web site hit counter Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement: A Year Inside the Optimization Movement - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement: A Year Inside the Optimization Movement

Availability: Ready to download

In these pages, the authors of the widely-acclaimed The Wellness Syndrome throw themselves headlong into the world of self-optimization, a burgeoning movement that seeks to transcend the limits placed on us by being merely human, whether the feebleness of our bodies or our mental incapacities. Cederström and Spicer, though willing guinea pigs in an extraordinary (and someti In these pages, the authors of the widely-acclaimed The Wellness Syndrome throw themselves headlong into the world of self-optimization, a burgeoning movement that seeks to transcend the limits placed on us by being merely human, whether the feebleness of our bodies or our mental incapacities. Cederström and Spicer, though willing guinea pigs in an extraordinary (and sometimes downright dangerous) range of techniques and technologies, had hitherto undertaken little by way of self-improvement. They had rarely seen the inside of a gym, let alone utilized apps that deliver electric shocks in pursuit of improved concentration. But, in the course of a year spent researching this book, they wore head-bands designed to optimize meditation, attempted to boost their memory through learning associative techniques (and failed to be admitted to MENSA), trained for weightlifting competitions, wrote what they (still) hope might become a bestselling Scandinavian detective story, enrolled in motivational seminars and tantra sex workshops, attended new-age retreats and man-camps, underwent plastic surgery, and experimented with vibrators and productivity drugs. André even addressed a London subway car whilst (nearly) naked in an attempt to boost attention. Somewhat surprisingly, the two young professors survived this year of rigorous research. Further, they have drawn deeply on it to produce a hilarious and eye-opening book. Written in the form of two parallel diaries, Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement provides a biting analysis of the narcissism and individual competitiveness that increasingly pervades a culture in which social solutions are receding and individual self-improvement is the only option left.


Compare

In these pages, the authors of the widely-acclaimed The Wellness Syndrome throw themselves headlong into the world of self-optimization, a burgeoning movement that seeks to transcend the limits placed on us by being merely human, whether the feebleness of our bodies or our mental incapacities. Cederström and Spicer, though willing guinea pigs in an extraordinary (and someti In these pages, the authors of the widely-acclaimed The Wellness Syndrome throw themselves headlong into the world of self-optimization, a burgeoning movement that seeks to transcend the limits placed on us by being merely human, whether the feebleness of our bodies or our mental incapacities. Cederström and Spicer, though willing guinea pigs in an extraordinary (and sometimes downright dangerous) range of techniques and technologies, had hitherto undertaken little by way of self-improvement. They had rarely seen the inside of a gym, let alone utilized apps that deliver electric shocks in pursuit of improved concentration. But, in the course of a year spent researching this book, they wore head-bands designed to optimize meditation, attempted to boost their memory through learning associative techniques (and failed to be admitted to MENSA), trained for weightlifting competitions, wrote what they (still) hope might become a bestselling Scandinavian detective story, enrolled in motivational seminars and tantra sex workshops, attended new-age retreats and man-camps, underwent plastic surgery, and experimented with vibrators and productivity drugs. André even addressed a London subway car whilst (nearly) naked in an attempt to boost attention. Somewhat surprisingly, the two young professors survived this year of rigorous research. Further, they have drawn deeply on it to produce a hilarious and eye-opening book. Written in the form of two parallel diaries, Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement provides a biting analysis of the narcissism and individual competitiveness that increasingly pervades a culture in which social solutions are receding and individual self-improvement is the only option left.

