You're Not That Great: (but neither is anyone else)

You're Not That Great: (but neither is anyone else)

I am addicted to positivity. I am addicted to positivity. I am addicted to positivity.I care more about feeling great than being great.I am NOT THAT GREAT. The self-help industry tells you that if you're positive, if you put your best foot forward and if you just believe in yourself that you will find happiness. Let's be real, you can read all the inspirational quotes y...

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Title:You're Not That Great: (but neither is anyone else)
Author:Elan Gale
Rating:

You're Not That Great: (but neither is anyone else) Reviews

  • Sarah Maier

    This book was funny, helpful and motivating. I'd listen to it again just for the laughs.

  • Sarah

    Me prior to reading this book : I’m a millennial and I’m special unicorn. Me after reading this book : I might be a millennial and special unicorn, but I’m not really a great person. And being a great person is more important that being a special millennial unicorn.

    The last time a read a self-help book (The Fangirl Life), I hated myself more and more after each chapter. In reading You’re Not That Great, a certain amount of self-loathing is a prerequisite. One must accept that they’re not that gr

    Me prior to reading this book : I’m a millennial and I’m special unicorn. Me after reading this book : I might be a millennial and special unicorn, but I’m not really a great person. And being a great person is more important that being a special millennial unicorn.

    The last time a read a self-help book (The Fangirl Life), I hated myself more and more after each chapter. In reading You’re Not That Great, a certain amount of self-loathing is a prerequisite. One must accept that they’re not that great in order to become great. Now, I knew absolutely nothing about Elan Gale, I didn’t know he was a producer of The Bachelor (which, oddly enough, I’ve never seen), and I purposefully did not look up any information about him until I was done reading. Primarily because I wanted to believe he is a credible authority on his subject matter.

    Now, he is not a psychologist, which is probably why our publisher rep at the store suggested that we shelve this book in humor, but as a real life person, with real life experience (not just the experience of patients and extensive study), I find him to be uniquely qualified to write the anti-self-help self-help book.

    You’re Not That Great is, yes, very humorous, but it is also incredibly helpful. For centuries, millennia even, court fools were the only ones allowed to make fun of their lord/king. And in the poking fun, was also at least a morsel of truth. It’s like when someone tells you they have good news and bad news and ask which you’d like to hear first. I’m sure 9 out of 10 people will say the bad news first, because then they get to cheer up, and maybe even laugh a little, when they hear the good news.

    It is an age old practice because it is an effective one, one that Elan Gale uses to his great advantage to drive home the purpose of his book, or what I believe should be the second subtitle for the book, “But You Can Be Better.”

  • Gwen - Chew & Digest Books -

    This has one of the most hilarious and completely true opening sections that I have ever read. It was so dead on that I was in tears and ready to apologize to both of my parents. Giving you more detail would only ruin the moment for you, so I won't. It really brought things into perspective with parental relations though and for that, every reader should be at least a bit grateful, especially to their mother.

    The laughter and honesty keep coming in the following chapters and freakishly, it's ofte

    This has one of the most hilarious and completely true opening sections that I have ever read. It was so dead on that I was in tears and ready to apologize to both of my parents. Giving you more detail would only ruin the moment for you, so I won't. It really brought things into perspective with parental relations though and for that, every reader should be at least a bit grateful, especially to their mother.

    The laughter and honesty keep coming in the following chapters and freakishly, it's often dead on, like one of those comics that has you nodding your head in agreement as you laugh.

    There are also major nuggets of gold here to use for those that are in the market. It's true, you're not that great, but neither is anyone else and you can do better if you acknowledge your flaws and quit the self-defeating mantras that we all have almost hardwired into our heads from day one.

    I want to avoid giving spoilers because Gale's work is valuable and so damn entertaining in situ. However, there is a specific market for this self-help book and it wasn't me. It's all about using those negative emotions you have to work for you and that makes so much sense unless you have a mental illness and these very negative emotions are the ones holding you back.

    Let me give you an example so that you can see the difference and hopefully decide for yourself. You are dealing with something very common among all people, stage fright, before a speech, event, or even sharing your great idea at a meeting. It's a wonderful idea to throw a lasso around that anxiety and use it as your energy to make your move and deliver that great speech, idea, etc.

