Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Ruin Your Life” as Want to Read:
How to Ruin Your Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How to Ruin Your Life

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  331 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
This book is a collection of Ben Stein’s “How To Ruin” Series: · How to Ruin Your Life · How to Ruin Your Love Life · How to Ruin Your Financial Life These books will not only make you laugh out loud, they will allow you to honestly assess your life. Learn from these books—and for heaven’s sake, do the opposite right now!
Hardcover, 110 pages
Published September 29th 2002 by Hay House
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How to Ruin Your Life, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How to Ruin Your Life

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 28, 2013 Yasemin rated it liked it

Just what I needed after a few heavy-reads.
I am thinking about passing this to at least 2 people I know very closely. Then again, it might backfire and "ruin my life" LOL

I wish there was a post-millennium version of the series so that the "methods" could include:
1-Mindless social networking
2-Getting in grave-debt for stuff you don't need
3-Voting for the Conservatives
Joe Juarez
Oct 08, 2012 Joe Juarez rated it it was amazing
You've been in my house for a long time, why didn't I read you sooner?

And it's a good thing I did. Ben Stein has done himself a great deal by writing a book about how the selfish could get their way (which some people - one I am thinking about now - do).

I know this book is meant as a joke. But really, what person would follow this 35 chapters of self-destruction? I think I answered that question above.

But for anyone that was warned about their selfishness, this book is highly recommended. It ma
Dec 03, 2007 Hope rated it liked it
I went through a Ben Stein phase where he and I used to email back and forth. He came here to give a speech and I left my copy of "Tommy and Me" he had previously sent me in the car so my sister bought this for me so I'd have something to get signed.

This book is a quick read and it really is good advice, BUT it is all given sarcastically and I tend to not like sarcastic humor, and am finding I don't like sarcastic advice either through this book and also through another one I have going called "
Mar 29, 2009 Shelleen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone needing a reminder that they are not all important, teenagers in my ward
After reading the first ten pages, I was ready to give this book 5 stars. It is self-help in reverse. It is how to self-destruct and not be successful. He gived 35 steps to ruin your life. But in the end, I think it boiled down to step number 3 Convince yourself that you are the center of the universe. All his other steps refer to this one and makeing sure you do not think about anyone else but yourself.
Mickey Reed
Mar 13, 2011 Mickey Reed rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, 2011
Ben Stein's reverse-psychology self-help book is hysterically spot-on. Taking this from the opposite point of view really makes the reader pay attention and perhaps even see more clearly their own behavior. Very interesting take. I do believe that a bunch of people in my own life need to read this one. Goodness! Exactly how I've been feeling lately.
Kim Lindsay
Feb 03, 2011 Kim Lindsay rated it liked it
I liked the tongue-in-cheek prose, but I felt like it would have been better as a 50-page book.
Stephanne Stacey
Jul 26, 2016 Stephanne Stacey rated it liked it
So if your a personality that is always really hard on yourself, DON'T READ THIS BOOK! Otherwise it's really a great slap in your face. With 35 ways to ruin your life, you would really have to be a self-centered, delusional, narcissistic person (and I know I'm being repetitive) not to have a few of these hit home. I only gave it 3 stars because I think that there really ought to be a disclaimer on it to warn the weak of heart. I honestly can see someone read this and break into tears because the ...more
Oct 12, 2011 Marvin rated it liked it
Shelves: humor
This is cute. I like Ben Stein's sarcastic humor despite the execrable documentary Expelled. Mr. Stein notes 35 tips on how to be a failure, all of them common sense. Yet, as a social worker, I know common sense is not as common as it sounds. Of course, one way to ruin your life (my tip, not Mr. Stein's) is to never read. So the ones who need this book will never read it. Such is life.

Since Mr. Stein's tips are a bit common sense and all-encompassing, I decided to impart my own wisdom (using Ste
Leigh Ann Wilson, Ph.D.
Apr 01, 2011 Leigh Ann Wilson, Ph.D. rated it really liked it
This book is such a fun read, particularly if you like Ben Stein's dry humor. If you know his seedy past of drug addiction and how he overcame it, this little book is even more meaningful; you are reading advice from someone who *knows* what it's like to be down. Plus he's adamantly pro-life and conservative, which ordinarily would cause me to hesitate before reading anything he's done for fear of moral damnation. :)

This book would also be a neat little gift for teenagers or young adults heading
Jen Jenson
This was an obnoxious book. Ok, so I giggled a few times at first but really it was negative. I know it’s a plan to ruin your life, and that it is. I figured it would be written slightly different. I was annoyed the whole way through, but it was so short that I just finished it. Sad thing is there are many many people that I know that this book described to a T, and perhaps this book might be beneficial to them a) might give them an eye opener… or b) make them even worse. I don’t recommend this ...more
Heather-lin Brannon
Jan 26, 2016 Heather-lin Brannon rated it it was ok
An interesting attempt, an anti-self help book. A few times wonderfully funny, the rest was somewhat tedious. Some of the admonitions - excuse me - RECOMMENDATIONS revealed the author's ideological prejudices. That's fine. The real flaw in this book is that it could've been so much better, so much funnier, wry and heartbreaking, had the author thoughtfully looked to incorporate the huge untapped pool of self destructive tendencies out there, rather than zeroing in on his chosen few. Ah well. It' ...more
Jun 30, 2014 Paul rated it liked it
Overall I found it humorous and a decent read.