30 review for Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement: A Year Inside the Optimization Movement

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Rhodes

    This book is a funny beach read - two professors become their own research subjects by total immersion into the multi-billion dollar world of self-help, taking on a new subject each month for a year And then you get to end and it makes you think, as they do -- what was THAT about? That's when the book became personal for me -- mirroring as it does my own less intense but no less significant (to me, anyway) journey into and out of the self-help world. That made the book about 99% goofy and 1% sob This book is a funny beach read - two professors become their own research subjects by total immersion into the multi-billion dollar world of self-help, taking on a new subject each month for a year And then you get to end and it makes you think, as they do -- what was THAT about? That's when the book became personal for me -- mirroring as it does my own less intense but no less significant (to me, anyway) journey into and out of the self-help world. That made the book about 99% goofy and 1% sobering. The latter is what sticks with me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Niklas Laninge

    Jag var lite skeptisk i början då idén kändes som en b-version av Tim Ferris & c/o (något som författarna själva adresserat). Den är något ojämn men det är verkligen värt att hålla ut till slutet. Speciellt Carls delar är stundtals riktigt roliga. Man kan fråga sig om boken mått bra av att Carl körde solo men det finns något piggt i dagboksformatet med två författare.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Molly Ison

    I continually felt envy that the nature of the authors' jobs gave them plenty of time to pursue their project. Trying personal optimization schemes for shits and giggles? Right in my wheelhouse. I tried the Everyman 3 sleep schedule (quit because the extra time tended to pool into boredom rather than either productivity or enjoyment.) Just last year, I tried Soylent with two coworkers. I've done Crossfit and hot yoga. I'm writing a novella because... it's hard to explain but also involves a cowo I continually felt envy that the nature of the authors' jobs gave them plenty of time to pursue their project. Trying personal optimization schemes for shits and giggles? Right in my wheelhouse. I tried the Everyman 3 sleep schedule (quit because the extra time tended to pool into boredom rather than either productivity or enjoyment.) Just last year, I tried Soylent with two coworkers. I've done Crossfit and hot yoga. I'm writing a novella because... it's hard to explain but also involves a coworker (I am seeing a trend that my work environment facilitates odd behaviors, hi Ryan). I tend toward skepticism and cynicism. I'm a materialist. I don't feel a pressing need for more productivity or being a better person. I did those things because I wanted to see what would happen. But I'm also a list maker, goal setter, project finisher and completionist. I do sincerely want to finish an ultramarathon or learn French in a month. I like accomplishing things. I gave the book five stars because I identify with Carl so strongly. Two review-worthy (albeit I'm about to ramble) bits stuck out to me. While optimizing morality, Carl realizes that flowers he brings to a dying friend are what a kindness app would suggest. And he feels shitty. And when I read that, I felt shitty too. And it occurred to me that for the demographic most likely to engage in self-help, of which I am one, it can feel genuinely hard to have kindness and goodness on a personal level. Carl looks at effective altruism early in the chapter - for many people, giving money to effective charities with full time employees is the best way to do the most good. Carl reflects that goodness is not defined by how good you feel about yourself afterward. But it's hard to shake the transactional, impersonal feeling. On a personal level, my family, friends and coworkers aren't very needy. It's easy to feel good when you are good to those who are in need. It's hard to feel good when you're decent to those who weren't really in need of anything from you anyway. Morality seems more like funny philosophical impressions that Andre tries. In the last chapter, the authors ponder multiple ideas why they started this project and why people try to self-improve in these ways. (I hope that I am not having a male midlife crisis). The ideas that struck a note with me were about control, about community and a status in the community, about justifying your existence, and losing hope of improving the world politically. Nothing would please me more than to have someone else embark on such a project with me, and to have an audience to share the stories with. I'm interested in the last idea about political engagement, but it strikes me that self-improvement is the one safe place for experimentation. Political engagement is a terrible place for seeing what will happen for shits and giggles, and I think there must be more than a handful of people out there right now who are living this. I also notice that both authors have small children and did not involve their children in their optimization schemes. I had previously quit reading a book called "Becoming Brilliant". It might be a fine book. But the idea of optimizing a baby wasn't sitting well with me, and when I finished this book and saw that one in my Kindle library, it made me feel a little sick. (Although I have embarked my own toddler on her own 50 state list. She's been to 5.) If you think improvement schemes are interesting and amusing, you yourself are the only person it's good to try them on.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maja Svärd

    Trots ett lite halvtrist slut var det rolig läsning rakt igenom. Älskar att diskutera självhjälpskulturen.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lolita