    However, if you have been actually diagnosed with Anxiety by a mental health professional, you are probably so damn crippled that you can't get out of your jammies and bunny slippers or maybe even open your door. There is a difference, that doesn't make the book useless to those of us with actual anxiety, it's solutions are only less useful. The premise is still dead on for us all, we are not that great but no one else is either. That's actually a vital thing for those of us to realize that have any sort of mental illness, we always feel alone and "other". We are and at the same time, we aren't. Everybody sucks, they just do it in their own unique way. (I should trademark that phrase if possible!)

    While the ending chapters were sort of a let down for me, the sort of person with an actual mental illness, there were still some golden nuggets and so much humor about it all that it was indeed useful. He even included a couple of quotes in his epilogue that totally disagree with his premise and that's brave as well as helpful for those other people like me.

    So, would I buy it for everyone? No, I would buy it for many if not most though, which is saying a lot. Besides the mental health issue, I would shy away from those that are more into clean humor and writing because while I don't' remember any actual cussing, it is fairly irreverent and in your face and I can think of a few people that I attended Catholic school with that wouldn't see it's humor or appreciate it.

    The bonus is that it's short, doesn't have any time-consuming worksheets and yet the humor of it keeps it fresh in your mind for a while.

  • Courtney Judy

    I wish I had liked it more than I did, I was really going in hopeful that I was going to find this book to be amazing. It had everything I liked, cursing...honesty...bluntness...but towards the end I was honestly getting sick of it. I was struggling with some of the concepts (and I myself deal with levels of anxiety and some of the other normal emotions discussed in the books but not usually openly discussed in public) that the author was putting out there.

    And in the spirit of the honesty the a

    I wish I had liked it more than I did, I was really going in hopeful that I was going to find this book to be amazing. It had everything I liked, cursing...honesty...bluntness...but towards the end I was honestly getting sick of it. I was struggling with some of the concepts (and I myself deal with levels of anxiety and some of the other normal emotions discussed in the books but not usually openly discussed in public) that the author was putting out there.

    And in the spirit of the honesty the author was pushing -- the ENTIRE Bachelor/Bachelorette TV phenomenon is TERRIBLE in every sense. So the author being involved in that heaping pile of crap didn't help...and the more he mentioned it, the more I felt like disengaging with the book.

    Overall, I liked what the author was selling -- and I know a few people I would like to send a copy of the book too, but I wanted to like it more than I did. I wish there were more bits and pieces that I was inclined to highlight to refer to later. I would read another published work by Gale, so if you are reading this Elan -- please do write some more.

  • Taylor Wilson

    “We live in a world of contentment, mediocrity, and average people who think they’re excellent.”

    -- Elan Gale, You’re Not That Great

    Elan Gale is straightforward and refuses to coddle anyone in his new book, You’re Not That Great (but neither is anyone else). This book teaches you how to use all the negativity around you to better improve your life. It teaches you how to take everyday feelings such as hate, regret, and shame and make them work for you. Gale provides plenty of examples of everyth

    “We live in a world of contentment, mediocrity, and average people who think they’re excellent.”

    -- Elan Gale, You’re Not That Great

    Elan Gale is straightforward and refuses to coddle anyone in his new book, You’re Not That Great (but neither is anyone else). This book teaches you how to use all the negativity around you to better improve your life. It teaches you how to take everyday feelings such as hate, regret, and shame and make them work for you. Gale provides plenty of examples of everything that he is trying to teach you. There are also quotes from several different successful people that explain how they used their negative emotions to drive that success. We all have issues, why not make them work for us?

    “Positivity isn’t the cure. It’s the disease.”

    -- Elan Gale, You’re Not That Great

    Positivity is like a drug, it’s addictive. Studies have shown that compliments release dopamine causing you to feel pleasure, but is extremely addictive. Positivity is great at first, but you will eventually become dependent upon it.

    “There’s a lot of power in having other people dislike you. There is a lot of power in having other people not believe in you. There is a lot of power in people telling you that you’re never going to be the things you want to be.”

    --Elan Gale, You’re Not That Great

    Honestly, I didn’t know this was a self-help book when I decided to read it. I just thought it had a funny title. Gale’s use of vulgar language definitely separates this book from other self-help books, but no less accurate. I enjoyed reading this book far more than I thought I was going to. Gale makes everything easily relatable by providing his own experiences with using his negative emotions to succeed. I definitely feel like I have learned something from this book.

    “Don’t ignore the haters; use the haters to make yourself better, constantly evolving, constantly changing, until you’re so much ****** better than they ever imagined you could be.”

