Unfu*k Yourself – Eff-word Proclamation

I am starting at the end.

Thanks for coming! Bye-bye!

Ha!! Anyway…

I’d written more than half this review before speaking to my mother and sister. Since Dad passed, we’ve been checking in a few times a day on a group text. In the course of our conversation, I mentioned that I was reviewing this book, and my sister asked if it was a series? I said, yes, it looked like he’d written several with the same themes, cover art, etc. She said she’d read at least one and that she “LOVED” it.

This was interesting to me! Why? Because I hadn’t “LOVED” nor had I even “loved” (little L) this book. In fact, I’d “not liked” it and had written three-quarters of this post already.

So, which one of us is right? Or am I – once again – being too black-and-white?

As I was busy berating myself for my “one way/or ‘tuther” thinking, My sis threw a wrench in the works by saying she’d confused The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (which she had read) with UnFu*k Yourself (which she hadn’t).

OH! Oh! Hmmm…

Now see, interesting! Because I’d mentioned this whole confusing eff-word thingy in my preamble. Also, I’ve written about The Subtle Art… (link above goes to my post) and also LOVED it.

Let’s see what you think.

Here we go with my original post:

Did it begin with The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck or this book, UnFu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop? Who knows? Both were published in 2016 and a soul (that would be ME) kinda gets the idea that an eff-word proclamation came down from the … heavens?…

Thou shalt now be permitted to title your book with the eff-word but only if you use an asterisk * so as not to actually use the eff-word which might offend the more dainty-minded amongst us.

Amen and amen. Hallelujah.

So yeah, a whack of eff-word books have come out. Take a look at this list! I even wrote about another one in 2019. You can see it here.

Frankly, I love a well-placed eff-word, as you all know if you’ve been reading me for any length of time.

In titles of books? Not so much. I find its use shallow and pedantic. Which reminds me of a Family Guy scene… and this will (most likely) be the ONLY time I turn to Peter Griffin to help make a point.

In fact, if I’m being honest – and I always AM – I kinda/ sorta found this book to be… well… the same.

Is it fair? Not sure.


Maybe a little history about my relationship with this book is in order.

I didn’t buy it new because of the whole eff-word confusion, as discussed above. I hadn’t planned on buying it at all. But it was in my friendly neighborhood thrift shop… and they have this, “Buy 4 books and get one free” thingy and I did have four other books, so…

Because it was used – and very well used, indeed – considering all the highlights, I have a peek into the mind of the person who originally had it. Here are some thoughts:

  1. The highlighter is very-brightly florescent yellow and looks to be brand-spankin’ new. I know my highlighters!
  2. One of the first highlights is “It all starts by making a conscious choice to talk in a way that’s helpful rather than harmful.” The remainder of the highlights are as deep. Which is to say, not very. Meaningful? Yes, but the more seasoned among us know the truth of the statement without a highlighter. Therefore, I suspect our original reader (“OR”) was new to self-help.
  3. The highlights go through chapter 7 and then abruptly stop.
  4. The book was found at a thrift shop.
  5. Therefore, I further suspect that OR was fervently interested until that moment she (or he, but I think it’s a woman – call it intuition) realized that even they – a newbie in the self-help world – already knew most of what they were reading.
  6. Furthermore, it may have been that they thought it was… what?… repetitive?… simplistic? I mean, I can only guess.
  7. While talking to my sister, I got a big illustration into what it means to put the eff-word into a title, as shared and discussed above. As a reminder, it was actually Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck that she read and loved not this book.
  8. Ugh and ugh. Right? Is this not a confusing nightmare? I mean, if your nightmares are filled with eff-words with asterisks in all different places.

Still, it’s not all bad news.

In fact, it’s certainly not a bad book!

It tackles subjects near-and-dear to the self-helper’s heart: Being good enough, worthy enough, strong enough and what to do to get there. It’s easy-to-read and digest, thoughtfully organized with lots of quotes and bold headings and great for beginners.

I mean, consider this quote:

This book will require you to seek the answer, not out there, but inside of yourself. It’s not that you have to find the answer, you are the answer. As I’ve said to my clients many, many times, people spend their lives waiting for the cavalry, all the while never realizing they are the cavalry. Your life is waiting on you to finally show up. – Gary John Bishop Unfu*k Yourself (page 15)

Plus – and I can’t stress this enough – there is almost ALWAYS something to learn. Am I right?

I’m gonna be honest in saying that I’m still figuring out what I learned from the experience of reading this book and writing about it.

I know I won’t forget it or get it confused with any other effing-book. That’s for darned sure!


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