Lose Well

Lose Well

A laugh-out-loud, kick-in-the-pants self-help narrative for anyone who ever felt like they didn’t fit in or couldn’t catch a break—comedian and cult hero Chris Gethard shows us how to get over our fear of failure and start living life on our own terms.Let’s face it: we all want a seat at the cool table, a great job, and loads of money. But most of us won’t be able to achie...

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Title:Lose Well
Author:Chris Gethard
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Lose Well Reviews

  • Bethany

    I received a complimentary advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    While Gethard is known for

    and the

    podcast, I’m only familiar with him as musical-guest-Jeff-Rosenstock-host and author of the consistently funny

    .

    My stomach dipped a little upon quick realization that Lose Well would not be following the humorous essay format, but was a “self-help narrative.” I had just read Faili

    I received a complimentary advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    While Gethard is known for

    and the

    podcast, I’m only familiar with him as musical-guest-Jeff-Rosenstock-host and author of the consistently funny

    .

    My stomach dipped a little upon quick realization that Lose Well would not be following the humorous essay format, but was a “self-help narrative.” I had just read Failing Up, which shared the same crux and I found a little lackluster – in short, I was burnt out on the theme of learning from your failures.

    At times more self-help than narrative, and other times vice versa, overall Gethard maintains a palatable mix of the two (especially to a reader who was only interested the narrative). Gethard knows his audience well (at one point suggesting the reader might be thinking, “I’m going to skip to the funny parts”). The encouragement is a bit on the . . . not jaded side, but tempered? Gethard is no Pollyanna, but recognizes the extent that attitude and motivation (and learning from failure) play in moving ahead. This is no “Keep trying and you’ll eventually get there!” This is “It’s statistically unlikely that you’ll, but even if you don’t, wouldn’t you rather faceplant in a blaze of glory?”

    For those who feel out of place in their small town / backwards community / dead end job, Gethard intersperses plenty of inspiring non-Gethard example figures into the text. From the Shaggs to street artists to friends who launched their dream careers late in life, Gethard gives plenty of counterexamples to the self-limiting ideas that you’re too old / too weird / too x to make a creative change in your life.

    While the book is as funny as

    , the stories are (unsurprisingly) spread out a bit and used to support the self-help advice. Gethard’s anecdotes are great – which can make it a little maddening when you have to read an extra two or three pages to get to them (…again, coming from someone not really receptive or interested in advice at the moment). Gethard’s fluid writing style makes it easy to find oneself immersed in the tales, whether it’s a long, winding journey to a great twist, or just a few simple paragraphs. (High points include Gethard’s early foray into theatre via Bye, Bye, Birdie; his investigations while employed by Weird New Jersey; and a family road trip interrupted by a nose-diving falcon.)

    Even though you already know that Gethard has found himself a degree of success, you still find yourself rooting for his character. He underscores the importance of hard work (as told through one of the funniest turns in the book, his pre-Y2k line job amid factory workers cum survivalists).

    It’s refreshing to write a book review where, when it gets to the shortcomings, you really need to dig deep. Somewhere in my psyche I feel I’m not writing a “balanced” review if I don’t include some shortcomings, so here’s my best attempt:

    *Was expecting a larger coup de grace in the Dusty story. Dusty seemed inept and inconsiderate, but didn’t quite come across as the complete “fuck scum” Gethard described him as.

    *Should include an activity sheet with a connect-the-dots or maze page.

    TLDR: Gethard’s humorous stories give an enjoyable arc to a self-help book that speaks to reluctant creatives and the atypical.

  • Kat

    Chris Gethard is probably one of the coolest and most original human beings alive. This book, while being a “self help” book is also part memoir, and made me laugh SO hard numerous times. I listened to the audiobook, but plan on purchasing a hardcover as well. No spoilers- but the audiobook extra content is the absolute BEST. So glad I downloaded it. Thanks Chris for several hours of a good time.

  • Kye

    3.5 stars.

