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Some Nerve: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  303 ratings  ·  58 reviews
One woman’s quest to conquer her fears and embrace life—and to inspire others to do the same

Patty Chang Anker grew up eager to please and afraid to fail. But after thirty-nine years, she decided it was time to stop being a chicken. Motivated initially to become a better role model for her two young daughters, she vowed to face the fears that had taken root like weeds, cho
Kindle Edition, 369 pages
Published October 10th 2013 by Riverhead
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3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  303 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those wanting to tackle (some of) their fears
This is the book that talks about how to face your fears, at least those you really would like to tackle. When you want to face them because you want to set a good example for your kids (like the author who has two daughters), because they hinder your life from being something more, or for any other reason. The author - who blogs, writes for a magazine and teaches yoga - decided it was time to tackle some fears, and she does it well, and hilariously. You do feel you get to know the author as the ...more
Sep 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r-lt
Review first published on my blog:

Patty Chang Anker is the creator of the blog Facing Forty Upside Down and the mother of two daughters. Close to her fortieth birthday, she undertook a mission to try things she never had before and to overcome some of her fears in order to be a better role model for her daughters. Along her journey, she met and learned from other people facing similar fears. So, she set out to learn more and see if her input could help ot
Veronica James
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Equal parts memoir, self help, and get-off-your-ass inspiration, Ms. Anker's SOME NERVE hits... uh, all the right nerves. Her highly relatable experiences while attempting to conquer simple things (decluttering her house, learning to ride a bike) to the fears she and I have in common (public speaking, heights, death) are so honest, self-effacing, - and funny - that I just wanted to hug her at times.

As a late blooming fear conqueror myself, Ms. Anker had me feeling her panic, her joy, and triumph
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Laugh-out-loud funny with a surprising amount of depth to it.
Patty Chang Anker’s decision to go out and face her fears is fueled by her desire to be a better role model for her daughters and she goes after that desire with a passion that helps her face those fears (and overcome extreme clumsiness) while inspiring others to follow her example.
She gives examples and ideas from several different schools of thought, leaving readers to decide on their own what would fit them better. Each case is fles
Katie/Doing Dewey
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
What inspired Patty to try to become brave was the realization that her two daughters were inheriting her timid approach to life. Previously too afraid of failure to try new things, in this book Patty chronicles her adventures facing down her fears and those of others. With input from friends and experts, Patty shares her experience exploring everything from fears of public speaking to the fear of death.

I think of myself as a somewhat timid person, so I enjoy reading books about how to be brave.
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the mother of two young daughters, Anker realized that she didn’t want to be a “do as I say, not as I do” parent, and that she’d have a lot more credibility getting her kids to try intimidating new things if she was willing to as well. She wanted the girls to learn to swim, but she’d need to overcome her own fear of water in order to join them (and not be deterred by the broken foot she suffered during a trip to the beach with a friend); she took lessons in diving and surfing. A lifelong city ...more
Cathe Olson
Tired of living her live in fear of failure, Patty Chang Anker decides it's time to stop being a chicken. She realizes that if she doesn't want her two daughters to live fearfully, she had better change her own perspective and be an example for them. Anker takes on the activities that scare her the most -- like the water, public speaking and her clutter-filled house, and as she blogs about her experiences, she finds that her stories are inspiring to others.

I love the idea of facing your fears at
Nov 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, reviewed
I really like the author, Patty Chang Anker (and no, I don't know her in real life). Though over a decade apart in age, I relate to her experiences growing up as an ethnically Chinese girl in the West (who preferred books to the sciences!), and thus what appealed to me most about "Some Nerve" were Patty's personal stories - about her parents, her early marriage to her high school sweetheart, and her two daughters adopted from China.