    “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC) Greek Philosopher

  6. 5 out of 5

    dianne

    It was okay. Just couldn't read all of it. It was like reading someone else's diary who was trying new stuff for a minute. Oh yeah, that's what it was. It was okay. Just couldn't read all of it. It was like reading someone else's diary who was trying new stuff for a minute. Oh yeah, that's what it was.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    Could you have built a good book on this concept? Absolutely. Is this it? Not even close.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Peter Geyer

    Quite recently, a friend of mine looked at my Goodreads reviews, or perhaps just the star ratings and commented that there were lots of 4s and 5s. I don't like ratings systems anyway, partly because the "why" of a rating is left unstated, and that a 4 for someone might be a 3 or 5 for someone else. An intangible, like making me think, relevant to the book under review here is also worthwhile and it can transcend things like content, writing style and so on. I explained to my friend that a 10 poin Quite recently, a friend of mine looked at my Goodreads reviews, or perhaps just the star ratings and commented that there were lots of 4s and 5s. I don't like ratings systems anyway, partly because the "why" of a rating is left unstated, and that a 4 for someone might be a 3 or 5 for someone else. An intangible, like making me think, relevant to the book under review here is also worthwhile and it can transcend things like content, writing style and so on. I explained to my friend that a 10 point scale might have been more useful as some books might be 3.5 and also that I had many partly-read books at home and there were some I couldn't finish, or even get past the first couple of pages. In that context I mentioned Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind which I gave to a friend saying that I just couldn't get past the first 20 or so pages as what he was talking about made no sense, to me. I had expected a better standard of argument, I suppose. The book was bought with some misgivings, as I had gathered what he was on about from other sources, and i also had great difficulty with the title of the book. The latter might sound strange from someone who has read a book with the title "Business Bullshit" – also an uncomfortable title – but the difference was that I had enjoyed the author's perspective in other texts. I still found reading that book difficult in a particular way, but what it was talking about transcended that particular problem. This is my also rationale for reading and rating this curious book, by two academics and authors of a particular age whose other work I had enjoyed. Being quite skeptical of or cynical about what is called here the "self-optimization movement" was also an inducement to see what it has to say, particularly as aspects of my working life overlapped with the "self-help" genre, which I must admit I ended up feeling extremely embarrassed by that association. Maybe that's what happens when you take yourself too seriously intellectually, or you realise that for many, the intellect, or any consideration, is not really in play in this field. The book is in a diary format, describing a year spent testing out/engaging in all sorts of self-improvement methods, many of them physical, some, perhaps most, essentially holdovers from the famed 60s and 70s, apart from what seems to be requisite technological innovations such as apps, fitbits and the like. The authors chronicle their thoughts, feelings, and experiences and although essentially skeptical themselves, tend to take the claims that are made for various techniques or activities at face value. So there's a bit of naivete there. It's clear that neither Cederstrom or Spicer are really into self-optimization or the public aspects of what they've decided to undertake, essentially a strategy or idea a month. There's a bit of guilt and relief, even anger, throughout. The prose is simple and direct, easier to read at some times rather than others. Some of the things they engaged in made me cringe, and to an extent this can be seen as a superficial survey, a fact that doesn't exclude some excellent insights and interesting self-reflection. Comments by the wives of the two men are refreshingly blunt. Amidst a number of caveats, the book made me think and so is worthwhile for that.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Allys Dierker

