhood trying to find themselves, and are still unavailable, and you feel like you never had guidance, never had the proper chance to grow slow, and you wonder what the hell you're doing, pretending to be an adult now. Such is life for many of us, but this isn't about one man pissing in your cornflakes. I found this as funny as I found it poignant. I laughed out loud through several of the chapters, then was hit with hard sobs when he describes how his father died, when he was only 12 in the chapter “dead dad kid.” The prevailing experience I had with this memoir was that this man was telling me his truth, and I thank him for it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Clumsy Storyteller

    Haha God this book is hilarious i loved it my favorite story is when he wanted to retire but he couldn’t affford it so he told his wife that they should move to inexpensive city ....... Where to ? copenhagen LOL “Did you work?” “Of course I worked. I got a lot done.” Which is true, if you define “getting a lot done” as doing online retirement calculations, researching world’s best cities to live, and spending three hours looking at photos of Britney Spears’s ex-husband, Kevin Federline. For some Haha God this book is hilarious i loved it my favorite story is when he wanted to retire but he couldn’t affford it so he told his wife that they should move to inexpensive city ....... Where to ? copenhagen LOL “Did you work?” “Of course I worked. I got a lot done.” Which is true, if you define “getting a lot done” as doing online retirement calculations, researching world’s best cities to live, and spending three hours looking at photos of Britney Spears’s ex-husband, Kevin Federline. For some reason, I am mildly obsessed with Kevin Federline’s weight gain, which has been substantial over the past few years. A former backup dancer, he now looks like he ate a backup dancer.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jillyn

    This review contains some language that might be offensive. Don't like it? Don't read it. --- Michael Ian Black is a comedian who is best known for his work on various MTV shows. This is his memoir, reflecting on such things as sex, marriage, childbearing, and life in New York. --- Michael Ian Black is also a douchebag. And I love him for it. Despite him being a fairly successful forty year old Jewish man, and I being a college aged jobless Pagan female, I found tremendous similarities in viewpoints This review contains some language that might be offensive. Don't like it? Don't read it. --- Michael Ian Black is a comedian who is best known for his work on various MTV shows. This is his memoir, reflecting on such things as sex, marriage, childbearing, and life in New York. --- Michael Ian Black is also a douchebag. And I love him for it. Despite him being a fairly successful forty year old Jewish man, and I being a college aged jobless Pagan female, I found tremendous similarities in viewpoints as well as sense of humor. For instance, some people might be offended by his awful viewpoints on children and infants. I, however, hate kids and found this to be hilarious. I admittedly didn't know much about him other than he's the guy who talks about Razzles and My Buddy on I Love the 80's. That being said, he's always been my favorite commentator, and that is my reason for wanting to read this book. Being a comedian, this book is largely humorous, but contains very serious issues. I think there is a good balance of both. It was easy to read, well paced, and made me laugh out loud more than once. --- I'm not sure who to recommend it for. Anyone who can appreciate a douchebag sense of humor, and definitely fans of Michael Ian Black, should check it out. This book does contain adult language (my personal favorite is the word "cunty"- the act of being a cunt). So if you're easily offended by words like that, or sexual topics, than this book is not for you.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    31/2 stars. Usually, novels written by comedians are not my thing, but I really wanted to read something lightweight and funny after the past week. Black was on the MTV sketch comedy series, the State, and has several other TV and movie gigs on his resume, including the TV show “Ed”. The book is autobiographical and primarily focuses on marriage and parenthood. The structure is loose, anecdotal, and linear only in the roughest sense of the word in the first half of the book. One chapter might dea 31/2 stars. Usually, novels written by comedians are not my thing, but I really wanted to read something lightweight and funny after the past week. Black was on the MTV sketch comedy series, the State, and has several other TV and movie gigs on his resume, including the TV show “Ed”. The book is autobiographical and primarily focuses on marriage and parenthood. The structure is loose, anecdotal, and linear only in the roughest sense of the word in the first half of the book. One chapter might deal with how he met and started dating Martha, the woman he eventually married, and the next might describe a particular Christmas when he was 5 years old. The tone alternates throughout the book, at times, he’s self-deprecating and, at other times, he’s somewhat of a smartass: “I am not there claiming any musical superiority, but Creed really does suck. Bad music, pretentious lyrics, and a messianic front man. Also they are from Florida. No good rock music has ever come from Florida. Undoubtedly, there will be legions of offended Floridian readers who will think to themselves, What are you talking about? Such and such band is from Florida and they’re freaking awesome! No. Whatever band you are thinking of, if they are from Florida, they suck. Not as much as Creed, but they still suck” OK, Creed really DOES suck, but still…… The biggest question about this type of book is whether it’s funny or not. This one definitely is, though most of the time it elicits a smile or an amused chuckle instead of an outright laugh. The things he touches on are universal: dating, marriage, parenthood, etc., so most readers can find things in it that they can relate with: “Later in life, when I have children of my own, I will come to hate Santa and everything he represents: forced jolliness, fuzzy logic, the exploitations of elves, children sitting on the laps of strange men. I will struggle with whether or not to preserve the Big Santa Lie and will feel enormous societal pressure to do so. A braver man would just tell his kids the truth. “I bought this shit for you with my money and I expect you to be grateful. See? Here are the goddamned receipts. Santa my ass” But I am not a brave man. So, as generations of parents have done before me, when Christmastime comes, I will look into my children’s wide, trusting eyes and I will lie. I will feed them a line about a magic fat man and his mutant deer. And they will believe me because they are stupid” There are parts of the book that are poignant and Black touches on some serious issues from time to time, his father's death for example or the marital problems that Black and wife started experiencing. His mother came out as a lesbian after her divorce and Black does touch upon growing up in a same sex household to some degree. He also isn’t afraid to be completely honest and admit when he’s acted like an asshole during his life: “So I end things with Mrs. Levine, and because I am afraid of conflict, I do it in the worst possible way. One day, without warning or explanation, I just stop taking her calls. After a couple of weeks, I hear through the same friend who set us up that Mrs. Levine is deeply hurt. She feels used. She hates me. I don’t blame her. My behavior is inexcusable, cowardly, assholish” So if you’re looking for some light weight reading, something that will elicit a smile and an occasional laugh, then I definitely recommend reading the book