What was decidedly less appealing to me were the stories of alm
Angela Kidd Shinozaki
Everyone needs a little boost in bravery now and again. This book will get you on your feet and out in the world trying all the things that scare you. The author uses herself as the main guinea pig but also includes her family and friends. She talks about fear of water, public speaking, driving/biking, heights, and even death. One of the most interesting discussions was about the fear of throwing things away and how cluttering is different from actual hoarding. The main anecdote for fear is lear ...more
Patrick Moser
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You’ll love this book: it’s passionate, it’s poignant, it’s hilarious, and it’s well researched. In two months you won’t be able to go anywhere and not here about it—very few debut books are sure to make the NY Times Best Seller List—this is one of them. Here’s what Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love has to say: “With humor, humility and (most of all) self-compassion, Anker tells a compelling story of everyday courage—one that is sure to touch and help countless other people like her, ...more
Sep 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Not an earth shattering read; I didn't learn anything new but it was a good read and a comfort to know that I'm not alone in some of my own fears and experiences as a mother.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Patty's self-deprecating humor is so welcome in this book about failures, worries and fears. Read about her journey through life, getting stronger while facing those moments that she would rather not look into.

You might also want to learn how to overcome your fear of heights, or death, or water, or bicycle riding or driving or public speaking or even clutter.
I loved hearing about how she became brave. It helped me think about situations that I avoid. The authors story gave me confidence!
This was a good book but it dragged some for me. Took me longer than usual to finish but I did enjoy reading about all the challenges she goes thru.
Wasn’t bad but just wasn’t interesting enough to keep me.
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“How would life be different if we all knew we were earning As? That our process of learning, which includes making mistakes, was not something to be ashamed of but to be celebrated? What risks would we take? How excited would we be to try?” As much as I have told my own children that “you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes,” I still have to talk myself into trying something if I’m not sure I’m going to succeed. Patty Chang Anker, Asian-American child of a tiger mother ...more
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a solid 4 stars for the first two thirds and then kind of edged down to three stars for the last third. Patty Chang Anker focuses on her own experiences for the first part of the book with a little bit of research thrown in to balance out the narrative. As the book continues, though, she dips further away from her own adventures and delves more into other people she knows and then the book kind of took a fact-heavy turn and the personal element seemed to get a little lost. I enjoye ...more
Douglas Lord
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m not supposed to enjoy or endorse Some Nerve because, as an outgoing, try-anything-once triathlete and Chief Books for Dudes reviewer, I’m supposed to scoff at such heartwarming, inspirational stuff. Anker is a nice girl who, though shy and timid, decides that she wants to inspire her two daughters to be a bit braver than she. So she chooses to face her fears by doing things that scare her—jumping off a diving board in a bathing suit, public speaking, riding a bike, stuff like that—and grits ...more
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I met Patty in the New York mountains -- through which the Esopus Creek flows -- at the Women at Woodstock 2015 retreat. The Esopus Creek almost killed her when she was 18, and that experience led to her fear of water. That was just one of many fears she decided to face when she neared 40.

This book shares her journey to becoming brave. Her writing is such that you are right there with her -- on the impossibly high diving board, in that moment between terror and joy on a surfboard and in the mout
Mike Rose
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not everyone is afraid of the dark, or open water, or driving, or clowns. (Well, maybe clowns.) But everyone is afraid of something, and for many of us those fears change the way we engage with the world -- usually for the worse. Patty Chang Anker, a self-identified scaredy cat, decided to pour her anxieties and facing-forty fears into a successful blog and now the book Some Nerve: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave.

