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review 2016-04-11 15:50
F*ck Feelings / Michael & Sarah Bennett
F*ck Feelings: One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems - Michael Bennett MD,Sarah Bennet

The only self-help book you’ll ever need, from a psychiatrist and his comedy writer daughter, who will help you put aside your unrealistic wishes, stop trying to change things you can’t change, and do the best with what you can control—the first steps to managing all of life’s impossible problems.


In this brilliantly sensible and funny book, a Harvard-educated shrink and his comedy-writing daughter reveal that the real f-words in life are “feelings” and “fairness.” While most self-help books are about your feelings and fulfilling your wildest dreams, F*ck Feelings will show you how to find a new kind of freedom by getting your head out of your ass and yourself onto the right path toward realistic goals and feasible results. F*ck Feelings is the last self-help book you will ever need!



Life sucks and then you die.

But what you do about it in between those two events will make a difference to how you feel about that statement. Are you ready for straightforward advice about what you can change and what you can’t? If so, pick up F*ck Feelings and start figuring it out.

I expected to enjoy this book far more than I did. It is written by a psychiatrist father and his stand-up comedian daughter and while it definitely has its moments, I found myself skipping large portions of each chapter. Apparently the regular readers of self-help books require generous doses of repetition to drive home even the simplest point. I soon found myself by-passing their examples, the “quick diagnosis” sections, and the suggested scripts to make your intentions clear.
By and large, I found the advice dispensed to be highly sensible. Common sense really, which as several of my friends like to remind me, is not all that common. I do find myself thinking about the warning that if brain wiring or brain chemistry are working against you, all the struggle in the world may not get you anywhere. In situations like these, it may be best to just find a way to cope with the way you are wired and move along.

Also sensible: you can only be responsible for your own behaviour. Trying to control other people is an exercise in futility. Decide if the person you are trying to change is someone that you can live with just the way they are or whether you are best off backing away from the relationship. If you decide to disengage, back away slowly and quietly, not making a big deal about it. In other words, just fade out.

Plus, don’t ask questions that you don’t want the answer to. Bugging a quiet person for more input is likely to produce information that you didn’t want to know. Sometimes, silence really is golden.

And yes, Assholes exist in the world. Just about everybody knows at least one. You can’t change them either. Do the fade out if possible, but if they are a permanent fixture in your life (i.e. a co-worker) then you are wise to not engage them in any sort of warfare. Ignore them to the best of your ability and do your own work. Drama accomplishes nothing.

Basically, stuff that I can’t believe that people need a psychiatrist to tell them. I did appreciate that Dr. Bennett did say that therapy is only recommended if you have a specific issue that you want to deal with and only for as long as it takes to deal with it. Don’t waste your money on messy, nonspecific therapy where you just muck about in the past “seeking insights.” That kind of muddy groping about for that “je ne sais quois” can actually make you less happy, more confused, and can even cause harm.

If there is someone in your life who still hasn’t figured out the basics of life, this book might be helpful for them (unless they’re an Asshole, but you know that). Not entertaining enough for the rest of us. Give it a pass if you’re basically happy with your life and aren’t really into the self-help genre.

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review 2015-12-21 17:45
Children's Review: Baby Penguin Slips and Slides
Baby Penguin Slips and Slides - Elizabeth Bennett,Michael Teitelbaum

A picked this book out from our library. This is a great book for those that are learning to read as the words are really easy. I really liked how we are given actually pictures of penguins and not drawings. A really enjoyed the baby penguins and would comment on how tiny he was. I thought the fact stops were pretty neat to read. I think toddlers would really enjoy this as it is about animals and the words are not very long on the pages.

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review 2015-12-09 19:03
Review: F*ck Feelings
F*ck Feelings: One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems - Michael Bennett MD,Sarah Bennet

(I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)


Life isn’t fair. I know this, you know this, but we still keep hoping that somehow the universe will work things out. But the universe really couldn’t give fewer fucks.


F*ck Feelings is a book about being realistic, about coming to terms with the fact that life isn’t fair, and realizing that, in the grand scheme of things, your personal feelings matter very little. This sounds pessimistic, and sometimes the book does border on a weird nihilism, but it is rather refreshing to read a self-help book that doesn’t try to shill a bright and shiny message that runs counter to the nature of the world. The premise is simple: some circumstances simply cannot be changed or improved, so rather than feeling constantly defeated by your inability to alter them, it’s better to learn how to deal with the negative feelings on a day-to-day basis. The two really terrible f-words in life are “fair” and “feelings,” and the reverence we have for them is delusional.


If the title didn’t tip you off, the book is intended to be both helpful and funny, and overall the writing is genuinely entertaining, while also being legitimately well researched and useful, which is no mean feat. There are a lot of notable passages (many of which I highlighted), but whether they are genuinely profound or just pleasant (but snarky) aphorisms is a tough call sometimes. The balance between the humorous presentation and the serious subject matter wavers from time to time, with one occasionally overcompensating for the other, but overall it keeps the tone fairly consistent. Some of the unevenness likely comes from the dual author set-up, in which a comedy writer “translates” her father’s psych and neuroscience findings through her particular Upright Citizen’s Brigade filter. It does read much better than most pop psychology books, which are generally either dully academic, or way too touchy-feely. It often fights back against the trend in psychotherapy that believes things can ultimately be fixed, or that feelings can be radically altered, which is refreshing.


