I'm a fan of Hardwick's standup, so I knew I would probably enjoy the performance and comedy aspects of the book. What I didn't expect was for it to be so damn useful. I got plenty of laughs, but so many of the strategies he suggests for managing one's life and productivity are really, truly valuable, especially since it is written specifically for those of us who to have a very particular sort of "nerd brain": hyper-aware obsessives who are equally creative and scientific in their interests and skills. Bonus: he makes it very fun, which is essential ingredient in getting any results when embarking on any self improvement odyssey. It's a lot easier to do the work when it doesn't all feel like someone has a Gom Jabar pointed at your jugular.
Having been drawn to books like Getting Things Done, The Four Hour Body and numerous other self help books about getting organized and systematic in my chronic and withered attempts to embrace adulthood, this has similar advice, but it is really laser focused for what he referes to as the "nerd brain", i.e., analytic yet creative thinkers who tend to be somewhat compulsive in their interests, motivated by systemic rewards systems (i.e., those of us who live for progress bars and experience points). Because his brain also works this way, he is remarkably insightful in not only giving advice that would actually work for this particular mindset, but also breaking down the WHY'S of what he proposes. For example, when discussing managing anxiety and panic attacks, two conditions he personally suffers from, he doesn't just tell you to "take a deep breath" and meditate; he actually tells you the physiological reasons that taking deep, slow breaths can conquer a panic attack (i.e., flooding the blood with oxygen,which will help neutralize the biochemicals that are flooding your system when you have an attack). For folks like me who need to analyze and understand processes, this sort of information is absolutely vital for not only grasping what is happening to you, but how you can change it, allowing you to focus on the PROCESS rather than just following instructions. While many might find the whole idea of "DMing" your life (i.e., Dungeons and Dragons style character profiling of yourself and your goals and using a similar progress reward system) as somewhat juvenile, anybody who has spend 8 hours straight playing a video game and feeling like they accomplished something will likely find value in the approach.
Aw, Hardwick is like a very smart, funny and adorable Golden Retriever that you just want to go to the park with and then you discover he can open refrigerators, douse water and diagnose blood diseases with just his nose. I mean, I knew the guy was very funny, but I had no idea how much I would respond to the actual advice and tips in the book and that I would actively implement them into my life. A lot of it is very serious advice, whether it's about career goals, health, managing stress and anxiety or just getting out of your own way. Because he presents it interwoven with the geek humor he is known for and a multitude of personal anecdotes about his own triumphs and soul crushing defeats, you are thoroughly entertained while getting introduced to concepts that could indeed improve the quality of your life. Oh, and also, maybe get some nerd tail.
I'M IN YOUR HEAD,NERD
If you like Hardwick already, you'll like the entertainment value of the book, but it's likely you can get a lot of great tips from it as well. It does reference a lot of content in the physical book, but you can go the the Nerdist Way site to access what he is referencing. Finally, Lizard Brain.
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