I think the idea could've been better utilized in an allegory or fable-style fashion with more cautionary tales, rather than a series of sardonic one-liners, but I still found it amusing.

I took one star off at the end due to the knock at vegans & agnostics/atheists. While it's never good form to slam your political, religious, & idealist opinions in a holier-than though attitude, I felt Ben was ironically doing this by dogging these viewpoint
Joshua Woodbury
Nov 02, 2010 Joshua Woodbury rated it liked it
This short self help book aims to teach the secret to happiness by demonstrating conduct certain to lead to loneliness, conflict, and unhappiness. I would have lost interest had the book been lengthy, but it is very short, and chapters like convince yourself you are the center of the universe, fight the good fight over everything, and criticize early and often, made it worthwhile.
Stephen B
Apr 15, 2012 Stephen B rated it did not like it
This is maybe one of the worst books I've ever read, while stein has good delivery for his trademark tone this book becomes repetitive very quickly. Stein Espouses obvious advice like "Don't save any money." Yes, thank you, I know things like saving money and being nice to people are important. Duh.
P.M. Bradshaw
Mar 18, 2012 P.M. Bradshaw rated it it was ok
I really like Ben Stein. This book, however, was just okay.

Stein's sarcastic delivery is very funny, particularly if you can hear his voice in your head as you read it. But the premise is kind of a one-trick-pony, and wears thin even at only 110 pages.

It's worth few chuckles and 45 minutes of your life, but not much more than that.
Daniel Currie
I listened to the 1CD audiobook version of this book.

Ben intends to tell you what to do thru telling you what not to do, hence the title.

Even at 1CD, it gets tiresome listening to him tell you all the stupid things to do to ruin your life. There are a few funny moments, but not nearly enough.
Feb 12, 2015 Peter rated it liked it
I've liked Ben Stein's style since the highly underrated game show Win Ben Stein's Money. This was great for a laugh and had some valuable and appropriate points laid out in an entertaining, slightly hyperbolized truth.
Feb 16, 2008 Yan rated it liked it
It is a very short book, listed all the possible things a person can do to ruin his/her life. Many of the points are already common senses to many people including myself, but there are a few that remind me that I sometimes also do things that can ruin life, which I should be aware of and avoid.
Jan 28, 2008 Mike rated it liked it
This book is just gushing with quality advise like, "Make the people around you feel small" and "Don't save any money" and other gems like, "Remember that no one else counts".

This is just a little tongue n cheek look at how people go about causing themselves a lot of trouble in life.
May 18, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
I've always enjoyed Ben's style of humorous. This little "guide book" would be good for a few people I know! lol
Mar 29, 2012 Kathleen rated it liked it
Ben Stein's wit is outrageous and fun. The book also had tons of excellent advice. The only thing that got tiresome after a while was that all of the advice was given in the form of sarcasm.
Nov 19, 2008 Carol rated it really liked it
this is kind of a fun book :)
Feb 21, 2009 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog-shelf
Straightforward, to the point, true, and completely hysterical. :-)
Ashley C.
Dec 27, 2015 Ashley C. rated it it was ok
Meh. I love Ben Stein and was looking forward to this one so I listened to the audiobook and it just kind of underwhelmed me.
Apr 02, 2016 Edgar rated it liked it
If you want to ruin your life this is the book to read.
Sep 05, 2013 Dawn rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
This book started off very well, but it got repetitive which made finishing it a bit of a chore.
Erika Batey
Oct 13, 2007 Erika Batey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Dry, Witty, and Hilarious - (like Ben)
Jul 10, 2015 Tim rated it liked it
A very good, sarcastic guide to the attitudes and behaviors so often associated with ruined lives. This is an excellent book and deserves a wide readership. Read and learn.
Kristi Willard
Sep 11, 2009 Kristi Willard rated it it was amazing
Graduate from high school, don't have children before you're married, and stay married. These are the three keys to staying above the poverty line. Who knew?
Jul 18, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it
While Ben meant for this to be a work of satire, unfortunately people really do follow his plan to ruin one's live and behave in the manners suggested in this book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • How to Tell if Your Boyfriend Is the Antichrist
  • Do It!: Let's Get Off Our Buts
  • Dogbert's Clues for the Clueless
  • The Lie: Evolution
  • Finding Kansas: Decoding the Enigma of Asperger's Syndrome
  • Why Me, Why This, Why Now?: A Guide to Answering Life's Toughest Questions
  • God Doesn't Believe in Atheists
  • Happy: Simple Steps to Get the Most Out of Life
  • Gesundheit!: Bringing Good Health to You, the Medical System, and Society through Physician Service, Complementary Therapies, Humor, and Joy
  • Tower of Basel: The Inside Story of the Central Bankers' Secret Bank
  • Why Your Life Sucks
  • How to Be an Adult: A Handbook on Psychological and Spiritual Integration
  • Dead Doctors Don't Lie
  • How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything, Yes Anything
  • How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (And They Will)
  • What Is Goth?
  • Inside Inside
  • The Curse of Madame "C"
Jewish-American economic and political commentator, writer, actor and attorney. He gained early success as a speechwriter for American presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Later he entered the entertainment field and became an Emmy Award-winning actor, comedian, and game show host. He is famous for his monotonous yet humorous voice in acting.

Stein has frequently written commentaries on econom
More about Ben Stein...

Share This Book