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    Spot on! Hilarious preparatory course for marriage and parenthood. Michael had the self-deprecation and balls to reveal his true feelings and admit half the stuff most people would never admit. So thanks for that, I appreciate your boldness to allow me to seem 'normal' for once. Spot on! Hilarious preparatory course for marriage and parenthood. Michael had the self-deprecation and balls to reveal his true feelings and admit half the stuff most people would never admit. So thanks for that, I appreciate your boldness to allow me to seem 'normal' for once.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sahar

    Should be called "I Sort of Hate My Wife and I Almost Feel Bad About It." Should be called "I Sort of Hate My Wife and I Almost Feel Bad About It."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessi

    I could watch Michael Ian Black on TV all day. As a matter of fact, I used to do just that. I taped all those dumb VH1 "I Love the..." series, mainly because of him. I like listening to him talk, and I love following him on twitter. For some reason, though, I just couldn't get into this book. To me, it felt sad and awkward. I get self-deprecating humor- believe me, I do. And I really like it. But I didn't get that from this book. I was so excited to receive it, and started reading it as soon as I could watch Michael Ian Black on TV all day. As a matter of fact, I used to do just that. I taped all those dumb VH1 "I Love the..." series, mainly because of him. I like listening to him talk, and I love following him on twitter. For some reason, though, I just couldn't get into this book. To me, it felt sad and awkward. I get self-deprecating humor- believe me, I do. And I really like it. But I didn't get that from this book. I was so excited to receive it, and started reading it as soon as I got home from work. I stayed up late, reading by booklight, because of my dedication to the figure that is Michael Ian Black. And the whole time I was reading it, I kept waiting for my mouth to break into a smile. Instead, it felt like I was reading a story by an awkward friend. And not even adorably awkward, like some actors/comedians/writers. Just...awkward. It made me feel a little uncomfortable. And that, in turn, made me sad. I'm not saying the book was bad, just that it wasn't what I was expecting. I guess I'll keep relying on twitter for my fix of this very funny guy (and hope that someday soon I'll see him on tv again.)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    Comedian Michael Ian Black's first memoir is hilarious and surprisingly poignant.  I love his brand of humor and from his writing he strikes me as the kind of friend you'd describe as, "Great guy, kind of a dick, but great." We all have that friend we love to death but think they can be kind of dick but really they're just honest.  And honesty is exactly what Black brings to the table in his collection of essays. Black covers his childhood with a brother and special needs sister, his parents divor Comedian Michael Ian Black's first memoir is hilarious and surprisingly poignant.  I love his brand of humor and from his writing he strikes me as the kind of friend you'd describe as, "Great guy, kind of a dick, but great." We all have that friend we love to death but think they can be kind of dick but really they're just honest.  And honesty is exactly what Black brings to the table in his collection of essays. Black covers his childhood with a brother and special needs sister, his parents divorce, his mother realizing she's a lesbian, and the sudden and unexpected death of his dad who he didn't have a great relationship with.  He shares it all with humor but surprised me with some really candid and honest thoughts. Then, there's his wife Martha.  He shares how their relationship began, their decision to move in together (she basically bullied her way in), their marriage (her idea), and eventually the birth of their two children (again, all her idea).   I related to the chapters on marriage and parenthood so much.  Black wasn't afraid to share the raw truths that no one ever wants to talk about and share in such a way that I laughed several times in the school line to pick up my daughter. "Occasionally, I see an article in the newspaper about parents who abuse their children. Before I had a child, I used to think, How could this happen? Now, I find myself wondering why it doesn't happen more often. Why aren't parents throwing their kids into Dumpsters every day? And why, God, why do people have more than one? Because after you've done this once, there can be no possible excuse for doing it again. The thought occurs to me that if parenthood is this hard for everybody, infanticide would be as common as public urination. The human species would have died out long ago. Therefore, our experience cannot be common. Clearly there is something wrong with him. Maybe our kid is a lemon." I could've written that paragraph myself.  I felt the exact same way after my daughter was born.  (But I was smarter, I really couldn't find an excuse to have a second child.) He discusses honestly the strain parenting put on his marriage and that he and Martha attended counseling to get through some of the toughest parts.  He admits to being a dick and saying hurtful things. Then there were the surprisingly profound and brutally honest thoughts he shared.   After his son called him the best dad ever: "Doesn't he know how much I resented him when he was a baby, crying in the night? Or, now that he's older, doesn't he notice when I'm so immersed on the computer that I don't listen to the stories he tells me about his day? Doesn't he know that I am sometimes glad to be far away from him and his sister and his mother, all by myself, in a hotel room where nobody needs me for anything?" His thoughts on parenting: "There is no word for feeling nostalgic about the future, but that's what a parent's tears often are, a nostalgia for something that has not yet occurred. They have the pain of hope, the helplessness of hope, and finally, the surrender to hope. That's what parenthood is, ultimately, the hope of casting a message in a glass bottle into the sea with no sense of where it will end up. We have no control, none of us." (I should mention that quote is taken from a chapter where he talks in great detail about how much he hates the band Creed but the song "With Arms Wide Open" changed his life.) And the final chapter, which turned into somewhat of a love letter to Martha: "Time moves in peculiar ways. Fast and slow at the same time. When I look at you, I don't see whatever imperfections you see. Our faces are just geography. They tell us the story of who we are and who we used to be.  I see you as I've always known you: I see you at twenty-five and thirty and forty-two ... I love the story your face tells me because I love you. That is the real gift of marriage, I think. When people about about 'growing old together,' what they are really talking about is the desire to see somebody all the way through, to connect your life with somebody in such a deep way that the word old loses whatever scary power it might have had on us alone." This was a great memoir with a perfect mix of humor and honesty that pretty much everyone can relate to in some way. I recommend this to readers who enjoy autobiography/memoir, humor, and contemporary essays. For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Black’s well-known to my generation as one of the players from MTV’s much-beloved sketch show The State and has gone on to a career in Hollywood, often appearing on television and in commercials. He’s carved out a distinct niche for himself as a snarky know-it-all and I’ve enjoyed much of his work post-State… but I wasn’t chomping at the bit to read his book. I decided to give it a shot and I am ridiculously glad I did. You’re Not Doing It Right is quite simply, the most accurate book I’ve ever r Black’s well-known to my generation as one of the players from MTV’s much-beloved sketch show The State and has gone on to a career in Hollywood, often appearing on television and in commercials. He’s carved out a distinct niche for himself as a snarky know-it-all and I’ve enjoyed much of his work post-State… but I wasn’t chomping at the bit to read his book. I decided to give it a shot and I am ridiculously glad I did. You’re Not Doing It Right is quite simply, the most accurate book I’ve ever read about what it’s like to be a husband and father in the 21st century. There’s depth to this book I did not anticipate. Black’s observations are shrewd and often biting… but they’re never inaccurate. The bald-faced way Black lays out his feelings is sometimes shocking; at various points he details the times where he has flat-out hated both his wife and children in a manner which defies the traditional “happy home and family” image most of us carry. If that was all the book was about, You’re Not Doing It Right would be funny but morally bankrupt. I could easily see another comedian taking the short way around and simply presenting that concept, but Black doesn’t do that. What most impressed me about the book were not the laughs (and there are many) but the heart and sentimentality. Black starts from a comedic situation (I hate my wife and kids) and works backwards and forwards to reveal the truth behind being a mate and a parent today. You will occasionally have moments where you despise your kids… but you despise yourself more for being a person who would feel that way, and that motivates you to be better then you thought you ever could be. I can’t say I’ve ever called my wife a c*** (the word Black uses I can’t even bring myself to type) but I’ve experienced many of the same emotions and frustrations detailed here. That marriage is HARD is not a new concept. What is slightly new in our society is that it’s so easy for many to just quit trying. Simply having that option is part of Black’s default view of matrimony; what becomes admirable is the way he combats that view and displays through those sour feelings the love he feels. It’s a wonderful book which comes with about as high a recommendation as I can give.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Conor Ahern

