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How to Be Perfectly Unhappy

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  718 ratings  ·  177 reviews
Matthew Inman—Eisner Award-winning creator of The Oatmeal and #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You—serves yet another helping of thoughtful hilarity in this charming, illustrated gift book for anyone who is irked by the question: "Are you happy?"

In How To Be Perfectly Unhappy, Inman explores the surprising benefits of forg
Hardcover, 44 pages
Published October 31st 2017 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
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3.97  · 
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 ·  718 ratings  ·  177 reviews

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[Shai] Bibliophage
How to Be Perfectly Unhappy is the second graphic novel of The Oatmeal, or Matthew Inman in real life, that I was able to received a review copy from the publisher. A lot of readers will undoubtedly can relate to the compelling words that this 48-page book contains — especially those who think they might not be happy, currently at lost with what they really want, or those who are questioning their life's purpose.
How to Be Perfectly Unhappy
How to Be Perfectly Unhappy
The author is famous for his other published books that are quite funnier in theme.
Sam Quixote
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
In his latest book, How To Be Perfectly Unhappy, Matthew Inman, aka The Oatmeal, ponders the concept of happiness in his usual humorous style. And it’s a pretty amusing read but short because the subject, and his conclusions, are fairly straightforward and underwhelming.

The crux of his argument centres around flawed semantics and framing: are you happy or unhappy? But why is it an either/or question to begin with – aren’t we more complex than that? Happiness to me is an undeniably and overwhelmi

This one was a mix.
How to Be Perfectly Unhappy is a short collection of lovely drawings that ponder the concept of happiness. Some reflections are of some interest, but not exactly meaningful epiphanies, just stuff you already know; others echo a self-help Coelhish mumbo jumbo about wanting to hurt so you can heal...
All in all, nothing extraordinary. Nothing hilarious or somewhat amusing. Nothing remarkably inspirational. Nothing as good as the book with the suspicious-looking cats.

Other book
David Schaafsma
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics, gn-philosophy
Inman (The Oatmeal) uses a cute title for a simple, straightforward statement about how it is better to be interested and engaged and fascinated than happy. Moments of joy or bliss are good, he says, but happy for him implies a state of being, something of permanence. I disagree, but okay. I think happiness can be a state, and never anything but temporary. He says he's not a happy person. He runs and he is in pain doing it, a lot of the time. He advocates for meaningful over happy. He thinks thi ...more
YES!!!! Oh how I love this book! How to Be Perfectly Unhappy is a short graphic novel written by Matthew Inman (aka The Oatmeal) and it tells you the surefire recipe for how to be unhappy: adopt the world's one definition for happiness. The thing is, "happiness" as the world commonly defines it isn't real. Finding contentment and peace in one's life looks so incredibly different for everyone. It's not measurable and there is no end goal. Matthew Inman (aka The Oatmeal) explores this common dysfu ...more
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This small graphic self-help book manages to wax philosophical in a way that many other humongous tomes fail to do. At 48 pages it's all too short, but it's definitely entertaining and deep enough to be re-read multiple times.

The Oatmeal makes a fantastic case as to why our perception of happiness is nothing more than an illusion, and that it's in our best interest to set ourselves free from trying to attain those impossible standards. The catch-22 is that striving for happiness based on accomp
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more

Given that this is a less than 50 page comic, I don't think I had unreasonably high expectations . . . BUT. I know what this guy is capable of, even given limited space.

And this . . . This was nothing special. Apparently it's the hilarity that makes the unapologetic clarity Inman brings to our everyday day lives tolerable.

Without his trademark cleverness, his be-a-better-human message is just syrupy sweetness. *pukes rainbows*

I recommend this instead:

Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow. Totally changed how I feel about being happy. Indeed, our definition of happy is so meaningless. Not everything around may make us 'happy' but they do add meaning in our life - which matters. Not always am I happy when I read, or when I cook, or when I am with my family. But that scarcely matters.

It's okay to be unhappy. And this book explained that brilliantly in less than 50 pages.
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

A lot of people think Matthew Inman's work is all fart jokes and dogs licking themselves, and I mean, that's most of it, but sometimes, Matthew gets really freaking insightful and makes me contemplate the universe and my existence and such. This book is definitely one of those times.

Thank you to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
This is a little heavier than what I generally expect from The Oatmeal. The art is really beautiful and ranges from silly and simple to more complex visuals as the author has a point to make. The idea of being happy is much more complicated than how society seems to propose it as a yes or no question. That definition doesn't really fit with the spectrum of human experience. I agree with this and I think it is something that can make a person feel negatively when it's not necessary because this i ...more
Jessi ♥️ H. Vojsk
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a really, really meaningful comic about the definition of "happy" and that
being happy or unhappy isn't everything and we should definitely not define ourselfs by this word.
Sad Sunday (If I say it's bad, it's bad)
NetGalley review.

Who doesn't like The Oatmeal?


Happiness is so overrated, even the word "happy" is becoming so weary and stale. Everyones wants the "best" friend, the "perfect" spouse, the awesomest" candidate. And that all is mostly connected with happiness or being a happy, positive person all the time. But sheeesh, give us a break, we, humans, just can't be the fountains of positivity 365 days a year. And you don't have to be. That would be impossible. And it's perfectly normal. This book illu
Aya Hamza
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it

I enjoyed reading it a lot!

The message of the book is beautiful and easily to the point. You maybe feel stressed when you do the things you are interested in. You can't be happy with everything you do in your life. But you feel accomplished when you get things done, and you feel happy and satisfied with the results you get at the end.

So inspiring!!