    Let me be clear: this is not a scholarly work. You're not going to find the answers to self-help, and you're not going to find any serious rejoinders to any of the self-help doctrines and gurus Cederstrom and Spicer take on. You are going to find an amusing romp through a year of forays into self-help. The book is organized as the two authors' alternating diary entries. Carl and Andre develop their own personalities, and through their exploits also come to question the soundness of their friendsh Let me be clear: this is not a scholarly work. You're not going to find the answers to self-help, and you're not going to find any serious rejoinders to any of the self-help doctrines and gurus Cederstrom and Spicer take on. You are going to find an amusing romp through a year of forays into self-help. The book is organized as the two authors' alternating diary entries. Carl and Andre develop their own personalities, and through their exploits also come to question the soundness of their friendship. Their biggest conclusion seems to be that self-help seekers end up emptier than when they started and maybe have the deepest wish to be self-help gurus themselves. After awhile, the projects devolves into absurdity: who really thinks you can learn French, write a book, save a life, or making meaningful inroads into morality in a month, especially when that month includes the research of each of these efforts? You'll see familiar names: Ferriss, CrossFit, Anders, Mindspace. And mostly, these guys are comfortably employed (Carl's family is well-to-do), in academia, with connections to subject-matter experts and publishers: in short, they're not pursuing this out of some desperation to overcome poverty or emotional devastation or psychic vulnerability. For them, it seems a lark: They don't seem serious from first to last about any of their projects, even as Carl adopts a "serious" attitude and Andre is more the joker. And maybe this disingenuous approach (to say nothing of their position as professors in a protected environment, with the leisure and latitude to take on a Project of the Month goof and still call it "work") makes the endeavor that much more pathetic: folks seeking self-help probably really believe that self-help is designed to help them, rather than to line the pockets of publishers, gurus, speakers, and foundations whose primary goal is profit. I note with interest that most of their references are to America, even though Spicer is London-based and Cederstrom is Swedish, which also makes it feel like it's an opportunistic pitch to a country in which they don't live. That comparative assessment might, too, have made the book feel weightier. They do try to address some of these concerns in their introduction, and a bit in their final chapter, but don't expect a critical or academic investigation of self-help. It's an easy read, and funny in the eclectic nature of their pursuits. It doesn't drive nearly as deep as I'd like, and it's missing the kind of data that would make me feel like I had actually learned something about the exploitative or futile nature of the self-help industry. But I view it as a beach read for people who already smirk at the idea of people looking to change their lives by reading a book or a blog or attending an overpriced workshop.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anu Khan

    I've gotten caught up in a handful self-improvement projects (CrossFit, Tidying Up), so I thought this book would be fun romp through the self-improvement playground, with a few profound insights thrown in. I was wrong. The book is a vanity project: two middle-aged dudes wallow in their privilege and do whatever they want for months at a time. Andre's parts are fine. He seems like a normal person, trying to learn about different areas of his life in bite-size chunks. During the spirituality month, I've gotten caught up in a handful self-improvement projects (CrossFit, Tidying Up), so I thought this book would be fun romp through the self-improvement playground, with a few profound insights thrown in. I was wrong. The book is a vanity project: two middle-aged dudes wallow in their privilege and do whatever they want for months at a time. Andre's parts are fine. He seems like a normal person, trying to learn about different areas of his life in bite-size chunks. During the spirituality month, he tackled one religion per week. During the morality month, he followed a different philosophical tradition each week and noted how people reacted. I enjoyed reading his thoughts. But Carl. Yikes. After a few chapters/months, I found it increasingly distressing to read his contributions. He did everything in the most extreme way. It felt gross and excessive, like Carl had given himself carte blanche to live out his most selfish fantasies, under the guise of writing a book. This was particularly offensive during the morality chapter where he suddenly decided to eat only potatoes, nudge friends to buy him dinner, and harangue his family about global poverty, so he could inhabit the role of an effective altruist. He briefly contemplated donating a kidney. He did this while working out religiously in preparation for the following month's goal of becoming a hunk. The comparisons to Tyler Durden from Fight Club seem apt. Not sure the world needs a Tyler Durden-styled self-improvement journal. Actually, I'm positive it doesn't.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patrik Hallberg