    This was a huge surprise, but I really loved this book. Like most of the comedy books I consume, this was an audiobook. I had recently made my way through a few mediocre audiobooks by Demetri Martin and David Cross, and I just downloaded this one because Black's name was recognizable and I hadn't really researched anything else. I certainly wasn't a huge Michael Ian Black fan before selecting it. As I've said elsewhere, I think writing a comedy book is an almost intrinsically doomed enterprise. I This was a huge surprise, but I really loved this book. Like most of the comedy books I consume, this was an audiobook. I had recently made my way through a few mediocre audiobooks by Demetri Martin and David Cross, and I just downloaded this one because Black's name was recognizable and I hadn't really researched anything else. I certainly wasn't a huge Michael Ian Black fan before selecting it. As I've said elsewhere, I think writing a comedy book is an almost intrinsically doomed enterprise. In my mind, the author's best bet is to try to tell a story or impart some wisdom filigreed with (rather than dominated by) humor. This is what I loved about Bossypants, and this is what I love about the TV of comics like Louis C.K. If that be a genre of book, this book is its standard bearer. MIB tells brutally honest and surprisingly heartfelt tales of love and loss, growth and stagnation, all interlaced with refreshing, clever, appropriately apportioned humor. He can be dark as his name at times, and some of the ways in which he described his marriage and/or his coping mechanisms for his life left me thinking that they would be followed up with "we ended up divorced" or "things are much better now" or "so, obviously I went to rehab." But none of these neat little qualifiers ever appeared, because that's not what life is like. But I still finished this book a bit choked up, confident in the hard-won strength of his relationships and the often grudging devotion he has to making them work. Like Louis C.K. and others of his ilk, Black is a bit more acerbic and honest than we non-comedians might be when describing the most intimate details of his life and relationships, but there can be no doubting the sincerity of his love for his family, and the struggles and doubt he describes underscore rather than undermine this conclusion. This was elegant storytelling and surprisingly poignant. I would recommend it without reservation.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Neil Shurley

    I remember enjoying Michael Ian Black's work on the nearly forgotten TV show Ed. And I thought he was one of the funnier parts of the I Love the 70s/80s VH1 shows. Last year I discovered his podcast, Mike and Tom Eat Snacks, which he records with his Ed co-star, Tom Cavanagh. I've also listened to a couple of his comedy albums. Now I've read his book. And I really liked it. I actually found myself laughing. Out loud. Not something I often do while reading a book. And I also found it to be shockin I remember enjoying Michael Ian Black's work on the nearly forgotten TV show Ed. And I thought he was one of the funnier parts of the I Love the 70s/80s VH1 shows. Last year I discovered his podcast, Mike and Tom Eat Snacks, which he records with his Ed co-star, Tom Cavanagh. I've also listened to a couple of his comedy albums. Now I've read his book. And I really liked it. I actually found myself laughing. Out loud. Not something I often do while reading a book. And I also found it to be shockingly - and painfully - honest. Black describes awkward moments from his childhood, his relationship with his wife, his colicky children, and his experiences with death. It's filled with amusing observations and also some surprising wisdom. "Choose hope not pain." Just thumbing through it again, I spot passages that I loved. Passages that make me want to start rereading the whole chapter. And book. I'm now chuckling thinking about his description of viewing himself as the Han Solo in the epic story of his life. His anger at Santa and Alan Alda. His helpful table of medical ailments. This is a hard book to pin down. It's mostly a memoir, but it's also a sort of series of essays. It's comedy but it's also deeply personal and painful. It will make you laugh but might also get you choked up. I have to say it: he did it right.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gaelen

