Book Review – The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

Summary from Goodreads

Based on the award-winning blog, The Book of Awesome is a high five for humanity and a big celebration of life’s little moments and the underappreciated, simple things that make us happy, from popping bubble wrap to hitting a bunch of green lights in a row, to waking up thinking it’s Monday and realizing it’s Saturday. With wise, witty observations from writer Neil Pasricha, this treasure trove is filled with smile-inducing musings that make readers feel like kids looking at the world for the first time: AWESOME!


I’m hesitant to admit this, but The Book of Awesome is a book I thought of as little more than fluff. I cynically regarded it as a fun little novelty that was an easy sell to the casual reading masses, but it exposed to me the jaded husk of a man I can sometimes be. While I expected a read that would present forced enthusiasm over little things for a cheap laugh, I instead got something humorously sincere and genuinely relatable.

Divided up into sections typically about 1-3 pages long, the book is a collection of life’s small pleasures, broken down in a way that they can be humorously appreciated. Rather than simply indulging in the appreciation of a singular thing, most of the entries are rooted in a particular context. What I love about this is how very specific the entries can be: “When you know all the buttons to speed through the automated telephone system,” or “Using all the different shampoos and soaps in someone else’s shower,” are quite specific experiences, yet not at all uncommonly enjoyed. There were a few I did not find all that relatable, not quite striking a cord with my life experience, but some were so on the mark they actually caught me off guard and I had to smile and laugh.

Some are brief rundowns of how awesome something is and others go into more detail of the nuances of its subject, compiling numbered lists of different approaches. Pasricha does play with his own format a bit too. One of the best entries, “Absolute perfect silence,” consists of four completely blank pages punctuated with “AWESOME!” — as most every section is. These types of entries help to break things up a little bit, and really showcase how much fun he is having with the material.

It’s not all fun and games, however, as some entries make some really poignant points about loss and sadness, though presented in a more optimistic, uplifting way. Many of the “awesome” aspects of entries are framed more by how wrong something can normally go as well, which serves to emphasize just how awesome the turn of events really is. The book really is inspiring in this way, as it casually teaches you to shift focus to more positive aspects of a situation, rather than focusing on the negative, as well as better appreciate it when things go well.

Cheerful and humorous, even a little rhythmic, The Book of Awesome is a down-to-earth gateway to appreciating the little things in life that I found a lot more value in than I expected to. The only downside I found to the book was I didn’t enjoy reading it for longer periods of time. For me, it’s definitely best as supplemental reading material to be picked up and read through gradually, or even just randomly, rather than pushed through from start to finish. It won’t change your life, but thanks to it I’ve been finding some mundane things a little more awesome.


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