But I did have a nagging concern that grew the more I read: when is a personal issue not just personal, but something systemic that really should be addressed, and when is “life is unfair” just an excuse to let the status quo roll on? Unfortunately, the book didn’t really answer that question. It consistently reminds people to “live up to your own personal values” while accepting certain unchangeable things, and frankly I don’t know what the fuck that really means. Often it felt like a cop out. If life is unfair, and my personal values are centered around making it just a little more fair for other people, isn’t the whole deal just counterproductive at that point? I don’t have an answer, and neither do the authors.


One of the other elements I struggled with was the template-based structure, which makes it very helpful as a reference guide, but repetitive and dull if you are reading it cover to cover. Each chapter is laid out identically, with a breakdown of the issue, what you can and can’t change, anonymous real world examples, and a “script” for dealing with other people (or your inner critic). The information is helpful, but also a bit truncated. And I’m pretty sure the script is just there to be funny.


As far as self-help books go, I would recommend this one to those who like their advice presented in a funny way, as well as injected with some legitimate neuroscience. But if you don’t want your idealism punctured, this one probably isn’t for you.


(Cross-posted at Goodreads: F*ck Feelings)

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review 2015-11-16 23:17
One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems
F*ck Feelings: One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems - Michael Bennett MD,Sarah Bennet

I'm generally not a self-help reader, but the title of this one sucked me in.  I don't think there's a soul that knows me that would call me a mushy, emotional personality (unless it's covered in fur); it's not that I don't care, but I tend to be crap at expressing it and find I'm most comfortable with things I can fix.  So I found myself interested, of course, in a book that sort of spoke to me - shouted, really - right from it's bold yellow cover.


My overall impressions of the book:  well-written, bluntly stated, common sense advice that might be hard to hear for many but couched in dry, humorous, often irreverent narrative.  Each section follows a very precise format of introduction, list of what people would like in a dream-world, list of achievable goals, 3 real-life examples (which are amalgamations of patient stories, and therefore anonymous), further discussion relevant to those three examples, and finally, a form letter you can send/read to yourself or whomever it is that's driving you bonkers.  Sometimes there are charts of appropriate and inappropriate responses to certain situations and boxed out areas of additional information.


This makes for an extraordinarily organised layout, and the writing is hilarious, but it also makes for a repetition that I often found tedious, making the book easy to put down which meant it stayed on my currently reading list for approximately 300 times longer than it should have.  Still there was a lot of good, solid information and truth to be found and a section or two (or three) will definitely be referred back to in the future.

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review 2015-10-31 22:51
Halloween Party Book Set by James Livingood
Halloween Party Book Set - James Livingood,Michael Gilboe,J. Scott Bennett,Bryan Patrick Jones,Paperbackward

This audiobook contains three short stories, Frankenstein: IT Support,Swamp Monster Vodoo, and Vampire Caving.

Frankenstein: IT Support – Adam, Frankenstein’s monster, has survived to the modern times and works in IT at McTech. Through out the day, Adam answers several IT calls and deals with socially awkward coworkers.The pacing of this story was pretty slow, mimicking how boring Adam’s job is. The jokes came in two flavors – those about Adam and his love of ingesting electricity, and those about IT work and the dumb questions consumers call in with. There were also a few puns thrown in. I found the humor very predictable and therefore, it fell flat for me. Perhaps this story would go over well with small kids.

Swamp Monster Vodoo – The Swamp Monster was taken in by a vodoo master, who mentored him in the magic and in the cheat. They were partners of a sort, providing info from the other side to family members seeking lost treasure in the swamp. However, very soon into the story, the two must part ways. Swamp Monster, being large, green, and a little smelly, sets up a little cabin in the swamp. Pretty soon he is providing favors to the dead in exchange for buried treasure. Yet he doesn’t take into account that a certain ghost may be after something more. This was a pretty clever tale. I liked that it started off in on e place, and that gave me certain expectations, but ended in a completely different place. I quite enjoyed the journey between the two.

Vampire Caving – Bernie and Richard are turned in to vampires the 1920s by some nameless, yet pretty, woman who took them home one night after drinks. Then the story skips ahead to modern times. Bernie is a Hot Head, exploring the world and trying not to get burned by the sun. Meanwhile, Richard became a Doomsdayer, one of those vampires that prefers to set up a fancy nest and never leave. The Hot Heads provide new tech and knowledge to the Doomsdayers and the Doomsdayers treat the Hot Heads like royalty. Bernie continues to seek out the origins of vampires. He’s put a lot into it – studying history and languages. Richard has dug up a possible lead and hands that off to Bernie. The clue is a cave and Bernie suits up and starts exploring. What Bernie finds in the cave is totally unexpected – but him or me! But I really liked what the story did with this mystery cave. In fact, I am going to say there is some pretty beautiful myth building that goes on in this tale. I was impressed.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Michael Gilboe did a good job being Adam, Frankenstein’s monster, and ponderously moving through the day. He came off as lovable lummox and I felt that was and exact match for the text. J. Scott Bennett had a great voice for the Swamp Monster, bringing a bayou twang to it. I especially liked his voice for Granma Rose. Brian Patrick Jones did a really good job with the story Vampire Cave.  I liked his voices for what Bernie found in the cave. The intro and the little bit at the end after the completion of Vampire Cavingwere both in lower volume for some reason. That’s my only little quibble with the audio production. Each story came with it’s own little bits of music and I quite liked this little touch. 

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