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You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You've Got to Get What You Want

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck and Get Your Sh*t Together comes more straight talk about how to stand up for who you are and what you really want, need, and deserve--showing when it's okay to be selfish, why it's pointless to be perfect, and how to be "difficult."


Being yourself should be easy, yet too many of us struggle to live on other people's terms instead of our own. Rather than feeling large and in charge, we feel little and belittled.


Sound familiar? Bestselling "anti-guru" Sarah Knight has three simple words for you:

YOU DO YOU.


It's time to start putting your happiness first--and stop letting other people tell you what to do, how to do it, or why it can't be done. And don't panic! You can do it without losing friends and alienating people. Knight delivers her trademark no-bullsh*t advice about:


The Tyranny of "Just Because"
The social contract and how to amend it
Turning "flaws" into strengths--aka "mental redecorating"
Why it's not your job to be nice
Letting your freak flag fly
How to take risks, silence the doubters, and prove the haters wrong

Praise for Sarah Knight

"Genius." --Cosmopolitan

"Self-help to swear by." --Boston Globe

"Hilarious... truly practical." --Booklist

299 pages, Hardcover

First published November 21, 2017

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Sarah Knight

39 books1,610 followers

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5 stars
1,656 (24%)
4 stars
2,223 (32%)
3 stars
2,033 (29%)
2 stars
682 (9%)
1 star
299 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 603 reviews
Profile Image for Kalyn Nicholson.
Author 3 books9,476 followers
July 10, 2019
Sarah Knight seems like a badass I could hangout with.
Although, my dog does sleep in my bed so maybe she wouldn't say the same lol.
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,367 reviews1,414 followers
January 31, 2018
The self-styled "anti-guru" Sarah Knight adds another volume to her quirky, profanity-laden self-help series with You Do You.

The focus, as you can guess from the title, is the art of allowing your authentic self to shine through without feeling guilt or being so far out of the social norms that you border on "psychopath."

You Do You is about accepting your strengths and your flaws, whether those flaws are self-identified, or just things that you're perfectly happy about but that other people seem to have a problem with. Or, should I say, that you WOULD be happy about, if you felt a little more confident in yourself..." loc 146, ebook.

And, like the previous books, Knight doesn't stint on the bad words. She admits she kept the title clean so a certain publication *cough* New York Times *cough* would print the all the words of the title in their sought after Best Seller list.

Which Knight has made before... but had her titles censored for their content.

"The advice in this book boils down to one simple mantra: Stand up for who you are and what you want. How do you do that? Stop letting other people tell you what to do, how to do it, or why it can't be done." loc 188, ebook.

I enjoyed You Do You, but I felt it wasn't as strong as Knight's other titles because she spends so much time rehashing material she has already covered elsewhere.

That being said, I like Knight's style, her famous diagrams and her illuminating stories. This is an author who has been there, done that and cussed about it.

My favorite diagram in You Do You is Knight's "ouroboros" or symbolic, conjoined serpent of wisdom picture. The text with the cute doodle says: "Is it right or wrong? You won't know unless you have the confidence to take a risk and find out. If you regret your decision, then accept the consequences, swallow the lesson, and start over. With confidence." loc 1995, ebook.

Verges on mystic Eastern wisdom, doesn't it?

She encourages all readers everywhere to let the strange sides of yourself out- within certain boundaries. Don't hurt anybody. Don't take advantage of people. Be reasonable within your freakishness.

"Now, with those ground rules established, I do declare that we, as a society, should celebrate weirdness in all its forms- and that the right to be weird should be inalienable- just like the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." loc 2130, ebook.

"You do you" and let everybody else do them. It's that simple. It's that hard.

Sarah Knight may be a bit of an acquired taste. Please don't read unless you have a high tolerance for bad words and, dare I say, mild snark.

But, if you are someone in need of encouragement to let your freak flag fly, look no further.

Thank you to NetGalley and Little Brown and Company for a free digital copy of this book.
Profile Image for One.
338 reviews6 followers
January 23, 2018
I didn't like this book at all. I felt like it was written by someone who forgot to mature when they became an adult. Too shallow, no substance, and part of the problem. This book makes people think the world revolves around them and what the do and say doesn't matter at all. Two many attempts to be funny (when they were not) and too many plugs for other books (which I won't be reading). Two thumbs down!
Profile Image for Laura Rash Wonderchick.
1,223 reviews139 followers
November 17, 2017
As always, Sarah Knight gives realistic advice with a grand sense of fucking humor! I always walk away from reading her books with my head held a little higher & my middle finger ready to extend to those who don’t like the choices I make to improve me!
Thanks to Little Brown & Sarah for this early copy!
Profile Image for Jenb16.
161 reviews6 followers
January 11, 2018
I typically like reading a motivational self-help book in January. I just found this soooo basic. There was absolutely nothing new that the title of the cover doesn’t cover. Very mehhhhhhh.
Profile Image for ✰ Liz ✰ .
1,342 reviews1,246 followers
December 2, 2018

description

You Do You: Who You are and Use What You've Got to Get What You Want is another winning read by my new self-help guru/philosopher/audible mentor! It's so easy to know what you should know about yourself and just do it...but the truth is there are always those voices inside (and outside) that are always telling you I have always prided myself in being a strong person and yet the people pleaser in me is always doing exactly opposite of what I really want to do. If you can identify with my plight, don't waste another minute and dig into the world of Sarah Knight. I find her humor and honest voice to offer invaluable inspiration. Not only do I enjoy, the first read thru of her books but I find myself digging in often for re-reads whenever the need for reinforcement calls! I highly recommend the audible versions of her books as I love hearing her voice. I know it will take me a while to master all of the concepts in the book but just focusing on doing better for myself in any way possible has been a huge step in the right direction.