Patty's powerful emotional connection with the isolating and numbing effects o
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mildly interesting look at how one person managed her anxieties. I saw myself in the author. Author Anker has many of the same anxieties and fears the rest of us have: public speaking, death, heights, etc. There are others: learning how to ride a bike, how to swim, etc. She decided to try to conquer her fears so she could be a better role model for her daughters. This is her story of how she went about it, along with the stories of some others.
Many will identify with a lot. Maybe some avoided i
Jul 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I was disappointed with the book as I looked at the table of contents and didn't see any of the fears I hold, except for death. However, I really warmed up to this author. Her writing style is so conversational and honest that you can't help but smile along with what she is saying. My favorite chapter was the one on surfing. Got me excited to go out for my third run no matter what age I am, maybe even on a Great Lake! (Who knew that was POSSIBLE!)This is a great read for anyone who has ...more
Oct 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friend posted this book on her "to read" list...and I found the title intriguing. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I could use more nerve. I hoped this book would explore why anxiety exists....and how to get more nerve, but instead the author wrote about how she accomplished a couple of her fears (like organizing(??)) and how she convinced (forced??) some of her friends to confront their fears. Was it interesting? Yes....Was she funny (as many people claimed in their reviews?)? NO. I didn' ...more
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-isms
Everyone can read a book like this and state his or her opinion based on their life experiences so I would never say "Go out and read this book it will change your life" or "This book is a waste and sounds like every other life book". A book has an effect on your based on your own life experiences, so for me, this book hit a cord.

It took me close to 30 years to learn how to stand up for myself to everyone in my life, so I have much appreciation and understand of the later in life steps toward th
Anne Flournoy
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Get ready to fall in love ... with Patty Chang Anker. She’s the author of "Some Nerve" which is one of those page-turners that zooms to the top of my list of favorite books. This wonderful book moved me, had me ROFL and even has a practical how-to application - how to face and overcome your fears.

It’s based on Anker’s own experiences navigating life’s big and small challenges, and complemented by research the author has done about other peoples’ efforts to overcome their phobias. With Anker's hi
Jill Sansone
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Are you afraid to swim? to drive? ride a bike? give a speech? The author describes herself as a timid woman who shied away from anything dangerous or remotely daring. As she passed the 40 year milestone and wondered what kind of role model her daughters observed on a daily basis, she decided to tackle her fears with a vengeance. So buckle your seat belt, and watch her swim, drive, give speeches, conquer rope courses, catch waves and more. When she decided to surf on Lake Michigan in the winter ( ...more
Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
Enjoyable narrative of a fearful 40-ish woman who decides to tackle her phobias, and help others tackle theirs. Fears of water, heights, driving, flying, death, public speaking all get wrestled to the ground by the author and others including her children, who learn to ride bikes. It's inspiring, but could have been better if she just stuck to describing the triumphs and setbacks without the sermonizing ("You don't get to choose what life dishes out. You do get to choose what to do about it.")

Nov 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, arc
Here's an apology to Anker, because I received this book two years ago as an ARC and I kept picking it up, starting and putting it down. Time to donate it so someone else can enjoy it!

The book's a great idea, a woman turning 40 takes on her fears to show her children she can do it and encourage them, and have some fun along the way. I'm past that age zone of "now or never" when it comes to things like learning to surf. I'm not afraid of it, I just have no interest and don't live in that geograp
SOME NERVE has a slow, rather repetitive start, but once Anker hits her stride and stops continually explaining the origins of her decision to face some of her fears, the book is delightful and often laugh-out-loud funny. As someone who's not so much a glass-is-half-empty kinda gal as she is a glass-is-half-empty-and-its-remaining-contents-may-be-poisoned (SOME NERVE mentions that this is "catastrophic thinking," and which is a lot more common than I ever thought) reading about how Anker and the ...more
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First of all the author's style of writing is so fluid and friendly as if she's speaking to you as a close friend - loved that - made it easy and enjoyable to read! Also a lot of her "fears" were similar to mine (or at least my old fears) and I could definitely relate to her life and stories of all the characters at play so it was relevant to me. However even if her fears are not the same as yours, the same results and learning can be applied. The gist of the book was what made it rewarding sinc ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle of this book is "Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave." This is Patty Anker's journey in her 40s as she faces and triumphs over her many fears—from heights to swimming, public speaking to surfing. Along the way she interviews many fellow phobics and the common-sense experts who help these phobics. Lots of great characters. Anker is a smooth, very funny writer, with her inner voice echoing the kinds of extreme thoughts we all have as we decide whether or not to do something that scar ...more
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“In the space between waves, we have the choice. To jump, to dive, to ride, to play. To face what's coming without running away.” 0 likes
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