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Stuck: Why We Can't (or Won't) Move on

3.08  ·  Rating Details ·  261 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
"The brilliant mind behind "Party of One" examines the striking social trend: people are stuck and they want to change, but..." ("San Francisco Chronicle")
In this book, Anneli Rufus identifies an intriguing aspect of our culture: Many of us are stuck. Be it in the wrong relationship, career, or town, or just with bad habits we can't seem to quit, we even say we want to m
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ebook, 336 pages
Published December 26th 2008 by Tarcher (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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David
Aug 09, 2009 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Truth be told, I did not finish reading this book, but I read enough to get a sense of its limited capabilities.

The book is far more anecdotal than insightful. "Stuck" relies heavily upon personal stories of the author and her friends/family, and superfluous film references, illustrating the notion of what it is to be stuck -- and it fails. Miserably.

This book could have benefited greatly from including such things as: stories from those who made successful strides after becoming unstuck in thei
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Therese
The author ponders different forms of "stuckness" - habits, addictions, traumatic memories, relationships, jobs. Her writing style was interesting and often engaging, but sometimes she came across as just a little bit "judgey," though it also seemed she was trying very hard to give balanced discussions and avoid coming across as judgmental. In the chapter on habits and addictions, she is skeptical of the model of addiction as disease and searchingly questions the claim that people sometimes have ...more
Wellington
Sep 08, 2009 Wellington rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

OK, I must admit that it took me a while to get into this book. I thought of returning it many times to the library but just never did mainly because I just didn't have any errands to do near the library.

As the title suggests, it's a book about being stuck. The authors pulls stories from all over the place and I think it became mostly a personal narrative. I would read one story and think this book was trivial. Inane. Silly. However, the next story would make me pause and make me excited (or sic
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Rebecca
Apr 15, 2010 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
while this looks like a self help book, and that is where it is shelved at my barnes and noble, i'd say this is more than just a simple self help book. First off, it's not simple.

this looks, very carefully and with a critical eye, to the different ways a person may be stuck, what can make them stuck, the effects, and eventually how to become unstuck.

there is no self help guru yelling at you, chanting at you, telling you to meditate five times a day and it will go away, or if you stop eating __
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Marie
Jul 22, 2014 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was interesting, though with a few too many anecdotes in my opinion (though that does indicate the book was well researched). Though she doesn't really offer any concrete advice for getting unstuck, however I think that that is because there ISN'T a clear answer, and even if there was, it varies due to individual circumstances of being stuck. Furthermore, I suspect that often people DO know of actions they could take to become unstuck: the hard part is actually doing it. With this book ...more
Claudia
Apr 18, 2010 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It isn't really self help, it's more like social commentary and memoir mixed like a Chuck Klostermann book but on one topic. Besides being on the topic stuck, Rufus writes without any organization, or any final revelation, but her style like the picture she paints of herself, is transparent and sincere. The book is refreshing and not unlike sharing a night of long talks with an intuitive and thoughtful good friend. I found many of the stories and ideas were insightful and the ending was a little ...more
Pete Jacob
Feb 16, 2016 Pete Jacob rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One good thing did come from reading this book, I was able to move on with my life and release my frustration from reading this book. The first couple hundred pages or so was actually pretty interesting after that things got pretty redundant, kind of like being trapped in some inter dimensional salt water taffy soup.
Janet
This book was more social commentary than a guide to how to get out of your rut, but nonetheless I did copy the first chapter for my sister. I've contemplated buying it for her, but guess that she'd be offended.
Rochel
Dec 14, 2016 Rochel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of this book was interesting but some of it was just the author's ramblings. Although I agreed with a lot of her opinions, I didn't feel like it was a very organized and helpful book.
Lize
Jul 21, 2010 Lize rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I was surprised at how intensely I disliked this book, since I enjoyed two others by the same author (Party of One, The Farewell Chronicles). I can’t decide whether it was the rambly style (it’s part confessional memoir, self-help, rant, screed, anecdote and changes minute by minute—Islamic fundamentalism, Charlotte Bronte and a personal anecdote about her past can share the same page) or the sanctimony that fairly drips from each page.