    Michael Ian Black has his talents as an actor/comedian, but he should stop trying to be a writer. Even setting aside the fact that this book reveals him to be FAR more of a douchebag than I originally realized, his writing style is very similar to unfunny dad-comic Dave Barry. It's irritating, and not particularly funny. Further, he has a self-conscious habit of fake self-deprecation, when he pokes fun at himself for things that are only borderline embarrassing (in order to prove himself less of Michael Ian Black has his talents as an actor/comedian, but he should stop trying to be a writer. Even setting aside the fact that this book reveals him to be FAR more of a douchebag than I originally realized, his writing style is very similar to unfunny dad-comic Dave Barry. It's irritating, and not particularly funny. Further, he has a self-conscious habit of fake self-deprecation, when he pokes fun at himself for things that are only borderline embarrassing (in order to prove himself less of a douchebag?) while reserving almost no self-awareness for his truly awful qualities and/or behavior (such as hitting on his future wife while she was living with her boyfriend, then secretly carrying on an affair with her for some time before she broke up with the then-BF). Finally, he seems to believe he's the only one "bold" enough to talk about how marriage is incredibly trying at times, and raising small children is awful. News flash: That's not new material, and he certainly doesn't retell it in a way that's fresh or entertaining. TL;DR: Skip it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Cecil

    I love this book, in part because it made me feel a little bit better about how much worse I'm doing "it." Michael Ian Black represents my Platonic ideal of myself. Had I been born with greater ambition, actual talent, a sharper sense of humor and better looks, I can see myself reaching the apex of my potential as a mildly depressed C-list celebrity like Black. His book isn't the type of complex classic with flowery prose and a propulsive narrative I usually reserve the 5 star rating for. Black' I love this book, in part because it made me feel a little bit better about how much worse I'm doing "it." Michael Ian Black represents my Platonic ideal of myself. Had I been born with greater ambition, actual talent, a sharper sense of humor and better looks, I can see myself reaching the apex of my potential as a mildly depressed C-list celebrity like Black. His book isn't the type of complex classic with flowery prose and a propulsive narrative I usually reserve the 5 star rating for. Black's insights aren't necessarily deep; they are something I currently find more fulfilling: honest about their mundanity. I became too embarrassed to read this in public because every page had some passage which made me howl with laughter, or weep with empathy. I love this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Curtis Edmonds

    Michael Ian Black's YOU'RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT is sort-of an autobiography that focuses on domestic life. Black seems to have learned from the example of President Van Buren, who never mentioned his wife's name in his autobiography. We learn next to nothing about Black's career, but we do learn a whole awful lot about his attitudes towards his wife ("crazy" is a printable word I can use) his kids (Black brutally describes his lack of affection for his children as colicky babies) and his dog (a he Michael Ian Black's YOU'RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT is sort-of an autobiography that focuses on domestic life. Black seems to have learned from the example of President Van Buren, who never mentioned his wife's name in his autobiography. We learn next to nothing about Black's career, but we do learn a whole awful lot about his attitudes towards his wife ("crazy" is a printable word I can use) his kids (Black brutally describes his lack of affection for his children as colicky babies) and his dog (a heart-rending account of his Labrador's losing battle with cancer). I really hope Black is being honest with us. It is entirely possible that he is not, and that the essays in YOU'RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT are comic exaggerations of real life and real circumstances. I doubt this, for the simple reason that a lot of what he talks about simply isn't funny. When you have a two-hour, knock-down drag-out fight with your wife over the settings on the clock radio, and it escalates to the point where threats of divorce are hurled, and children tearfully ask you to stop fighting, well, there's nothing funny about that. If you are going to write about such a thing, and present it in a way that is unflattering, it needs to be done in either the most honest way possible or the funniest way possible. Black seems to have chosen the path of honesty, and if he has done so then it is to his credit. This is not to say that YOU'RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT isn't funny, because it is. Black gets a lot of mileage out of poking fun at himself, and like most men in most domestic environments, there is a lot of material close at hand. But his dry, droll wit is more than counterbalanced by what seems to be his honesty, his introspection, and his willingness to lay his soul bare, even when it makes him seem selfish and petty. Actually, it's worse than that. Black comes off as a bit of a monster here, enough so that he is almost certainly exaggerating a bit about the awfulness of his life, the wretchedness of his marriage, and the existential horror he feels about coveting and driving his new BMW. But I hope he's not. This is partly because I don't think anyone (especially anyone who drives a new BMW) has a life so awful and wretched, and partly because it would be sort of ooky for someone to make money writing a book that basically slags their wife and kids to this extreme. But it's mostly because, from time to time, I recognize myself in YOU'RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT. I hear my voice, and it's the voice I use when I am being honest with myself. And when I do, it's not funny. Not at all, not one little tiny bit.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gina Boyd

