12 August 2012

The Nerdist Way

The Nerdist Way40. The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Hmm. I would have given this a three if he'd left out his handful of sexist jokes which popped up like periodic road blocks saying, "Why are you giving this book your time?!" It's a fair question since it's another self-help book where the author's credentials are only his experiences.

My impression of Chris Hardwick from a few episodes I've seen of The Nerdist on BBC-A are that he is not sexist. I believe he was sincere when he wrote that he wants to help people feel better with his book.

Why then include some sexist jokes? They feel like the jokes male comedians still feel compelled to tell if only to bond with each other. Or as a way to bond with other men in general. The various dick and balls jokes would fall in this realm too.

It would be easy to say I'm overreacting, but I bring it up because it made me feel that this book was aimed at male nerds rather than all nerds. Also the sexist jokes, and let me stress here that there were only about 5-10, were nonetheless off-putting and did not make me feel better. I leave that to Chris Hardwick to consider.

Intentional or unintentional sexism aside, there's quite a bit of value to the book. It's broken into three sections: Mind, Body, and Time. In them, Hardwick relays stories from his journey and shares his nerd-style approaches to changing from drifting, drunk chubster to successful, sober fit guy. I wasn't familiar with his past, so I found a lot of these back stories really interesting. He talks about aimlessness, panic attacks, and drinking among other things.

Though I grokked 95% of his nerdy references, I think his exercises (he calls them "charactercizes") favor people into RPGs. (His book is peppered with tasks to help the reader put his suggestions into action.)

I really enjoyed his interview with Trainer Tom in the Body section. There are even workouts with diagrams. They are actually described quite well.

My favorite thing from the book is, "Oh, lizard almonds! Won't you EVER learn?! Now, back to the cave with you, or I'll make you stare at yawning kitty videos for a half hour!" (For context, check out the grey box on page 40, hardcover edition.) It's in the Mind section which I found most useful with its tips to trick your brain into productivity and out of anger, anxiety, and the like.

For me, this book is very much a take what's useful and ditch the rest affair. What's useful will vary from nerd to nerd, but may make this book worth a look.


A year ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #79: 50% for 50-for-50

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