I loved the illustrations and how it had a sci-fi vibes.
And the part in which he discussed the de-planetization of Pluto actually made sense for me
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Happy is a monochromatic word used to describe a rich, painful spectrum of human feeling
Is our perception of happiness nothing more than an illusion?
I loved the way the author argued and explained his point of view.

It's irrelevant.
because I'm not happy,
And I don't pretend to be.
I'm busy.
I'm interested.
I'm fascinated.
I do things that are meaningful to me, even if they don't make me happy.
I run until my feet bleed
and my skin burns
and my bones scream

I read
I read long, complicated boo
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Deepika Ramesh
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I trusted Inman to hide an uplifting book behind a curious title like this. In this super short book, Inman offers his definition for 'happiness'. He argues that happiness as a state of a mind is a painful spectrum, and that it can't be viewed through binary glasses. I loved that definition. Inman's colourful illustration on finding a meaning and suffering with it is delightful. He doesn't believe that happiness is just about smiling and believing in perfection, but feeling alive in one's own wa ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: net-galley, humour
I've previously read other Oatmeal books and really enjoyed the humour alongside the fantastically talented illustrations. With this one however, I was struck by how hugely cynical and pessimistic the author comes across. I understand the concept of happiness being rather a binary term, you either are or you're not happy, and this doesn't encompass the whole range of human emotions accurately. But the way it was delivered just left me feeling really deflated at the end of it!
Shirley Cuypers
This book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing

How to Be Perfectly Unhappy is a short and fast paced read. I really liked the drawings but to be honest, there wasn’t much of a story. I liked it, but it would’ve been better if there were a bigger story.
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Sep 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
Wow. I hated this so much. SO. MUCH.
First of all, the whole book is full of cartoon illustrations with vomit, farts, poop, blood, and grotesque faces. That does not make me a happy reader. I was too busy being nauseated to enjoy the writing.

And while the writing made a couple of good points about the concept of "being happy", I don't think the general philosophy here is a healthy one. No counselor that I know of would recommend this way of thinking.

I hated this so much. On so many levels. UGH.

Vellum Voyages
Dec 05, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 helms

Please follow me on my blog :) Review originally posted on Vellum Voyages (

Have never heard of The Oatmeal or Matthew Inman but I was curious about this graphic novel when I requested it. At first, I was confused about the context and it didn't really have much of an impact as I was trying to get my head around what message the author was trying to convey but as I was reaching the end of the book, things started to fall in place and I started to understand the pro
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
It was cute. We should all be okay with not being happy.
Reading and Living
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Entendí perfectamente el concepto de este libro pero no le encontré sentido y que los dibujos fueran tan diferentes, en algunos casos, me hizo sentir que se trataban de diferentes artistas.
58/45 books read in 2017
Provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am pretty sure I have read this before, but the Oatmeal is on the internet so it wouldn't be surprising if I did. However that does not negate the fact that this is a great story. I love the message, the art is great & super cute, and I like how fast-paced it is. We should all look for meaning when it comes to life and the beauty is that we get to decide what 'meaning' means to us. I think that is really inspira
(ZanyAnomaly) Sai Ram
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
amazing 3 minute read that's a must read y'all!
its available on the oatmeal's website for free so check it out!
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who haven't read the web comic already
When I checked this title out of Freading, I assumed it would be a book-length (well, at 48 pages, a very short book) treatment of the web comic of the same name that I'd already read online. It was not. It was the exact web comic of the same name that I'd already read online – no more, no less.

But it's a really terrific book / web comic. Tackling what he sees as the trite and Pollyannaish concept of "being happy", author/illustrator Matthew Inman (a.k.a. The Oatmeal) makes a cogent and actuall
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-e-copy, arcs

From what I've seen of Matthew Inman's (or The Oatmeal's) work going around the internet, I automatically assumed that this would be a funny, sarcastic and overall easy read, which, in a way, it was. But it brings a lot more than some mindless form of comedy. How to Be Perfectly Unhappy is deep. Author expresses his mindset, explains his outlook on the world and shows how he came to terms with his unhappiness.


Matthew Inman has a clever way of explaining things. It's a mix of straightforward exp
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Our sense of happiness is so brittle it can be destroyed simply by asking whether or not it exists.

I started reading this during my lunch break so that I can getaway from work. Little did I know beforehand that it will start a mini-crisis. A good crisis (is there such a thing?).

The book is short but explained sooo much. Am I unhappy? Yes, I definitely am, and I’m proud to say it out.
Amanda [Novel Addiction]
This is very accurate. I too an perfectly unhappy.
Rebekah Crain
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
In this short graphic novel/comic The Oatmeal shows readers how to be perfectly unhappy while enjoying life. According to the author, the idea of being happy has become so forced that it's nearly impossible to truly achieve it. Rather than living a life struggling to find "happiness" one should simply do what they enjoy and find interest in.

I straddle the fence when it comes to agreeing with this sentiment because to me you can do the things you are interested in and still be unhappy. Likewise
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it
If you go to The Oatmeal to laugh, this is not quite the book to do so. While his books about cats trying to kill you, and two old men who are his dogs are quite funny and laugh out load, this was more, oh, ok, I see what you are saying, but this is not funny.

This reminds me a little bit about what Julia Wertz once said about humor. It is funny when you are mocking the world, but when you mention what your life is like, that you have problems, the humor goes away, and people stop laughing. That
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Matthew Inman (a.k.a. "The Oatmeal") is a Web designer and developer from Seattle, Washington. He has been designing Web sites since the age of 13 and is a seasoned programmer, systems administrator, and online marketer. Matthew launched in 2009.
“I want to hurt, so I can heal.
I'm not unhappy.
I'm just busy.
I'm interested.
And that's okay.”
More quotes…