    I really wasn’t looking for an inspirational book (and didn’t realize that’s what the book was when I bought it), I just wanted to support Chris Gethard as a small payment for the hours of entertainment he’s provided me with. It’s a good book... I dig the sentiment. I guess I’d rather hear about his life than have him give me an inspirational speech though. So maybe I’ll just stick to his podcast and tv show... I DEFINITELY appreciated all his extra content on the audio version. More

    3.5 stars.

    I really wasn’t looking for an inspirational book (and didn’t realize that’s what the book was when I bought it), I just wanted to support Chris Gethard as a small payment for the hours of entertainment he’s provided me with. It’s a good book... I dig the sentiment. I guess I’d rather hear about his life than have him give me an inspirational speech though. So maybe I’ll just stick to his podcast and tv show... I DEFINITELY appreciated all his extra content on the audio version. More authors should do that!

    So......not mind-blowing, but worth reading if you like his work!

  • Colly J

    It’s honestly probably just a 3-star book, but I find Gethard just so damn charming that it earns the book another star. This books teeters between self-help and autobiographical humor. Unfortunately, the chapters seem to focus on just one or the other genres, making the book seem disjointed and unrelated at some points. Don’t get me wrong, the self-help portions are genuinely helpful and inspiring and the autobiographical chapters are funny and engaging, but it’s just trying to do a little too

    It’s honestly probably just a 3-star book, but I find Gethard just so damn charming that it earns the book another star. This books teeters between self-help and autobiographical humor. Unfortunately, the chapters seem to focus on just one or the other genres, making the book seem disjointed and unrelated at some points. Don’t get me wrong, the self-help portions are genuinely helpful and inspiring and the autobiographical chapters are funny and engaging, but it’s just trying to do a little too much. You can really see the skeleton of a more cohesive book here. Also Gethard does need to rely a little less on the antiquated and disproven, neoliberal tenet that hard work will get anything done at any time by any one. We all know and understand the value of hard work, but putting so much emphasis on grinding tends to devalue the impact that other, uncontrollable factors have on folks’ lives. Whatever. It’s still a solid book, easy read, and truly fun! Definitely recommend to people who need an extra push to do something good and stupid.

  • Ella

    I got a copy of the audiobook, which surprisingly included a whole 2 hours and 32 minutes of bonus content! After the book there were a bunch of interviews with people who were mentioned in the book, who had some significant impact on Chris's life. I think the bonus interviews were a real treat, and it was interesting to hear other perspectives from people who shared certain experiences with him.

    I've seen some reviewers saying that The Chris Gethard Show got cancelled after this was written, so

    I got a copy of the audiobook, which surprisingly included a whole 2 hours and 32 minutes of bonus content! After the book there were a bunch of interviews with people who were mentioned in the book, who had some significant impact on Chris's life. I think the bonus interviews were a real treat, and it was interesting to hear other perspectives from people who shared certain experiences with him.

    I've seen some reviewers saying that The Chris Gethard Show got cancelled after this was written, so they think that is somehow retroactively sad, or that it changes the book in some way... Not true! The audiobook was recorded after he made the announcement that TCGS was over, and it's not a topic he shies away from at all. (And in my opinion, that announcement was far from tragic. It's an ending, so of course there is going to be sadness that comes with that, but he seemed - and seems, throughout this book - quite content with the outcome of things, the run of the show, and the experiences he got to have in doing it over the years.) He also mentioned that the audiobook was even recorded in the room where he announced he was ending the show. I look forward to following his career beyond TCGS.

  • Ruby  Reviews Books

    A sort of self-help love letter to weirdos with nascent creative ambitions, this book is a blend of advice, anecdote, and a philosophy of productive failure. For those of you who don’t know Gethard, a primer: he’s a comedian-improviser known for his call-in podcast Beautiful/Anonymous, a HBO comedy special called Career Suicide, and one of the zaniest variety shows to ever be produced, the recently canceled Chris Gethard Show.