    -- Elan Gale, You’re Not That Great

    In some way, we all think we are great, which is not true, unfortunately. This will help you accept that and help you use your negativity to better yourself. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to better their lives.

    “I am addicted to positivity. I am addicted to positivity. I am addicted to positivity, I care more about feeling great than being great. I am NOT THAT GREAT.”

    -- Elan Gale, You’re Not That Great

    Thank you, NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for an ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

  • Jo-Ann Duff (Duffy The Writer)

    Harness the power of negative thinking!

    You're Not That Great (But Neither Is Anyone Else). Yep, if you read my blog, you'll understand why this book caught my eye.  This fresh new wave of frank, 'real-life' motivational books have become very popular, and I've enjoyed some of them immensely.  Get Your Sh*t Together, and Unf*ck Yourself were both great reads, and the very popular The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck is still flying off bookstore shelves.

    So, what is there to know about You're Not T

    Harness the power of negative thinking!

    You're Not That Great (But Neither Is Anyone Else). Yep, if you read my blog, you'll understand why this book caught my eye.  This fresh new wave of frank, 'real-life' motivational books have become very popular, and I've enjoyed some of them immensely.  Get Your Sh*t Together, and Unf*ck Yourself were both great reads, and the very popular The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck is still flying off bookstore shelves.

    So, what is there to know about You're Not That Great (but neither is anyone else), and is it any different to the other motivational books out there?  Elan Gale writes with an energetic, pumped up tone rather than an aggressive 'get yourself together loser' tone which particularly helped when reading such passages as 'Say Goodbye To Happiness'. Elan also uses his own experiences and is incredibly honest when sharing his own personality failings and extremely regrettable, awkward life situations.

    The mantra of You're Not That Great(but neither is anyone else) is to not be addicted to being the best, instead, try and be a bit better each time. It makes sense.  How many of us have beaten ourselves up because we've stuffed a whole bag of Caramelo Koalas in our face halfway through a 3 day juice cleanse and triggered a shame spiral that lasts for days? The mindset of giving it another go and maybe completing your juice the cleanse and only having 3 Freddo Frogs might offer a small sense of comfort. Don't aim to be the best. Just aim to be better.

    "Regret is powerful. It stays in your body. Like swallowed gum, regret just lives in your intenstines and bowels tile the day you die" - Elan Gale

    It's all well and good stuffing your instagram feed with daily affirmations to make you feel like a good person, but do you actually live by them, or to you just scroll through mindlessly activitating the little red heart, only to go and comment on a funny wine meme? Does everyone in their perfect instagram world inspire you really? Or do they, in reality, leave you feeling insecure about your looks and your life as you scroll through social media feeds on the couch in your dirty trackpants and your hair in a messy bun?

    This book tells you to not believe the hype and perfection that everyone is meant to strive for as it's simply not attainable for most of us. We can't all be Beyonce. Harness the negativity of others who say you can't do something, and get up and give it bloody good crack to prove them wrong, but don't think that you'll be a billionaire by the time your 40 with a model partner and perfect kids because you eat a clean food diet and listened to a Tony Robbins podcast or two.  Life for most of us is a bit harder than that.

    This book didn't tell me anything I didnt already know, but it did remind me that I can't just sit back and go through the motions if I want to be more successful, however this book did tell me fair and square that being the next JK Rowling just isn't on the cards, and dreams crushed can be a bitter pill to swallow. Gale explains it best.  We are told as kids, by our parents, that our piece of crap artwork is the best thing in the world and put on the fridge, you only need to look at American Idol to see that the most terrible singers are told they sing like angels by their mothers. This is engrained in us, that we can do anything we believe we can. Sometimes it happens, but sometimes these are falsehoods.

    A quick, enjoyable, sometimes confronting, sometimes funny, guide to surviving life if you arent so perfect.

  • Jake Harris

    A not-very-well-written book about a great way of living that gets repetitive around page 50. At 179 pages, it could’ve been way shorter and just as effective.

  • TJL

    I'm of two minds about this book.

    On one hand, I agree with a lot of what the author says: The positivity movement is weirdly condescending, fluffs peoples' egos beyond belief, and does make some people incredibly hyper-sensitive to criticism. I agree that there are some people who are so desperate for positivity and compliments and ego-fluffing that they overshare on social media or constantly seek validation from others.