“If in these pages I appear ungentle, forgive me. I am my o
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Thomas Holbrook
The title of this book caught my attention. Initially, I thought it would be another “self-help” book wherein I could obtain some bit of insight, a new exercise or technique that could help those with whom I sit to progress toward their hoped for goals. I had aspirations, too, of gaining strength toward protecting myself from becoming “stuck” as I have found myself on occasion in various situations. What I found within the pages of this work was a reflection upon the reality of being unable to ...more
Jennifer
Jul 01, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I decided on two stars for this book, because I didn't feel like she spend enough time on how to un-stick ourselves. The book is true to the title--why we are stuck and the myriad of ways that we become stuck--but I did wish she'd have spent time talking about becoming unstuck. I guess there isn't enough data or stories about that because we're all stuck in some way or another. The trick is to find happiness in being in the place we're in. At least that seems to be the underlying message.

I did l
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River Kirsch
Sep 12, 2016 River Kirsch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Earlier this year I got a copy of Anneli Rufus' UnWorthy. It was a super difficult read for me, but stuff I think I needed to hear (again). Sometimes reading one sentence from that book was enough for a day, a week I need that time to absorb it, to take it into my life, my past and really turn it over in my head. Stuck is similarly chewy, not something you can zip through in an afternoon. There will be some things that you need to sit with, mull over. If you have that feeling of being stuck thou ...more
Maryann
I picked this book up while perusing the "last chance" section at Barnes and Noble. It is not a self-help book, it's a treatise on how and why we're stuck in various arenas of our lives- job, relationships, bad habits, etc. Well-researched and easy to read, a lot of what Rufus has to say makes sense. One of the sections I found very interesting was about the impact capitalism (and it's opposites) have had on monogamy. As the author says, "Companies with goods and services to sell hate happy coup ...more
Jason
May 22, 2010 Jason rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes in life we get stuck: on people, on relationships, on places, on habits. Sometimes we get stuck in the past or on fear of the future. Rufus's book details tales of stuck-ness and illustrates how ridiculous and self-serving they appear when viewed objectively from the outside. Stuck-ness is an action not an affect; we cause ourselves to be stuck and only we can change our attitude and get unstuck. There are many ways to live life and there are many fish in the sea. Realizing this often ...more
CJ
Aug 06, 2009 CJ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-books
I found this book while cruising the self help section at my local book store. Sometimes I go there just to make myself feel better about all the books I DON'T need.

I like the premise of this book - that if you name why you're stuck you can work your way out of it. Rufus uses a lot of personal stories as examples of stuckness which I found very interesting reading. Unfortunately, the book turns into a rant of why we're all stuck but doesn't provide any help getting unstuck. I understand that we
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Elizabeth
Interesting essays on things we get stuck on--habits, people, trauma, etc. Rufus includes into numerous personal anecdotes. These are well written, and wouldn't have been a problem if the text were shorter by about 1/3. She can be redundant. For instance (p.165):



"These days, trauma is a commodity. Pain is a status symbol. Suffering brings brownie points. Losers are winners now. We suckle on stories of suffering. Ours, theirs."



The first sentence, or possibly first two sentences, are more than en
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Susan
Jan 17, 2016 Susan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Goodreads really should have an 'I tried to read this book but it was so bad that I could not even think of finishing it' option.

This book was so bad I managed to get somewhat into the first chapter before giving it up for a waste of time. The idea that 'name calling in the name of helping you become a better person' is the classic definition of bullying behaviour. Why would I want to read a book by a bully? Who needs that type of negative energy in life, and why would I, or anyone, invite it in
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Melody
Dec 09, 2010 Melody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unlike the cover might seem to suggest, this is not really one of those feel-good self-help books about how to move forward when you're stuck in a particular habit (or job). While it does contain stories of folks who have come unstuck, it is more of a look (and sometimes rant) at how society sets traps to "stick" us, from marketing techniques to the glorification of addiction. I liked the book because it gave credence to thoughts I already had and left me with many more to ponder. If you find th ...more
Jack Politis
Apr 23, 2010 Jack Politis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really interesting read even if only for Anneli's observations on the patterns of behavior people fall into. Concepts revolving around 'stuckness' predominated, but not always in the form you would expect. Some of the ways she described people becoming 'stuck' involved inabilities to recognize the value in staying with something, that in itself leading to destructive and repeated courses of action, and these both supplemented and fleshed out the more readily apparent manifestation's o ...more
Jeff
So far this is an interesting read: Rufus is giving us an almost stream-of-thought take on "being stuck"--including information gleaned from interviews combined with her own take on her own stuck-ness. I like how she flows from examples of others right into her own story, which resonates enough with me to make any review pretty biased. :)