    This is a book that is fun to read, and there is quite a lot to pick up even if you might not realize it when you read it. It's written in the form of two parallel diaries, and it ends on quite a negative note. It becomes like a project of multiple failures and a realization that you can optimize every part of your life and a realization of how un-optimized you really are. This project is all about the self, but for the authors, it's more like a suppression of the true self. The person you was/ar This is a book that is fun to read, and there is quite a lot to pick up even if you might not realize it when you read it. It's written in the form of two parallel diaries, and it ends on quite a negative note. It becomes like a project of multiple failures and a realization that you can optimize every part of your life and a realization of how un-optimized you really are. This project is all about the self, but for the authors, it's more like a suppression of the true self. The person you was/are becomes a stranger. The realization - what is really left of my original self? Carl and André set-up to optimize one area of their life every month. January is productivity and the use one of my favorite methods the Pomodoro method where you work for 25 minutes and then have a break for 5 minutes and then repeat. March is about the brain and the try different memory techniques. They read "Moonwalk med Einstein" by Joshua Foer which is a book that I love. They talk a lot about Tim Ferris and of course when it comes to sex in June they read the classic "The game" by Niel Strauss and Carl tries using a prostate dildo to make him multi-orgasmic. As I said there is a lot of stuff in this book and a lot of references to many sources when it comes to the self-help industry, but overall I read the book more as a diary and a fun one too. With tales about what the authors have to endure during this year.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dey

    Read it in one sitting that crossed midnight. :-) So, it’s readable. Even being aware of the narrative strategies (playing up the conflict between the 2 authors) didn’t reduce the readability. Overall I enjoyed it and certainly felt less alone in my self-improvement failures. Although I’m a sociologist by training, I’d lost track of the extent to which my own self-improvement efforts are a reflection of my culture. And the quote about how people turned to self-improvement because they gave up hop Read it in one sitting that crossed midnight. :-) So, it’s readable. Even being aware of the narrative strategies (playing up the conflict between the 2 authors) didn’t reduce the readability. Overall I enjoyed it and certainly felt less alone in my self-improvement failures. Although I’m a sociologist by training, I’d lost track of the extent to which my own self-improvement efforts are a reflection of my culture. And the quote about how people turned to self-improvement because they gave up hope of improving their communities/governments is really sitting heavily with me right now. How much of our current political situation can be traced back to affluent liberals and progressives retreating from public and civic action to focus on self-improvement? I would have liked to see more direct exploration of themes touched on in the December chapter. One area that could have used more exploration is the way self-help and self-improvement have become ways of creating community. And how much those communities do/do not transcend geographic boundaries. And another question, oddly ignored by 2 professors of Business, is: where’s the money? Where’s the money going? They mention it’s a ~3 billion dollar industry...but there isn’t much discussion of who is making money from all their efforts. Though they do point out that self-improvement is one industry that is not expected to be dominated by automation....so teach your kids to be coaches? I’m glad I read it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    4.2/5。 還不錯。我尤其喜歡序和最後一章。(Idea勝過實行,但不能說沒有收穫(想)(且最後的想法真合我胃口啊哈:)) 本書的中文書名蠻有趣的,冒號後的那半截聽起來真的萬分俗套又尋常,飄著一股心靈雞湯味,和一般常見的自助式/勵志書籍沒什麼兩樣(***的練習)──但全書題旨在前八個字就已經述明:你並不需要改變。 在「自我提升產業如此欣欣向榮蒸蒸日上到底是怎麼回事」的大前提下,兩個學者花了一年的時間以自己的生活做了實驗,從「在新的一年發願要改變自己的人生」開始,親身體會追求自我提升的箇中滋味。這一年的每個月都有一個主題,涉及生產力、創造力、人際關係、快樂、靈修、道德、關注、金錢等人們或渴望或為之汲汲營營的事物,並在最後一個月企圖做出總結:這個全年實驗的意義究竟如何。 全書以雙視角的日誌記述,筆調和內容日常而幽默,過程有些還挺慘痛(?)的,就像是企圖鞭策和自我折磨的綜合。這是一個瘋狂的計畫,在追逐目標的過程中瀰漫著人們想要掌控自己生活的渴望,自戀自愛、自我厭惡或傷害、和欲改變而不得的罪惡感。事實上,這整篇就像是在探討這一切目標有何意義的荒誕劇,黑色幽默,在嘗試那麼多的可能性後總結「這一切其實說不 4.2/5。 還不錯。我尤其喜歡序和最後一章。(Idea勝過實行,但不能說沒有收穫(想)(且最後的想法真合我胃口啊哈:)) 本書的中文書名蠻有趣的,冒號後的那半截聽起來真的萬分俗套又尋常,飄著一股心靈雞湯味,和一般常見的自助式/勵志書籍沒什麼兩樣(***的練習)──但全書題旨在前八個字就已經述明:你並不需要改變。 在「自我提升產業如此欣欣向榮蒸蒸日上到底是怎麼回事」的大前提下,兩個學者花了一年的時間以自己的生活做了實驗,從「在新的一年發願要改變自己的人生」開始,親身體會追求自我提升的箇中滋味。這一年的每個月都有一個主題,涉及生產力、創造力、人際關係、快樂、靈修、道德、關注、金錢等人們或渴望或為之汲汲營營的事物,並在最後一個月企圖做出總結:這個全年實驗的意義究竟如何。 全書以雙視角的日誌記述,筆調和內容日常而幽默,過程有些還挺慘痛(?)的,就像是企圖鞭策和自我折磨的綜合。這是一個瘋狂的計畫,在追逐目標的過程中瀰漫著人們想要掌控自己生活的渴望,自戀自愛、自我厭惡或傷害、和欲改變而不得的罪惡感。事實上,這整篇就像是在探討這一切目標有何意義的荒誕劇,黑色幽默,在嘗試那麼多的可能性後總結「這一切其實說不通」。 有那麼多的書籍說,人是自己生命的創造者,都可以成功或有所成就,沒有天生注定,沒有命運或改變不了的事物:「你的想法是一切事情的主要原因」,秘密如是說。這種思維也許沒有什麼錯,我們的確應該奮力一搏,努力改變我們為之不滿的……但這種思潮又好像少了與之互補的那句話:接受我們不能改變的。同時釐清什麼事物真正值得人們為之努力──如果在追求目標的同時失去了太多或者偏離了目的,為什麼不停?或者說,和成癮的機制很像,如果人們做一切事情只是為了達到下一個目標並繼續前行,所收穫的只有達成那一當下的快感,在此後又繼續為達成下一個目的而焦灼……過程中滿是挫敗。那豈不太過痛苦了?前進的意義又是為何? 在市面那麼多追求自我提升的書籍之中,這本令人眼睛一亮。 (btw,我討厭秘密。) 書摘: 【「我們要如何獲得作為一組數字活下去的勇氣?」馬克.格里夫在他寫的書《反對一切》中問到。他說。為自己計數,會產生一種焦慮的自由。「這些數字是你可以改變的,你所需要的只是意志力和足夠的紀律。遵守原則,你就會有所改變。」  是量化的意志力始自我提升對人們具有如此大的吸引力嗎?我若是說這ㄧ年只是一個沒有意義的實驗,那就是在騙人。這些應用軟體和方法幫助我達成一些以前認為不可能的事,不斷把自己推出舒適區以得到好結果,不論是記憶數字、寫驚悚小說,或是學習法語。現在回想起來,我想到這ㄧ年時當下的感覺是自豪和意外的。自豪的是自己堅持下來,完成了這些事,而意外的是有那麼多自我提升的方法真正奏效。  可是我不確定「我」留下了什麼,我們有很多事情都是透過放棄自我而達成。我樂意把自己變成機器,如安德烈說村上春樹試圖做的那樣嗎?他勉強自己一直跑步,並對自己說:我不是人,我是一個機器。我不需要什麼感覺,只要努力加速前進就好。】

