Claire's Reviews > The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level

The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick
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Aug 12, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: nonfiction, auto-biography, reference-how-to
Read in August, 2012

Hmm. I would have given this a three if he'd left out his handful of sexist jokes which popped up like periodic road blocks saying, "Why are you giving this book your time?!" It's a fair question since it's another self-help book where the author's credentials are only his experiences.

My impression of Chris Hardwick from a few episodes I've seen of The Nerdist on BBC-A are that he is not sexist. I believe he was sincere when he wrote that he wants to help people feel better with his book.

Why then include some sexist jokes? They feel like the jokes male comedians still feel compelled to tell if only to bond with each other. Or as a way to bond with other men in general. The various dick and balls jokes would fall in this realm too.

It would be easy to say I'm overreacting, but I bring it up because it made me feel that this book was aimed at male nerds rather than all nerds. Also the sexist jokes, and let me stress here that there were only about 5-10, were nonetheless off-putting and did not make me feel better. I leave that to Chris Hardwick to consider.

Intentional or unintentional sexism aside, there's quite a bit of value to the book. It's broken into three sections: Mind, Body, and Time. In them, Hardwick relays stories from his journey and shares his nerd-style approaches to changing from drifting, drunk chubster to successful, sober fit guy. I wasn't familiar with his past, so I found a lot of these back stories really interesting. He talks about aimlessness, panic attacks, and drinking among other things.

Though I grokked 95% of his nerdy references, I think his exercises (he calls them "charactercizes") favor people into RPGs. (His book is peppered with tasks to help the reader put his suggestions into action.)

I really enjoyed his interview with Trainer Tom in the Body section. There are even workouts with diagrams. They are actually described quite well.

My favorite thing from the book is, "Oh, lizard almonds! Won't you EVER learn?! Now, back to the cave with you, or I'll make you stare at yawning kitty videos for a half hour!" (For context, check out the grey box on page 40, hardcover edition.) It's in the Mind section which I found most useful with its tips to trick your brain into productivity and out of anger, anxiety, and the like.

For me, this book is very much a take what's useful and ditch the rest affair. What's useful will vary from nerd to nerd, but may make this book worth a look.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Vahid (new)

Vahid ...so, maybe borrow it from the library instead of buy it then? Take a few notes and move on?


Claire You might really like it. Borrowing from the library is generally my default mode. If I love it, then I get it (or put it on my xmas/bday list).

Scanning through some other reviews, it's clear a lot of other people didn't register the gear-grinding sensation I had. I'm going to flip through to see what exercises might be helpful/resonate. There were some in there, I just got turned off from following through on them by some of his jokes.


Craig Powell Maybe do some research next time about the author. If you didn't know that Chris Hardwick can sometimes be a little raunchy then you really don't know him. I would never buy a book of an author I didn't know. Also...you are a grown up...naughty words should not affect you so much.


Claire A friend recommended the book to me, so I borrowed it from the library. I never said I bought it.

"Naughty words" in and of themselves don't bother me. And I'm not even sure the sexist jokes I referred to contained any. It's been several months and they weren't memorable.

I am an adult, so I don't have to overlook casual sexism because it's presented as a joke.

It's my opinion. You are free to write your own review to express yours.


message 5: by Joel (last edited Jun 11, 2015 02:41PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joel Bass I totally agree with you, Claire. I have no problem with naughty words or raunchy jokes -- bring 'em on! But there were also several times where Hardwick would tack a bit of "make me a sandwich"-style sexism onto an otherwise fun and useful chapter. I haven't thought of him as a sexist person, either, so I don't understand why he wants to especially seek out sexist males as an audience. His audience (gamer nerds open to self-help books) is small enough already, without shutting even more people out. What gives, Hardwick? This was so close to awesomeness.


Claire Thanks, Joel!


Melissa I'm still listening to the audiobook, but I have to say that the assumption that the audience is male disappoints me as well. There are a few points where he catches himself and references female readers as well, but even in the workout section, it's pretty clear that those who are supposed to be developing "fuckable pecs" are male and those who are supposed to be desiring them are female. I swear like a sailor, so it's not the language that bothers me--it's the catering to that lowest common denominator and reinforcing the mentality that women can't be nerds. This is particularly sad when you consider that Hardwick has had so many awesomely nerdy women on his podcast and clearly knows better.


Claire Thanks, Melissa! It's nice to know my take on it resonates with at least a couple people.

About 3 years since I read it, I find the book's not that memorable.


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