That said, the book definitely has a patchwork kind of structure. I generally prefer more of a definite structure in non-fiction, but her personal reveals are e
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Natasha W
I liked this book. It was good. (i'd say 3.5 stars). In any case, I'm not sure the book really followed the title. Either that or I had a different idea of what stuck meant to me and the author had a different idea. But alot of the points she brought up I agree with. There were some arguments I didn't agree with. but all in all, I have many similar views. I don't want to get into a discussion here or this review would be way too long. Suffice to say, this is an interesting book, with some very f ...more
Danna
Oct 09, 2011 Danna is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This year and the next, I've challenged myself to read more non-fiction. All about why we can't or won't make changes, Stuck qualifies as part of my reading more non-fiction challenge, with the added bonus of a disclaimer: "This is not a self-help book..." according to one author/critic. Stuck is also one of six books I'm reading simultaneously for the Lipstick Pages Lit Review. Personal deadline: Six reviews published in three weeks. Then more selections for review...
Corrie
Dec 29, 2010 Corrie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thought-provoking at times but she ends the book relating that her friend who was always stuck committed suicide.

Cannot think of a worse way for the book to end. Obviously I feel sad for that woman but much of the book is light-hearted and refers to the world at large so there is not enough information given about individuals. The way the author writes her friend's story makes that woman's preoccupations seem shallow. I would not want to be described in that manner by my friend.
Jenna Woodbury
Feb 18, 2009 Jenna Woodbury rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was terrible, and I couldn't bring myself to finish it. While I agree with some of the points the author makes, I stopped reading when she mentioned the business in Scandinavian where one can go and have sex with animals. I don't believe it. Many other statements she makes are sweeping generalizations and gradiose statements. And, it was boring, to boot! This book is a waste of time.
Faythe Swanson
Jul 28, 2011 Faythe Swanson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a waste of 310 pages! The best part of the book was the epilogue! When I began this book, I was hoping to be inspired. Instead, I felt bored 99% of the time. It didn't give any advice as to how to become unstuck. Rather, it went on & on & on about people who were stuck in some way or another (who cares!?). When it comes down to it, this book made me feel stuck!
Sally
Feb 28, 2010 Sally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of all things -- the cover of this book caught my eye. It is a very close up shot of a bumblebee stuck on the top of a yellow tootsie roll pop - made me laugh out loud! Judge this book by its cover. Well written, original thinking, topical and relevant to today, there are so many great lines/thoughts in this book, I wouldn't know where to start...
LemontreeLime
I love how Mz. Rufus can work a perspective, she can cast a hundred different things you had left filed under 'assumption' and make you question how you could've been so sure about them. This is a strange little book, with a slow start, but look out - by the time she reaches the middle you are on a rocket train of reminders of all the little things you forgot. Worth the ride.
Ruzz
Jul 27, 2010 Ruzz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, 2010, ebook, kobo
"What I Learned from this book", that with the right amount of cultural zeitgeist in your title, you can ramble on and on about nearly anything without actually saying anything, land a book deal, get published, and waste my time.

as an act in the spirit of the title of the book I got unstuck from the idea of reading it about half way through.
Aljan
Jan 17, 2016 Aljan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If I could rate this one 'it was OK', I would. There are some shining tidbits to be found here, things that call to be written down on the fridge and pondered, but they are hidden among some serious tangents that just lost me, making me wonder what they had to do with the actual subject of the book. This one is all over the place.
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Anneli Rufus is an award-winning American journalist and author.

Born in Los Angeles, California, she first went to college in Santa Barbara, then to the University of California, Berkeley. Rufus earned an English degree and became a journalist. She's written for many publications, including Salon.com, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Boston Globe. Currently she is the literary editor for the Ea
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