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    This was a funny and light read, but with less meaning than hoped for. Two college-professor friends decide to try self-help tactics over a year, focusing on a different topic every month (i.e. productivity, body, sex, creativity). They try a lot of different things, but nothing very deeply, and since they don't give most of the strategies a really fair shot, there isn't a lot to be learned from their experiences. It's not clear what the point of the year was -- they didn't seem to genuinely wan This was a funny and light read, but with less meaning than hoped for. Two college-professor friends decide to try self-help tactics over a year, focusing on a different topic every month (i.e. productivity, body, sex, creativity). They try a lot of different things, but nothing very deeply, and since they don't give most of the strategies a really fair shot, there isn't a lot to be learned from their experiences. It's not clear what the point of the year was -- they didn't seem to genuinely want to improve themselves. Also, I found it sketchy that both of them tried to pick up women as part of their self-improvement quest, despite both being in monogamous relationships. (One of them tries out pickup artistry techniques after reading "The Game," and the other picks up a woman on a cruise just to feel validated after getting Restylane fillers and working on his abs.) Apparently, the idea to try out a bunch of self-help techniques isn't even unique, as they discover at almost the end of the year-- they find several other books in the same vein (one where a lady follows all of Oprah's recommendations for a year, for instance). This book comes off as trying to cash in on that trend without really putting all the effort in.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aleš Bednařík