    I also greatly agreed with the idea that criticism and some degree of negat

    I'm of two minds about this book.

    On one hand, I agree with a lot of what the author says: The positivity movement is weirdly condescending, fluffs peoples' egos beyond belief, and does make some people incredibly hyper-sensitive to criticism. I agree that there are some people who are so desperate for positivity and compliments and ego-fluffing that they overshare on social media or constantly seek validation from others.

    I also greatly agreed with the idea that criticism and some degree of negativity are necessary for people to change and make themselves better; and that there are people who, when they say to "be positive" or "not negative", mean "please don't ever criticize me ever, and if you do, you're the bad guy".

    The author made good points. The positivity movement has gone too far in a lot of ways, to the point where it's a detriment to people who rely to heavily on it.

    But I didn't agree with

    , and there's a reason for that.

    I'm a middle-ground person. I don't like extremes. That's part of the reason why the positivity movement makes me nauseous: I can't stand the constant, patronizing ego-boosting and the villainization of anyone who says anything remotely critical.

    But I'm also not fond of people who use "I'm just being honest" as a shorthand for "if I've offended you because I said something really blunt, then you're just a baby who needs to get over themselves."

    Like, in the beginning: Yes, there are parents who go

    too far in protecting their children's feelings. But see, here's the thing: Every example used as a criticism (complimenting a child's sub-par drawing, celebrating because they used the toilet correctly) was just... I mean, its not portrayed very honestly?

    As an adult, we look at a kid's drawing and go "Wow, that's terrible", because we're adults and we have a standard for art that's well-done and art that's not. I mean- what, do you expect your five year-old to be a Marvel cartoonist? Of course their drawing looks bad to an adult! THEY'RE FIVE! There is a DEVELOPMENT process that occurs with children: They don't come out of the womb painting like Monet!

    It's called Positive Reinforcement. When a kid hears "Hey, you did a good job", it encourages them to

    And

    they keep doing it, they begin to touch up on things: The stick-figure becomes more human-like, the dog gets spots and a collar instead of just being a blob on the page. A reasonable amount of positive reinforcement is what encourages kids to keep trying instead of giving up. It's the same thing with toilet-training: You give them positive feedback when they do it right because you WANT THEM TO KEEP DOING IT THAT WAY.

    One of the things that bugged me in this book is that the author seems to willfully ignore or misinterpret basic things so she could make it out to be "THE CULT OF POSITIVITY GONE MAD". The stuff I mentioned above is BASIC SHIT for raising kids who don't want to kill themselves when they're teenagers; and you can spin it however you want, but if you tell a five year-old their drawing sucks, then you are an asshole of a person.

    The author, I think in chapter two, says that negative reinforcement is what puts fire under you and encourages you to change- i.e. people telling you you're not good enough, that you'll never be anything, that you're worthless.

    And see, for some people, that

    work. But it doesn't work for

    .

    There are people who think that calling someone who's overweight a fat slob and making oinking sounds at them is "motivation" to make them lose weight. And there are people who have lost weight who say that that sort of harassment encouraged them to lose weight. But there are even

    people who say that that sort of criticism pushes them into a depression and makes them eat even

    .

    The author is pushing this idea that one-size fits all; and she doesn't seem especially interested in drawing a distinction between "criticism" and "actual, literal assholery".

    At one point in the book she gives an example of someone who asks you how they look in their pants; and she implies that if the "honest" answer is "you look like crap" and the asker responds badly to that, then it's just their over-sensitivity coming out.

    But... God, I'm sorry, but there's this thing called

    that you are more than capable of using if you want to answer a question honestly. If you say "how do these pants look on me" and someone responds with "you look like crap" then they're being a dick. There are people who use "I'm just being honest" as an excuse to be an asshole, and they really love playing it like anyone who reacts badly to them is just over-sensitive and can't take criticism.

    Like I said before, there is a

    . You can be honest without being a gigantic dick, and you can be positive about things without being completely unable to take any sort of criticism.

    No matter how honest it is, not

    piece of criticism you receive is valid. The author thinks you should take everything the 'haters' say about you and make yourself better- and THEN, after you have, you can tell them to fuck off if they're still coming after you.