    I have always thought Michael Ian Black was very funny, but I had no idea what a good writer he is. This memoir is one of the funniest things I've read in years--I'd compare it to David Sedaris-level funny--but it's also incredibly sad and honest in a way that few memoirs that I've read tend to be. And when I say "honest," I don't mean salacious or scandalous, or full of gory details; I mean that Black is willing to talk about things few people are willing to confess. He talks about loathing a C I have always thought Michael Ian Black was very funny, but I had no idea what a good writer he is. This memoir is one of the funniest things I've read in years--I'd compare it to David Sedaris-level funny--but it's also incredibly sad and honest in a way that few memoirs that I've read tend to be. And when I say "honest," I don't mean salacious or scandalous, or full of gory details; I mean that Black is willing to talk about things few people are willing to confess. He talks about loathing a Christmas gift his mother foisted on him in hopes of turning him into an Alan Alda-style New 70s Man, and resenting the gift but not wanting to hurt her. He talks about his children, and how caring for them--especially as babies--was more like punishment than anything else. He even mentions that playing with little kids is boring, which is something I've often said to people who are thinking of having kids. He talks about how marriage sucks sometimes, and how hypocrisy is FINE as long as HE'S the one being the hypocrite. Black spends the book trying to work out who he is, and WHY he is that person, and even though he's careful and thoughtful with his memories and feelings, he is damn funny, too.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    I am nearly through this book and feel I've read enough to sufficiently review it. I will likely be done reading it this evening. I like this book - I don't love it. He doesn't say anything I haven't thought myself. I have laughed-out-loud approximately once per chapter. Actually, one or two chapters are quite heavy in their content and kinda took the piss out of the read on a night or two. Having kids sucks and being married - most often - sucks. I know that and, aside from humourous discussion I am nearly through this book and feel I've read enough to sufficiently review it. I will likely be done reading it this evening. I like this book - I don't love it. He doesn't say anything I haven't thought myself. I have laughed-out-loud approximately once per chapter. Actually, one or two chapters are quite heavy in their content and kinda took the piss out of the read on a night or two. Having kids sucks and being married - most often - sucks. I know that and, aside from humourous discussions of this type of content, I don't want heaviness thrown into my 'comedy' reads. It is a "memoir", technically, so it'll have to pass :) I'm projecting a bit, however, and should articulate that I am deathly afraid of having children already and his chapter on newborns DID NOT HELP. I began thinking, "We need to double our birth control efforts!" Also, marriages - many marriages - strike me as similar to Michael's dynamic with his wife - which is not ideal and ... sucks. Another terrifying prospective - *shudder*. I'm at a part in the book where his marriage is beginning to get better and his colicky children are grown - so, I'm laughing again - but am still slightly traumatized!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Randi

    Michael Ian Black can be a jackass, but in the end, the sweetness & sincerity of his love for his family and his life mitigate the vast majority of his more selfish statements. His statements about the difficulty of marriage and child-rearing were sometimes cruel (especially to his poor wife), his regret later about his actions rang true as well. The chapter in which he described the pain of losing their first dog had me teary and made me feel immense sympathy for this sweet, arrogant comic.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Greg Hendrickson

    Michael Ian Black is incredibly funny. This book had humor, but dealt with a lot of dark topics. The material was solid. It isn't often that someone paints a picture of the negative side of marriage, kids, etc. He explains how his insecurities color his world. Michael lets the reader take a deep look at his personal life, warts and all, as they say. He's a great story teller, but be prepared for a lot of heavy subjects. Michael Ian Black is incredibly funny. This book had humor, but dealt with a lot of dark topics. The material was solid. It isn't often that someone paints a picture of the negative side of marriage, kids, etc. He explains how his insecurities color his world. Michael lets the reader take a deep look at his personal life, warts and all, as they say. He's a great story teller, but be prepared for a lot of heavy subjects.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Surprisingly touching and well-written. This isn't just another breezy, snarky book by a comedian. Michael Ian Black writes frankly about his life, his marriage, his children, and his own (sometimes poor) behavior. He is a jerk, he is a a softy, he is a human being. He is doing the best he can. Kind of admirable, really. A truly good read. Surprisingly touching and well-written. This isn't just another breezy, snarky book by a comedian. Michael Ian Black writes frankly about his life, his marriage, his children, and his own (sometimes poor) behavior. He is a jerk, he is a a softy, he is a human being. He is doing the best he can. Kind of admirable, really. A truly good read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dave Hill

    Michael is so funny I want to kick him in the nuts. This is his warning.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ursula