    Kniha je postavená na základnom princípe - dvaja autori Carl a André budú každý mesiac skúšať iné oblasti seba-zlepšovania sa: v produktivite, v telesnej kondícii, schopnostiach mysle, vzťahoch, spiritualite, sexe, pôžitkoch, kreativite, peniazoch, morálke, upútavania pozornosti a zmysluplnosti. Každý z nich si vyberal iné techniky v danej olasti a opisovali svoju vlastnú skúsenosť. Čítali knihy z danej oblasti, mali vlastných trénerov, couchov, guruov, či navštevovali telocvične, kurzy, transfor Kniha je postavená na základnom princípe - dvaja autori Carl a André budú každý mesiac skúšať iné oblasti seba-zlepšovania sa: v produktivite, v telesnej kondícii, schopnostiach mysle, vzťahoch, spiritualite, sexe, pôžitkoch, kreativite, peniazoch, morálke, upútavania pozornosti a zmysluplnosti. Každý z nich si vyberal iné techniky v danej olasti a opisovali svoju vlastnú skúsenosť. Čítali knihy z danej oblasti, mali vlastných trénerov, couchov, guruov, či navštevovali telocvične, kurzy, transformačné víkendy alebo používali aplikácie. Naozaj spoločne vyskúšali desiatky rôznych vecí, snažili sa k nim pristupovať poctivo aj keď nevyhnutne v nich tleli presvedčenia akademikov - obaja sú univerzitní učitelia a autori viacerých kníh aj vedeckých článkov. A práve tie ich sebaspytujúce, sebaironické a navzájom sa podpichujúce komentáre dodávajú šťavu knihe. Ja by som uvítal viac konkrétnych informácií, či už podporujúcich alebo vyvracajúcich fungovanie jednotlivých sebazlepšujúcich techník.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Isabelle

    The irony that this book left me with the same feeling of post-festive emptiness that both authors claimed to feel at the end of every month. I think Carl Cederström could have been the one trying harder, despite him being the forceful one of this semi-dynamic duo. André Spicer, he kinda grew on me. I felt sorry for him sometimes. At home, he received complaints from his partner, on Skype he received complaints from Carl, he failed his standup act, and I just wanted someone to pick him up, dust The irony that this book left me with the same feeling of post-festive emptiness that both authors claimed to feel at the end of every month. I think Carl Cederström could have been the one trying harder, despite him being the forceful one of this semi-dynamic duo. André Spicer, he kinda grew on me. I felt sorry for him sometimes. At home, he received complaints from his partner, on Skype he received complaints from Carl, he failed his standup act, and I just wanted someone to pick him up, dust him off and refresh his situation. Maybe he was the one more vulnerable to this cynical business. I don’t know. He didn’t seem to share Carl’s ability to regard oneself as a measurable machine, reduced to digits. And that is a health sign if anything. This is not an academic read. At most a popular scientific read in the same category as something Morgan Spurlock would have churned out if he had worked in academics.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christina Johnson

    Does this book have a point? Not really (which the authors themselves grapple with in the book). Was it an entertaining look into the self-improvement mania sweeping the developed world? Yes. I laughed at loud at some points and had second-hand embarrassment at others. I've always been pretty skeptic and disillusioned about the self-improvement fad and this book has not changed my mind. Overall I enjoyed it and it was a quick read. Does this book have a point? Not really (which the authors themselves grapple with in the book). Was it an entertaining look into the self-improvement mania sweeping the developed world? Yes. I laughed at loud at some points and had second-hand embarrassment at others. I've always been pretty skeptic and disillusioned about the self-improvement fad and this book has not changed my mind. Overall I enjoyed it and it was a quick read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    This is a comedic look at the self-improvement industry. The authors dedicate each month of a year to maximising one area of their lives, e.g. work performance, physical strength or spirituality. I found this occasionally trite (some chapters are definitely better than others) but it’s often very funny, and the overall message that self-improvement is essentially individualistic and narcissistic is hard to deny.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Simon Howard