    But please, enlighten me- at what point do you know that you are the

    ? At what point do you stop, take a realistic look at yourself, and say, "Okay, look, I'm never going to be everything that these people say I SHOULD be, so I think maybe I need to start finding satisfaction with what I am now"? Because let me tell you: Opinions are like assholes, because everyone has them. And if you think being the "most amazing person ever" will stop the 'haters' from tearing you a new one, then trust me, you're in for a shock. Someone will ALWAYS find fault with who and what you are, and there IS value in putting your foot down and saying, "Okay, enough of this, I am actually okay the way I am and y'all can go to hell."

    The problem is that this book pushes the opposite extreme of the positivity movement: It's pushing this idea that negativity is the ONLY way you can change yourself for the better, and that by indulging in any sort of positivity (because, you know, god forbid anybody have a shitty life and maybe want something good every now and then) is going to destroy you.

    It plays this idea that 'positivity' does not encourage you to work harder or make yourself better, but instead to accept mediocrity- which I disagree with on the idea that what counts as 'positivity' for one person could be very different for someone else. You don't know what kind of 'positivity' a person could be embracing: It could be 'hey, I have a great job that I love, and even if it doesn't make me a millionaire I'm happy where I am' or 'hey, I may not be a supermodel, but I have a spouse who thinks I'm gorgeous and I don't feel the need to change my body to fit a standard'. Is that so

    ?

    And also, there's this idea that if you take in ALL the negativity and criticism that you can, you will eventually evolve into something amazing. Because clearly our society is

    full of people back-stabbing each other to get to the top so they can be the best, or people who drive themselves crazy and make themselves sick trying to be perfect.

    Which... Is honestly just as dishonest as the extreme stuff the positivity movement pushes.

  • Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

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    I snagged a copy of this ARC because the title made me laugh and I loved the paradox of the snappy, sarcastic title against the baby pink cover. "Mean" can sometimes be funny, as evidenced by the movie

    , and sometimes we all need a reality check. I was expecting something tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic, witty. Your best-frenemy-for-ever as she channels her inner-Dorothy Parker while sipping on mimosas at your favorite cafe.

    Instead I g

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    I snagged a copy of this ARC because the title made me laugh and I loved the paradox of the snappy, sarcastic title against the baby pink cover. "Mean" can sometimes be funny, as evidenced by the movie

    , and sometimes we all need a reality check. I was expecting something tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic, witty. Your best-frenemy-for-ever as she channels her inner-Dorothy Parker while sipping on mimosas at your favorite cafe.

    Instead I got... something else.

    First, I understand why people are not totally on board with "positivity." It gets a bum-rap in the media, and its advocates are portrayed as irresponsible hippies or culturally appropriating phonies with no drive, who spend all their time smoking pot or meditating. This is NOT an accurate representation, however, and while this book appears to have been created to take cheap shots at self-help books like

    , and pop psychology books like

    , it operates on the assumption that "happy" people are delusional people who aren't grounded in reality.

    YOU'RE NOT THAT GREAT is bitter and misanthropic. It encourages unhappiness, seems to suggest that you should wallow in it, and angst, hate, despise, sulk, and seethe freely. There were some passages I agreed with - the part about accepting the anxiety of your future and using that anxiety to propel yourself into action when it comes to accomplishing as much as you can before your own inevitable demise, for example. Death is uncomfortable but it happens to us all, and in a way, it's the driving force behind creativity and insight, because if we lived forever, we might all just become a bunch of dull, indolent vampires passing the days away in an endless malaise.

    The part about the author's mother getting cancer and her recovery was also quite touching, and portrayed - bitingly real - insights about the pain of recovery and how much of it relies on luck as much as fortitude, and how difficult it is to be brave in suffering. Although that was the point of no return for me as well - when I realized that I wasn't getting Dorothy Parker so much as Ernest Hemingway.

    And you know, I get it. I used to side-eye happy people too. I thought they were a bunch of fake, cultish people eating up their own lies like it was the most delicious thing they had ever tasted. And to some extent, Elan Gale has a point: being mindlessly, foolishly happy

    a good way to live your life. That was one of the cautionary aspects of Aldous Huxley's

    ; unhappiness keeps society from stagnating; it can trigger change; it keeps pleasure from becoming a dull, drugged haze. But true positivity isn't about that - it's about learning to accept yourself, flaws and all, minimizing stress, and embarking upon the endless, and yes, sometimes futile, struggle of self-betterment.

    I couldn't really get on board with this book. But maybe darker souls than I will find it funny.

    1 star

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