    If you're at all familiar with Michael Ian Black's comedy, you know that he will say just about any awful thing you can imagine as if he means it with all his heart. This book isn't written by *that* Michael Ian Black. I mean, okay, he does in fact still say some horrible things as if he means them with all his heart, but there are also glimpses at the humanity lurking behind the statements, and the shared experiences that lead many of us to think the things he says out loud. (If you're not at a If you're at all familiar with Michael Ian Black's comedy, you know that he will say just about any awful thing you can imagine as if he means it with all his heart. This book isn't written by *that* Michael Ian Black. I mean, okay, he does in fact still say some horrible things as if he means them with all his heart, but there are also glimpses at the humanity lurking behind the statements, and the shared experiences that lead many of us to think the things he says out loud. (If you're not at all familiar with his comedy, and you would be offended by someone's account of dealing with their colicky newborn which includes the sentence, "I hate my stupid baby," you should stay far away from this book.) The memoir travels roughly chronologically, from being raised by a mother who was in a lesbian relationship after her divorce (which he didn't realize for a while, since all adult relationships seemed weird and confusing as a child anyway), to his father's death, to his relationship with his wife-to-be, to having his own children. Occasionally he doubles back around to talk about his first experiences with girls or high school trauma at the hands of a bully. The book isn't funny; or I should say, it isn't always funny. There's the expected deadpan humor, but a lot of it isn't really played for laughs. He tells stories in which he clearly comes out the bad guy, often in the context of his marriage. (Digression: I once saw Michael Ian Black in New York City, as we were crossing a street in opposite directions. I didn't say anything to him for two reasons: one, stopping in the middle of a busy NYC intersection is essentially impossible, and even if you could manage it, you'd be taking your life into your hands; and two, he was in conversation with a tall, blonde woman. I realize now it's quite possible the woman was his wife, which makes me glad that the circumstances weren't such that I could talk to him. It would have been very awkward to declare my undying love for him and suggest that we run away together in front of his wife.) In looking up some information on the book before I was finished, I accidentally read a review (I try not to do this ordinarily) and the comments on it (an even worse idea). Several people took issue with an incident Black describes in the book in which he is arguing with his wife, and in their yelling match she brings up divorce (as he says she often does). He goes on to describe the fact that their daughter is crying in the next room, asking them to stop fighting, and that neither of them goes to comfort her because they're too busy being mad at each other. According to the comments I read, this makes both of them terrible parents. While I obviously don't think that incident should be held up as any great example of parenting techniques, who on earth hasn't gotten into an argument in front of their kids? Said some things that they regretted? Been too angry to calmly explain the situation to the child? Even parents who do explain are likely to sometimes do it in an accusatory manner that casts negativity on the other parent. And parents who don't argue at all often end up with kids who later in life think the world is ending if there's discord in their own relationships, or who just keep it all inside for fear of bringing about a conflict. The point is, you can't realistically win. Unless, of course, you're perfect - in which case, you should obviously be raising everyone's children. So, in summary: Michael Ian Black sometimes hates his wife and kids, but he also loves them and is fearful he's not doing a good job in his roles as spouse and parent. In other words, he's just like everyone else (but without a filter). If you're the audience for this book, you probably already know that, so what are you waiting for? And consider getting the audio version, because you're gonna hear his voice in your head if you read it to yourself anyway, so why not *actually* hear his voice in your head?!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Orsolya

    Some may remember Michael Ian Black from the MTV sketch comedy program, “The State”. Others may have seen his commentaries on the “I Love the…” decade series on VH1. The rest of the population may not know him at all. Whatever your familiarity (or lack thereof); “You’re Not Doing it Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations” reveals the hilarious (and somewhat dark) mind of comedian Michael Ian Black. “You’re Not Doing it Right” uniquely combines traditional elements of a celeb Some may remember Michael Ian Black from the MTV sketch comedy program, “The State”. Others may have seen his commentaries on the “I Love the…” decade series on VH1. The rest of the population may not know him at all. Whatever your familiarity (or lack thereof); “You’re Not Doing it Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations” reveals the hilarious (and somewhat dark) mind of comedian Michael Ian Black. “You’re Not Doing it Right” uniquely combines traditional elements of a celebrity memoir with an inspirational, philosophizing book. Instead of merely reciting biographical facts and chronological events; Black instead combines reflective passages with analysis. The reader is welcomed into Black’s world and learns about his personal life but more importantly: will take a stroll within his psyche. The strong characteristic of “You’re Not Doing it Right” is Black’s ability to be raw, dark, and even offensive; and yet clearly demonstrate that he is a deep, caring, and genuine individual. Intertwining his life events with explanations of how they have affected his current life and personality as a whole; Black also provides multi-layered inspiration for the reader. This creates a moving and very original “memoir” which is standout and memorable. It can be argued that this method of storytelling creates some choppiness, as Black does jump back and forth in his sequencing causing some dissonance. Surprisingly, the text and language styles are both very well written with a smooth and constant pace. Black’s ease of familiarity with the reader transcends through intelligent and beautiful prose. Yet, “You’re Not Doing it Right” is also absolutely hilarious (I’m talking so laugh-out-loud funny that I actually snorted once and even drooled with laughter); and will, without fail, bring a smile to the reader’s face. His voice is strong and lucid, especially for fans of his work. One can basically hear his voice while reading. Although “You’re Not Doing it Right” is a comedic work of art, Black also provides deep reflection and thought-provoking conversation (such as the reasoning why marriages fail and the evolutionary importance of depression). For those who simply view Black (or any comedian) as only a “funny guy”; “You’re Not Doing it Right” will break those stereotypes and show Black’s various thought processes. “You’re Not Doing it Right” can be offensive in nature and even cause some shock. However, these passages become acceptable due to authentic desire to express his inner thoughts. Black’s ideas aren’t far-fetched; he merely isn’t afraid to say out loud what the rest of us lock away in our minds. This makes Black approachable and friendly in the sense that he is “real” and to the point. The pace of “You’re Not Doing it Right” slows towards the conclusion of the book but still provides strong emotion (I even cried once!). Black successfully knows at which points to be either serious or humorous which can be linked to his career (the ability to know timing). The last few paragraphs round up the book with a surprise ending which is heartwarming and unforgettable. Although “You’re Not Doing it Right” is more of a stream of consciousness piece versus that of an autobiographical timeline; the reader will come to know Black’s personality, thoughts, and lifestyle choices. The text truly opens the window to his soul much better than several other, more traditional memoirs I have read. “You’re Not Doing it Right” is highly recommended for fans of Michael Ian Black or those readers simply desiring a good laugh and smile on their face.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rosa