    Two academics spend a year following the advice of self-help gurus, tackling a different area of their lives each month. Much of the outcome seems to be played for laughs, but the humour wasn't really up my street, and when Caderström and Spicer included more sober reflection on the self-help movement or the effects on their lives, it often struck me as a bit superficial. The tone is very uneven. Didn't really do much for me at all. Two academics spend a year following the advice of self-help gurus, tackling a different area of their lives each month. Much of the outcome seems to be played for laughs, but the humour wasn't really up my street, and when Caderström and Spicer included more sober reflection on the self-help movement or the effects on their lives, it often struck me as a bit superficial. The tone is very uneven. Didn't really do much for me at all.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ann Garth

    Disjointed and piecemeal -- I understand that the point of the book was to explore how disjointed the modern self-improvement movement is, but that idea alone is not enough to carry the whole book. Worse, the authors seemed to have few redeeming qualities; not only did I not feel that I knew them by the end of the book, I didn't like them or care about them. Disjointed and piecemeal -- I understand that the point of the book was to explore how disjointed the modern self-improvement movement is, but that idea alone is not enough to carry the whole book. Worse, the authors seemed to have few redeeming qualities; not only did I not feel that I knew them by the end of the book, I didn't like them or care about them.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jorge

    Great book Can't stop until last page. Someway upset because i'll never read another self help book without thinking on this. Sad because there is not a documental on Netflix: The book is perfect to make one. Thanks guys. Great book Can't stop until last page. Someway upset because i'll never read another self help book without thinking on this. Sad because there is not a documental on Netflix: The book is perfect to make one. Thanks guys.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dan Fraser

    Interesting book, with some insight into the world of self-improvement. The journal format is a little tedious over time, and I never really identified with Carl or André. Still, was worth a read, and good for some laughs.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This is really good story, and like all good stories, you reflect on how much it applies to you. The point is to question your quest for self improvement...and to laugh and groan as you read about theirs.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mia Gutkovas

    Började väldigt bra, men ju fler månader som gick desto mer kändes det som att författarna tappade bort sig. Det handlade mindre om att prova olika självhjälpsmetoder och mer om hur de hanterade projektet och varandra.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Violet

    Very enjoyable book. I liked the tone - quite informal- and the relationship of the two writers as they went into the challenge of using self-help - having previously studied it academically - to tackle one area of their lives every month. It was clever and funny.

  26. 5 out of 5

    sislasus

    smårolig, halvintressant.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christina Doktar

    Intressant och stundtals lärorik. Gillar att den är uppbyggd som en sorts dagbok, månad för månad.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Niklas Sandman

    Meh

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Thoroughly enjoyable. I frequently found myself bursting into laughter or sharing snippets aloud. Diary-like descriptions of their adventures and misadventures made for an effective mix of humor, seriousness, and schadenfreude, and both of the authors come across as likable and relatable throughout. I read this book for the “journey into self-help” premise that other reviewers discuss, although what really struck me was how Carl and André talked about their friendship. I have never read a book—fi Thoroughly enjoyable. I frequently found myself bursting into laughter or sharing snippets aloud. Diary-like descriptions of their adventures and misadventures made for an effective mix of humor, seriousness, and schadenfreude, and both of the authors come across as likable and relatable throughout. I read this book for the “journey into self-help” premise that other reviewers discuss, although what really struck me was how Carl and André talked about their friendship. I have never read a book—fiction or nonfiction—where two male friends purposefully spend time examining, discussing, and trying to improve their intimate but sometimes strained relationship (see April: Relationships), and I found it incredibly refreshing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    David Z. Vaisberg

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.