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Lose Well

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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 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 achieve this widely accepted, black-or-white, definition of winning, which makes us feel like failures, that we’re destined to a life of loserdom. That’s the conventional wisdom. It’s also crap, according to comedian and cult hero Chris Gethard, who knows a thing of two about losing. Failing is an art form, he argues; in fact, it’s the only the way we’re ever going to discover who we are, what we really want, and how to live the kind of life we only dreamed about. Setting flame to vision boards and tossing out the "seven simple steps" to achieving anything, the host of the eponymous Trutv talk show and the wildly popular podcast Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People illustrates his personal and professional manifesto with hilarious and ultimately empowering stories about his own set-backs, missteps, and public failures, from the cancellation of his Comedy Central sitcom after seven episodes to rediscovering his comedic voice and life’s purpose on a public access channel. With his trademark wit and inspiring storytelling—a cross between David Sedaris and Jenny Lawson—Gethard teaches us how to power through our own hero’s journey, whether we’re a fifteen-year-old starting a punk band or a fifty-year-old mother of three launching an Etsy page. In the process, he shows us how to fail with grace, laugh on the way down, and as we dust ourselves off, how to transform inevitable failures into endless opportunities. It might get a little messy, but that’s exactly the point. Because the first step in living on your own terms is learning how to lose well, and more often than not, the revolutionary act of failing lets us witness firsthand what awaits us on the other side.


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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 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 achieve this widely accepted, black-or-white, definition of winning, which makes us feel like failures, that we’re destined to a life of loserdom. That’s the conventional wisdom. It’s also crap, according to comedian and cult hero Chris Gethard, who knows a thing of two about losing. Failing is an art form, he argues; in fact, it’s the only the way we’re ever going to discover who we are, what we really want, and how to live the kind of life we only dreamed about. Setting flame to vision boards and tossing out the "seven simple steps" to achieving anything, the host of the eponymous Trutv talk show and the wildly popular podcast Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People illustrates his personal and professional manifesto with hilarious and ultimately empowering stories about his own set-backs, missteps, and public failures, from the cancellation of his Comedy Central sitcom after seven episodes to rediscovering his comedic voice and life’s purpose on a public access channel. With his trademark wit and inspiring storytelling—a cross between David Sedaris and Jenny Lawson—Gethard teaches us how to power through our own hero’s journey, whether we’re a fifteen-year-old starting a punk band or a fifty-year-old mother of three launching an Etsy page. In the process, he shows us how to fail with grace, laugh on the way down, and as we dust ourselves off, how to transform inevitable failures into endless opportunities. It might get a little messy, but that’s exactly the point. Because the first step in living on your own terms is learning how to lose well, and more often than not, the revolutionary act of failing lets us witness firsthand what awaits us on the other side.

30 review for Lose Well

  1. 5 out of 5

    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.

  2. 5 out of 5

    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!

  3. 5 out of 5

    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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    I received a complimentary advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. While Gethard is known for The Chris Gethard Show and the Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People podcast, I’m only familiar with him as musical-guest-Jeff-Rosenstock-host and author of the consistently funny A Bad Thing I’m About To Do. 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 The Chris Gethard Show and the Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People podcast, I’m only familiar with him as musical-guest-Jeff-Rosenstock-host and author of the consistently funny A Bad Thing I’m About To Do. 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 A Bad Idea…, 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Katie Palazzolo

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A 3 for me, but I think it would be higher for fans of Chris Gethard. I enjoy his stand-up but don't follow much of his other projects. A friend of mine is really into him and I know he will love the book, so if you're a big fan of Chris you'll love the book. It was a little cliche for me, but Chris kinda owns up to that and still fills it with inspiring stories and advice to push you forward and make him that much more relatable. Definitely worth checking out. Sad to hear that The Chris Gethard S A 3 for me, but I think it would be higher for fans of Chris Gethard. I enjoy his stand-up but don't follow much of his other projects. A friend of mine is really into him and I know he will love the book, so if you're a big fan of Chris you'll love the book. It was a little cliche for me, but Chris kinda owns up to that and still fills it with inspiring stories and advice to push you forward and make him that much more relatable. Definitely worth checking out. Sad to hear that The Chris Gethard Show got cancelled, so I have a feeling there will be changes from the ARC I read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Odi Shonga

    A blend of self-help and memoir for outsiders with lofty ambitions. Thesis: you will lose and you will suffer. It will not be fun, and it might not even necessarily lead to quote-unquote success. But beauty can come from it. By confronting the fear and taking risks, you can lead an enriched life that produces personally valuable stories and connections. By not letting losing (or the fear thereof) overwhelm you, you can give yourself the opportunity to lose your way up. Sure, that sounds very tri A blend of self-help and memoir for outsiders with lofty ambitions. Thesis: you will lose and you will suffer. It will not be fun, and it might not even necessarily lead to quote-unquote success. But beauty can come from it. By confronting the fear and taking risks, you can lead an enriched life that produces personally valuable stories and connections. By not letting losing (or the fear thereof) overwhelm you, you can give yourself the opportunity to lose your way up. Sure, that sounds very trite — the sort of thing you roll your eyes at because it’s easier said than done — but Chris Gethard has a way of transforming would-be bullshit self-help spiel into down-to-earth, hilarious inspiration. He’s not some overly-tanned charlatan in a suit, but rather some plucky weird kid who somehow made it and wants to stick it to the suits by giving other outsiders motivation to fumble their way in. He’s telling you his story that you go onto create your own. 5/5

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Listened to the audiobook of this one, which I'm glad I did. After the book there were some good interviews with some of the folks mentioned in the text. It gave some good context and addressed the fact that The Chris Gethard Show got canceled between the writing of the book and the recording of the audiobook. I'm a big fan of that show and Gethard in general. His Career Suicide is one of the best standup specials to my mind. I enjoyed the memoirish bits of this more than the motivational bits, Listened to the audiobook of this one, which I'm glad I did. After the book there were some good interviews with some of the folks mentioned in the text. It gave some good context and addressed the fact that The Chris Gethard Show got canceled between the writing of the book and the recording of the audiobook. I'm a big fan of that show and Gethard in general. His Career Suicide is one of the best standup specials to my mind. I enjoyed the memoirish bits of this more than the motivational bits, but it is pretty good overall!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andy Winder

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brian Anderson

    I’m a huge Gethard fan and placed this book on hold before the library even had a copy. Overall I thought it was a good effort at a “motivational/inspirational” book. It was obvious the publishers were trying to make it longer- lots of 2 page chapters. If he would have concentrated on specific experiences and the lessons learned, it would have been a much better book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mike Kostka

    This book helped me in so many ways. When your trying to get what you want in life keep chipping away until you get it. It’s never too late. “I regret some of the things I’ve done, but I will never regret the things I haven’t done. Because anything I’ve wanted to try, I’ve tried it. I failed often. I failed proudly. I lost well.”

  12. 5 out of 5

    Roger Bailey

    The self help angle falls flat sometimes, but Gethard has made a career of going all out; missing the mark comes along with that risk. At its heart there are good stories. If you didn't read his first book do that first.

  13. 5 out of 5

    James Hunt

    "Crushing It" for emotional weirdos.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nick Riccardo

  16. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul O'Regan

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Timmy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Belinda

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ollie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joe Bradley

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Dandy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Paul Munson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ellena

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katrin

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