    I loved this book. I kept seeing this described as "honest" and "painfully candid" before reading it (the word "honest" occurs over & over again in the blurbs on the back cover), so when Michael Ian Black (hereafter "MIB" for brevity's sake - apologies for any Expensively Crafted Aliens+Will Smith connotations) makes numerous references to how much his children annoy him, or how he sometimes enjoys being in a hotel room by himself & far away from his family, or even how he didn't fall in love wi I loved this book. I kept seeing this described as "honest" and "painfully candid" before reading it (the word "honest" occurs over & over again in the blurbs on the back cover), so when Michael Ian Black (hereafter "MIB" for brevity's sake - apologies for any Expensively Crafted Aliens+Will Smith connotations) makes numerous references to how much his children annoy him, or how he sometimes enjoys being in a hotel room by himself & far away from his family, or even how he didn't fall in love with either of his children on the spot or even for a while, I wasn't that surprised or impressed, given his longstanding schtick in which he's sort of an android prick. I have hung in there for so long (not so much from the sketch comedy or any of the tv shows, but for his contributions to the Vh1 stuff & also his first book; I also used to visit his blog on a daily basis before realizing that it made me late for everything) because MIB is genuinely witty & hysterical; also, I've thought for a long time now that underneath all the layers of sarcasm, a truly observant & feeling sensibility was peeking through. But I didn't think we'd ever really get to see the full frontal. Up to now, it's mostly been discreetly tucked away, and while that's fine for the Vh1 type things, in terms of being a writer, it's quite the Achilles heel to be so on guard - for this reason, I thought My Custom Van started feeling kind of monotonous after a while. But this book - the guy genuinely puts his ass on the line. Michael Ian Black, as one of the backcover blurbs states, has feelings! And as with his numerous observations on everything else under the sun (rent controlled apartments in NYC, hamster daily habits, high school caste systems), he does a damned fine job of articulating what's really going on inside. He seems to get that if your whole thing is being consistently an a-hole, you eventually have to put your genuine self out there to remain impactful in any meaningful way (I'm looking at you, Ricky Gervais - is the joke ever really on you anymore?) The conclusion of this book is quite moving - I choked up, as if I were MIB in the hands of a particularly well-wrought Scott Stapp lyric. There are not nearly enough books out there like this, in which notions of love and family are deeply explored without making the reader want to gag on the cloying cliches. It must have felt insurmountable at times to reconcile an entire book devoted to marriage and family that somehow remains true to the android prick's voice, and yet MIB somehow pulls it off. He writes in the final credits that he almost abandoned this project numerous times - I'm truly glad you didn't, and I can't wait to see what other stories you might have in you. And should you see this, just one question: is the fact that FKF is no longer fat, is that throwing you into a complete tailspin?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    I had mixed feelings about this book. I had read a review of it somewhere, and it sounded really cool - this idea of a husband and father finding meaning in the day to day grind. That's a good, sound philosophy that I wanted this book to explore. But he's not exactly an every guy - he wrote a show for MTV. And then, some of the anecdotes/stories felt empty. His childhood story about f*** Alan Alda just didn't do anything for me. Just because his mom idealized Alda's persona didn't mean Michael's I had mixed feelings about this book. I had read a review of it somewhere, and it sounded really cool - this idea of a husband and father finding meaning in the day to day grind. That's a good, sound philosophy that I wanted this book to explore. But he's not exactly an every guy - he wrote a show for MTV. And then, some of the anecdotes/stories felt empty. His childhood story about f*** Alan Alda just didn't do anything for me. Just because his mom idealized Alda's persona didn't mean Michael's life sucked. I kept asking myself, sooooo? And the story about his rough times with his wife when his daughter's screaming at them to stop fighting. Huh, good times. The only insight seemed to be that he self-identified as an asshole. While that's an accurate description of what he was doing, I was asking myself, sooooo? His other stories were amusing, but not great. And then he hit it out of the ballpark about the fight he had in school with his friend, and the time leading up to the death of Mattie, his dog. Very touching and revealing and it just felt super real. And I really appreciate him looking under the rock into the darker places, and then be brave enough to tell us about it. Because I sure as hell wouldn't want to put my stuff out there like that. Those two anecdotes plus the closing made the book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I randomly found this book while searching for a new audiobook to download. I'd never heard of it, nor of the author. But it turned out to be so funny I'm going to give it another listen. The author is a comedian and actor in addition to being a writer, so not only is the material good, but the delivery is spot-on. I even liked it better than Tina Fey's Bossypants, which is much more well-known. He just tells simple stories of domestic life and recalls his single years and childhood. He's kind o I randomly found this book while searching for a new audiobook to download. I'd never heard of it, nor of the author. But it turned out to be so funny I'm going to give it another listen. The author is a comedian and actor in addition to being a writer, so not only is the material good, but the delivery is spot-on. I even liked it better than Tina Fey's Bossypants, which is much more well-known. He just tells simple stories of domestic life and recalls his single years and childhood. He's kind of a jerk, kind of a nerd, kind of a dork, but he's also very self-aware. Some of the funniest parts are his descriptions of the very first time he ever got high, the first few months of parenting his two children and the Christmas that his newly uncloseted lesbian mother decided to make a political stand with her choice of Christmas present. (Can't reveal what it was without making this a spoiler.) But it also has really tender, heartfelt moments, like the descriptions of when his dad died or how he and his wife learned how to improve their marriage after couple's counseling. Anyway, now I feel like I'm overselling this book. It's just a funny, insightful take on one guy's life, in which he is not afraid to reveal himself warts and all. I can't speak for the actual book, but the audio version rocks.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    4 1/2 stars. I really loved this book. Yes, Michael Ian Black comes off as kind of a crass jerk sometimes, but I have listened to him enough that I get that that is kind of his schtick, and it doesn't bother me so much, and really, his jerkiness can kind of be seen as raw honesty in a lot of cases. The first couple essays are not the strongest ones, but once he starts talking about marriage and parenthood, he absolutely shines. These essays are honest, hilarious, tender and true. I think one of 4 1/2 stars. I really loved this book. Yes, Michael Ian Black comes off as kind of a crass jerk sometimes, but I have listened to him enough that I get that that is kind of his schtick, and it doesn't bother me so much, and really, his jerkiness can kind of be seen as raw honesty in a lot of cases. The first couple essays are not the strongest ones, but once he starts talking about marriage and parenthood, he absolutely shines. These essays are honest, hilarious, tender and true. I think one of my favorite essays was "I Hate my Baby" in which he describes the challenges of new parenthood with a fussy infant. I also loved "Dead Dad Kid" which is the piece he read on the Father's Day episode of This American Life. I listened to that piece three or four times and it is what made me want to buy this book. I thought it was so well-written and a perfect account of what it is like to grieve as a kid. Also wonderful: "Terrified Because it's Terrifying" about anticipating the arrival of his first child and "A Little Hard Work" - a painfully honest account of his marital struggles. And the last essay in the book is so sweet in a totally non-sappy kind of way that it got me all choked up and smiley. Will definitely re-read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Heartwarming? Yes, but not in a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" way, more in a painful, ugly truth way. Still very funny, but not the absurd humor of his previous book, "My Custom Van." The jokes in these autobiographical vignettes are secondary to the lessons learned in the search for "How did I end up in this life?" Getting married, having kids, dad dying at a young age, and mom becoming a lesbian are all topics he writes about, and I wouldn't normally care for a memoir of this type, except that I Heartwarming? Yes, but not in a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" way, more in a painful, ugly truth way. Still very funny, but not the absurd humor of his previous book, "My Custom Van." The jokes in these autobiographical vignettes are secondary to the lessons learned in the search for "How did I end up in this life?" Getting married, having kids, dad dying at a young age, and mom becoming a lesbian are all topics he writes about, and I wouldn't normally care for a memoir of this type, except that I knew ahead of time that he's a pretty funny guy and I was already used to his "voice" from his TV shows, stand-up comedy, etc. MIB does not try to paint himself as some great guy with all the answers, which is crucial to the believability of what he has to say. I was surprised he could be this affecting; it would be cool if this somehow ended up as a popular book picked up by/given to young men about to enter marriage or fatherhood. The funniest parts for me were the sections involving Creed and Ambien, if we're keeping score there.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cameron