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Profile Image for Priyanka B.
255 reviews7 followers
May 29, 2019
Lacked depth. I could have called a friend or my sister.
I was hoping for some enlightening revelation that helped me get what I being me.

Nope.

This was very basic bitching, lots of curse words randomly scattered, and probably good for an 18 year old or twenty one year old starting their first job. Not great if you have learned these lessons already.
Profile Image for Diane.
200 reviews
June 19, 2018
I did enjoy this book but essentially it is full of very bad advice that I want to take, especially around Christmas and baby shower season. Haha! I could write this exact same book myself if I too could pack up my entire life and move to the Dominican Republic. Pretty easy to get out of all the social commitments and pressures when you are that far away from everyone. No sooner had I finished a chapter on how to be more selfish did I read a chapter on how important it is not to be selfish in the book 'how to win friends and influence people'. Basically while her advice given in this book might be true- the opposite of her advice is also true. And further to that she writes 50% of this book in brackets. There are too many side points that don't need to be said. Take those words away and you have yourself a pamphlet on how to be a mega b-itch. (even though I secretly enjoy that fuck you attitude)
Profile Image for Nancy.
17 reviews
September 11, 2018
Nothing revolutionary here, but then again, I think this book is aimed at late teens or early 20-somethings 😄. The author celebrates individualism, which I think is great, but if you’re always “doing you” I wonder if you impede your own growth sometimes? Are you really “you doing you” or just living out your outdated habits? I’ll need to think on it some more, but two stars is all this book gets for now!
Profile Image for AnnaG.
437 reviews27 followers
January 1, 2019
Sarah Knight's advice seems to boil down to: do what you think is right for you and don't take advice from other people because what do they know? Her book has two premises that I don't think are true (1) that you really know yourself and what is in your interests (do you?) and (2) that other people couldn't possibly understand you better and see more clearly where you are likely to end up than you can (because standing in the middle of the whirlwind gives the clearest viewpoint, or something...).

It's weird and pretty illogical to think that taking advice from others, obeying social cues and customs and following role models isn't likely to lead to a happier/more successful life than trying to philosophise the meaning of life for yourself (or in Knight's vernacular - set your own goals...). Even if you have a very clear idea of your own priorities today, your life outlook is going to change radically over time in ways that your younger self can't anticipate. Look at generational voting patterns - demographics who voted majority hard left or communist in their youth now vote majority conservative/Trump/Brexit. You don't know what you'll think success was when you are older and probably your best bet of having attained whatever it is and being happy and content is to get on with holding down a productive job (even if it's repetitive or boring), forming a stable family unit, being involved in civic institutions - it's a good way to live. Conforming to social expectations is not a bad thing! You really aren't all that different from the person living next door to you or standing next to you on the commuter train.

One area that I felt was particularly short-sighted was the attack on "family-first" as a motto. If you are lucky enough to have a strong and stable family unit behind you, you have basically the biggest privilege that you can get. Your chances of holding down that job, having a stable relationship yourself, avoiding homelessness, addiction or jail are substantially increased by having loving kin who care for you. They'll be the ones helping you through cancer, or giving you a home after the divorce or helping you pick your nursing home and then visiting you in it (although maybe not if they now live in the Dominican Republic!).

I found it particularly ironic given the sideways snark at Christianity throughout that Knight starts with "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and finishes with "Judge not others lest ye yourselves be judged" - thankfully those bookend thoughts gave me two solid take-aways from this book, hence the rating.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,310 reviews95 followers
April 24, 2020
This happens to be one of my favorite sayings. I use it all the time in my job. Whenever a customer comes up to me in the plumbing department and ignores my years of experience because their gender means they are natural plumbers, I just say, "Ok. You do you." In other words, "I know you'll be back to admit your plan didn't work and you want to try it the way its supposed to be done. But you try it your way."
In this book our heroine is giving good advice to people to not work so hard to follow the advice of others. Go ahead and try it your way. I think forging your own path in life is very good advice, but maybe not in plumbing. lol!
Profile Image for Katie (katieladyreads).
436 reviews165 followers
January 10, 2018
Eh this felt to me like a long winded stand-up comedy routine that continually referenced points made in her two previous books but in between all that she did make some insightful points about “letting your freak flag fly”
Profile Image for Joseph.
Author 3 books84 followers
July 8, 2019
An honest and funny book about strategies and tips to being who you are, particularly in the face of this superficial culture. You will notice right away the language in this book to be harsh, but the author balances out the harshness with humor and an assurance that her intentions are just to get you to break free of expectations and live happily as you are.
Profile Image for Derek Snyder.
10 reviews1 follower
August 18, 2019
Low on substance and didn’t take much away. Tried and failed to be funny.
Profile Image for Diana.
814 reviews93 followers
January 7, 2018
I listened to this because I was too tired to read since I was sick all week and therefore I might have missed the point.

