Neil Pasricha followed a unique path to fame and fortune. He tells plenty of his own story in his latest book, which focuses on resilience. You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life was a mixed bag for me. Ultimately Pasricha grew on me, and I think his stories, advice, and tone work for a lot of 20-to-30 year olds.

Resilience is a life skill that’s hard to teach. It’s a learn as you go skill, because there’s often no way to prepare yourself for the moments when you need it most. But it can be learned early, as in the stories of Pasricha’s parents. And we usually have to tap into our resilience many times throughout life. In that sense, this is a book for everyone.

Pasricha balances the advice, which he boils down to nine steps, with examples from his own life. He often quotes other authors and throws in some scholarly studies as well. Best of all, he keeps the tone light and conversational. It’s an easy read, even though accessing resilience rarely happens in the fun parts of life.

My conclusions

The world is chock full of self-help books, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. Are we honestly this messed up? Maybe. You Are Awesome stakes out some original territory, and also retreads some typical fare. One of the steps from Pasricha edges right up to Byron Katie’s work, but simplifies the concepts.

On the other hand, I am thrilled that Pasricha didn’t use any Power of Attraction principles. He never says anything like, “You need to be resilient, but you can also stop bad things from happening by ‘attracting’ events with your thoughts.” He just side steps that whole concept. He also doesn’t throw the blame on you when things go badly. Rather, he offers skills to bounce back from whatever life throws your way.

It makes sense for Pasricha to use his own life examples as he explains his steps. But, they are failures in a relatively privileged life. Thus, they may not relate to people in a broader group of communities. For example, plenty of people can’t start a restaurant with their dad when they get fired. That option requires significant resources. But if you can look past the examples, I think the steps are sound.

As I said earlier, Pasricha grew on me as the book progressed. His relationship stories and the related resilience steps connected with my own experiences, especially divorce and remarriage. Leading the principles towards an intentional life worked for me, and reflected changes I’ve previously implemented.

Life is often tough, and the world needs more inspiring ideas like these from Neil Pasricha. If you’re looking for an easygoing book about resilience and similar life skills, for yourself or a young person, this is worth a look.

Pair with Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich and Resilient by Rick Hanson, PhD.

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Gallery Books and the author for the opportunity to read a digital ARC in exchange for this honest review.