    Far from the zany, madcap type humor I somehow expected from the author, "You're Not Doing It Right" is an incredibly well-paced, well-tempered, and well-meaning book. It is humorous. It is wonderfully humorous. It is irreverant and somewhat crass. And it made me laugh out loud in a restaurant where I was reading it at a table for one, even further embarrassing myself in front of my cute Australian waitress. But, it is remarkably insightful, poignant, and touching. All the essays are introspecti Far from the zany, madcap type humor I somehow expected from the author, "You're Not Doing It Right" is an incredibly well-paced, well-tempered, and well-meaning book. It is humorous. It is wonderfully humorous. It is irreverant and somewhat crass. And it made me laugh out loud in a restaurant where I was reading it at a table for one, even further embarrassing myself in front of my cute Australian waitress. But, it is remarkably insightful, poignant, and touching. All the essays are introspective with only the occasional overstated hubris to offset the deep self-reflection. Maybe it is because I have two kids and I also share some personality simmilarities, but I found it very relateable as well. And it is not just a comedian telling some funny/serious stories, but they are some incredibly well-written, brilliant even, stories that are thoroughly enjoyable. You’ll laugh. You'll cry. You'll be asked by your cute Australian waitress if you are alright and if you wouldn't mind keeping it down a bit so as not to annoy the other guests.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Antoinette

    The part about aging that terrifies isn't so much about becoming old or out of touch. It doesn't take much poking around to tell that I'm a pretty out of date person. No, the part of aging that terrifies me is the idea of looking around and finding myself surrounded by my failures. Living a lazy life can be fun, but sometimes you miss out on all of those great perks you actually have to work for. Things like pleasant spouses, healthy families, and stability come as a result of involved effort. S The part about aging that terrifies isn't so much about becoming old or out of touch. It doesn't take much poking around to tell that I'm a pretty out of date person. No, the part of aging that terrifies me is the idea of looking around and finding myself surrounded by my failures. Living a lazy life can be fun, but sometimes you miss out on all of those great perks you actually have to work for. Things like pleasant spouses, healthy families, and stability come as a result of involved effort. Sometimes though a person who is self admittedly kind of a lazy ass, like Michael Ian Black, lucks out. It was a pleasure to read about his life and marriage. I love his standup and found his usual brutal honesty and wit very engaging. He made me laugh, and even shed a few tears there at the end. The lesson I learned; it isn't always so bad, but it is definitely humiliating. Bring on the birthdays.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I didn't really enjoy this book at all, and I couldn't relate to much of what he said. Besides the stuff about having a baby with colic which truly does suck, I didn't have the same experience that many goodreads readers did- maybe because I am not a middle aged guy? I also will never understand these relationships where people are miserable, fight constantly, and seem to just not enjoy being together. Most of the couples who I know who have been married 20/30/40 years seem to be pretty darn hap I didn't really enjoy this book at all, and I couldn't relate to much of what he said. Besides the stuff about having a baby with colic which truly does suck, I didn't have the same experience that many goodreads readers did- maybe because I am not a middle aged guy? I also will never understand these relationships where people are miserable, fight constantly, and seem to just not enjoy being together. Most of the couples who I know who have been married 20/30/40 years seem to be pretty darn happy, of course it could all be an elaborate ruse but I see my in-laws often enough to know that they do genuinely enjoy each other and that they rarely fight. It seems like Michael and his wife have a relationship which works for them which is nice. However I can't say that I really enjoyed reading about it, or their courtship. Overall I did find that the book was nicely written and I am sure that other people could get something out of reading this book which is why I gave it 2 stars.

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