    Perhaps the best way

    A sort of self-help love letter to weirdos with nascent creative ambitions, this book is a blend of advice, anecdote, and a philosophy of productive failure. For those of you who don’t know Gethard, a primer: he’s a comedian-improviser known for his call-in podcast Beautiful/Anonymous, a HBO comedy special called Career Suicide, and one of the zaniest variety shows to ever be produced, the recently canceled Chris Gethard Show.

    Perhaps the best way to crystalize this book is to focus on the latter of the three—a beloved cult show that went from public access to small channel cable to national cable only to get canceled by the suits. You see, Gethard reps the underground unapologetically. He’s had some mainstream success, landed his own sitcom, been the number one podcast in the country, performed before crowds of thousands. But he’s not a household name. Not an A-List Celebrity. Maybe not even B-List. In fact, he proudly identifies as a loser. So what advice does he have to offer to anyone when he hasn’t rocketed to fame and fortune himself? Frankly, a lot. Gethard’s career is about integrity and hard work. And those things, along with a lot of luck, are the difference between success and failure. No one can teach you about being lucky. But if anyone can teach you about hard work and resilience, it’s Gethard.

    The first part of this book focuses on breaking down the stigma of failure. It’s not unlike some of the things you’ll read from serial entrepreneurs—failure is a way of finding out what doesn’t succeed. Those who can stomach failure can find the recipe for success, so long as they have the time and energy to do it. In this regard, the book doesn’t tread new ground, though its familiar platitudes are offered in the language of DIY outsiders. Where it really delivers is on Gethard’s frank recounting of his own personal failures and how they reoriented him to his current success, as well as his confrontation of the paralyzing fear that stemmed from an inability to honestly commit to his dreams. This advice for creators is from someone who’s lived the life, in the trenches, toiling in obscurity, making his break instead of waiting for the impossible.

    And that’s where Lose Well resonates, particularly for me and this channel where I review things for single digit views with my cat as a prop for an audience of ten subscribers. If you were to ask me honestly why I do this, I don’t think I could articulate it well. It probably boils down to some version of I have some things to say, my cat is cute, and this is an outlet for those two things. It’s not done for a zillion views or ad monetization or to propel me to some career as a book reviewer. I make these videos because I think they should exist their its own right. And this book is a love letter for folks who do what they do for the same reason, whether they have found success or not. It provides solace for when we inevitably fail, because failure is part and parcel of success. It provides support for the weird things, because weird things are signal, not noise. It encourages us to do what we dream, because while stalling protects us from the vulnerability of trying, it is also succumbing to failure without any risk of success. Most importantly, this book is permission to not apologize for having dreams. Rated 4 stars and 9 rubs.

  • Taylor Johnson

    It’s a slow start with the first few essays not really giving that great of a first impression but as you get further into it, MAN, Gethard’s passion really shines through. I want all my friends who are pursuing creative work to read this because it will light a fire. A lot of the time when someone stands up and says “look at what I’ve been able to accomplish! Look at what I’ve done!” I get turned off but Gethard is so self deprecating and so honest about the lowest lows he went through, when yo

    It’s a slow start with the first few essays not really giving that great of a first impression but as you get further into it, MAN, Gethard’s passion really shines through. I want all my friends who are pursuing creative work to read this because it will light a fire. A lot of the time when someone stands up and says “look at what I’ve been able to accomplish! Look at what I’ve done!” I get turned off but Gethard is so self deprecating and so honest about the lowest lows he went through, when you finally get to the accomplishments you’re rooting for him. You see how insane it is that he succeeded after all.

    There are few chapters I’m sure I’ll return to throughout the year when I’m feeling down and wanting to give up.

    Really enjoyed it.

  • Gena Radcliffe

    About 30% humblebrag, 70% useful. I think I would have gotten more out of it if I shared Gethard's rather liberal definition of "failure," but overall it was an encouraging, warm and funny book about pursuing your dreams, even if they don't make sense to anyone but you.

  • Todd Vanderwerff

    Had Gethard on the podcast, and it was a ton of fun. As such, I read this book before doing so. It's the sort of thing I needed more at 19 than I do in my 30s, but I still got great insights into the way he sees the world!

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