The UYP Book Review – Unf*ck Yourself
Ladies and Gents welcome to a brand new blog post format! We are excited to share our first ever book review, Unf*ck Yourself by Gary John Bishop.
A New Idea
Before we get into the review of Unf*ck Yourself, let me explain the idea behind these reviews. As you may have noticed, if you are a regular reader, we have not posted a new blog recently. This is due to a couple of factors. Firstly, as individuals, the three of us are quite busy, limiting our time for writing. Secondly, and more importantly, we don’t feel the need to post poor quality blogs in the hope of getting cheap traffic, if we do not have a good idea or lesson for a blog we don’t write it. This new book review format is an effort to bridge the gap between regular blog posts and quality blog posts (I’m not saying you can’t have both, Seth Godin for instance posts great content every day) which has been difficult for us.
As a long-time reader, it made sense to me to use the UYP blog as a platform to share my thoughts on books I have recently read. Sticking with the theme of unlocking your potential, most of the books I review will be in the self-help genre, however, if I come across an interesting book I feel would benefit people I will share it (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance comes to mind, referenced in this blog post). I have never reviewed a book before in any capacity, so bear with me. This may be a rough ride. Hopefully, my skills will improve over time. These reviews won’t be in-depth explorations of the writers’ use of prose, nor will they be a critique of their overall writing style. These reviews are meant to give you an idea of what I gained from the ideas presented in these books. Enjoy!
Author: Gary John Bishop
Release Date: October 22nd, 2016
Page Count: 220
ISBN 10: 1539393828
ISBN 13: 978-1539393825
“Stop blaming luck. Stop blaming other people. Stop pointing to outside influences or circumstances.” – Gary John Bishop
“Stop blaming luck. Stop blaming other people. Stop pointing to outside influences or circumstances”. – Gary John Bishop
Let’s get the easy part out of the way. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Lately, I have read a lot of online articles concerning self-help and self-development that concentrate on changing your thought patterns in order to change your actions. In many ways, Unf*ck Yourself advocates taking the opposite approach. The tagline line on the front cover says it all, “Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life”.
The book is broken up into nine chapters, seven of which focus on a specific set of personal assertions. The first chapter is an introductory chapter that serves as a primer on what to expect from the book. The last chapter offers some suggestions on how to implement these assertions into your life. Each of the other seven chapters focuses on one assertion, highlighting interesting and thought-provoking arguments in favor of said assertion. As with any self-help book, Unf*ck Yourself contains its fair share of inspiring quotations. Interestingly, many of these are provided by the fathers of Stoicism. Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca all have their say while non-Stoics like Aristotle and Socrates have also graciously lent their wisdom to the book.
It’s no secret that we are big fans of Stoicism here at UYP. Although it is a much-misunderstood philosophy, it’s slowly entering mainstream life. The most refreshing thing about the Stoicism running through the book is the fact that I was not expecting it. Nothing on the cover hinted at Bishop’s admiration of the Stoics, however, after reading the book his interest in the Stoics makes perfect sense. The Stoics were (and are) firm believers that your thoughts have more of an impact on your perception of an event than the actual event itself. How you perceive an event determines your actions after the event. Got fired? That could either be a terrible thing to happen to you, or it could be the chance you needed to try out that business idea you have been thinking about.
Although this book is not a modern Stoic text in the way that Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way is, many of the lessons in the book borrow heavily from Stoicism. Embracing uncertainty? Check. Favouring action over inaction? Check. Acceptance of circumstance? Check, and so on. If any of the above interests you I suggest you buy the book, if not, read on for more!
Sometimes a little push is all we need. Unf*ck Yourself provides a powerful shove. I have no doubt that different people will take different things from this book. Bishop encourages the reader to dip in and out after the first read of the book, sound advice. One chapter and one assertion, in particular, stuck with me, “I am not my thoughts, I am what I do”. You may not think this is as impactful as I do but that is the joy of this book. As outlined in the Morning Struggle blog post, I find getting up difficult sometimes. With this assertion I have a tool to help, I am not my thoughts of staying in bed, I am the action I choose to do. After all is said and done I may indeed have chosen to stay in bed for an extra hour, however, I have found this idea immensely helpful.
There are seven assertions in all, I’m sure you will find one that resonates with you as I did. As I mentioned above, the theme of the book is turning your actions into thoughts, contrary to the usual thoughts into action. Bishop’s reckoning is that performing an action, going to the gym, for example, is easier than convincing yourself to go to the gym. By blocking out your thoughts and jumping right ahead into the action you cut out the most difficult part.
Unf*ck Yourself – Parting Thoughts
As I have stated before, this is a book I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s easy to read, clear and to the point. Apart from the ideas outlined above, you will also find a healthy dose of Scottish humor sprinkled throughout the book which provides a welcome distraction to the serious subject matter. This book is ideal for someone looking to get out of a rut or make a meaningful change in their lives. If you are already living the life you want to live, congratulations! You have attained something most can only dream of! However, if you are like most of us and want to reach your full potential, this book will certainly help.
If you are interested in buying Unf*ck Yourself, this link will get you there. I hope you enjoyed this review or at least found it useful. Hopefully, the next review will be a bit more polished!
(Some of the links in this review are affiliate links through which UYP will receive a small percentage of the sale.)