4 out of 4 stars
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If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts: a No-Nonsense Guide to Happiness and Success by Mark L. Wdowiak is a self-improvement book that challenges you to take responsibility for your unhappiness in life and to make a concerted effort to enact change.
After a few introductory chapters, Wdowiak divides the text into three sections: Crawling, Walking, and Running. He refers to these as “the three areas of critical consideration.” This structure allows you to see the building blocks of his arguments as you slowly learn how to take control of your own success. At the end of each chapter, Wdowiak leaves a space for readers to jot their initials as a way of encouraging accountability. The text is broken up with “interesting fact” sidebars, and chapters occasionally lead off with one of “life’s landmines,” or traps we should avoid falling into.
This book was definitely an insightful read. Like most self-help books, you’re not necessarily surprised by any of the arguments made, but the way they’re presented makes it easier to accept and apply them. The author strongly asserts that we have an obligation to ourselves to change negative thought patterns into positive ones, and he teaches you step-by-step how to do that.
I think the lesson I benefited from the most was the idea of preparing for opportunities before they happen. He uses a fantastic conversation between himself and his father about the importance of this idea, and I found myself applying it to opportunities I anticipate in my own life. In fact, the author refers to his father often, citing great quotes and insights that he learned growing up.
One of my favorite concepts that Wdowiak discusses is the idea of “paralysis by analysis,” where you overthink the problems in your life when the cause-and-effect relationships are really quite simple. He also presents an effective plate-spinning metaphor that demonstrates how we prioritize our responsibilities. We’re going to drop plates sometimes, but it’s important that the ones that fall are the unbreakable, plastic ones. Examples like these really make the material relatable and interesting.
Where I found the book was lacking a bit was in its organization. The book has 32 chapters, and many of them are only a few pages long. I think the author could have redistributed the information of these shorter chapters into the longer ones, or even cut some of them altogether. As you move through the second half of the book, much of the text becomes redundant and simply explains earlier lessons in a different way. Wdowiak’s engaging style keeps the material interesting, but it starts to lose its impact when nothing new is explored.
I found less than ten errors in the book, suggesting that it was likely edited by a professional. Most of the errors were due to missing words, which are easily corrected. Though a bit repetitive, I still rate this book 4 out of 4 stars for the author’s exceptional writing style. The voice was conversational yet authoritative. Wdowiak makes no claim that he’s perfect, and he relates well to readers by explaining his past mistakes and how each one shaped him into who he is today. I absolutely recommend it for anyone who is searching for a new direction in their life.
If life stinks get your head outta your buts
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