I don't think I need a "you do you" lesson, because I've never really had a problem with being my own person. I'm a bookworm, who loves electro swing, will (literally) wear my fandom on my sleeve and have no problem doing my own thing.
Or saying what I want. Which might be the lesson I need: be you, but don't be so mean about it.
Profile Image for Jill.
92 reviews14 followers
December 16, 2017
2.5 stars. This book had some good points of discussion, but I personally dislike any person who purposefully goes out of their way to show how zany and crazy they are. Yeah, it's great to be weird- I believe in embracing your weird- but this seems pretty attention-seeking.
Profile Image for Angie Dokos.
Author 4 books223 followers
June 19, 2018
Not only good advice, but hilarious. I don’t agree with everything she says, and some people will hate all the cussing, but it was enjoyable to me. Very entertaining, and encouraging.
Profile Image for Annabel Rianne.
210 reviews
July 13, 2021
I should read books like these every year. Totally recommend when you need to start thinking about what things you can kick out of your life to make you happier overall.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
14 reviews1 follower
December 12, 2017
I’ve just finished reading You Do You (Sarah’s third book) and LOVED it as much as the others. It was just the reminder I needed and was such a true reflection of today’s society and the reality of the judgements we face every day. This book even got me singing when I stopped at traffic lights - something I would usually feel embarrassed about doing!
Profile Image for Kat.
237 reviews30 followers
February 15, 2018
As far as self improvement books go, this is one of my favorites. It's funny, simple, to the point, with great advice on how to do what makes you happy and why it's ok to put yourself first and stop caring about what other people think. I especially related to the rant about people who tell you to smile, may they stub their toes every morning.
Profile Image for Caitlin.
147 reviews1 follower
December 31, 2019
This book is about being yourself while being polite and not judging other people, but yet it contains several unnecessary (and rather rude) comments about people who hold opinions different than the author’s.
Profile Image for Ash Ricketts.
24 reviews1 follower
June 15, 2021
I’d never read any of Sarah Knight’s books before, and despite my initial excitement for the concept behind this book, I can honestly say I really disliked this third instalment in her self-help series.
Almost immediately I found myself put off by one of the exercises she has the reader complete. You’re meant to list your weaknesses, then “redecorate” them and turn them into a strength. This is all fine in theory, but as is my problem for almost all of this book, there’s very little consideration for what happens when a reader’s “weakness” is actually caused by a mental health issue. In my case, two of my weaknesses were “forgetfulness” (caused by my dissociative disorder) and “avoidance” (something almost all my diagnoses have a hand in). I could pretend these were positives as the author suggested, but these are maladaptive symptoms that have a negative impact on my life. Pretending they’re strengths would ironically just be me performing further avoidance, rather than addressing my issues. There’s nothing the author can do about that, sure, but the lack of consideration for the variety of human experience and ways “you do you” can manifest in negative experience left me uncomfortable at best and tearing my hair out at worst while reading this book. And this was just one example, let’s not get in to her reference to her “mild OCD” when talking about liking her towels to be hung up straight, or her joke about her younger self having her older self “preemptively committed” in disbelief about her success.
She only once addresses that she is speaking from a huge position of privilege as a cis straight affluent woman (a Harvard graduate no-less, and one who could afford to quit her job, use her connections in editing to become a writer, and then move to the Dominican republic to build her own house on the beach). She spends exactly a page and a half addressing the irony of her advice boiling down to “just do you!” when doing so as a POC or member of LGBTQ+ community or follower of a particular religion can actively put you in danger. It comes across as a token gesture, one that, at already 75% of the way though the book feels like something her editor asked her to add as a disclaimer. I would’ve been more likely to believe her acknowledgement was genuine if it was consistent throughout her writing, and applied with care and knowledge of these communities struggles, where applicable to the advice that she was giving, but it wasn’t. She also refers to the reader as “a nice girl like you” which tells me all I need to know about how much she cares about her work being accessible to all.
Overall, her advice was fairly basic, purely opinion based and other than a survey she completed herself (which we aren’t even given the sample size for), she only once refers to actual social research to back up her claims. She spends a lot of time trying to be funny in a way that falls flat and feels try-hard, a lot of saying fuck and hoping it gets a laugh. Also, I would personally like to be reimbursed for all the hundreds of times she wasted precious paper on plugging her past two books. She even at one point referred to her Tedx talk and PUT A YOUTUBE LINK IN THE FOOTNOTES. THIS IS A BOOK SARAH I CAN’T OPEN A LINK AND I’M SURE AS HELL NOT TYPING OUT ALL THOSE RANDOM LETTERS MANUALLY. I’m also bothered by the fact that despite her own admission that this book is purely based on her own experience and she is not in fact a mental health specialist, the main “technique” she is selling is “mental redecorating”. That she decided to just NOT run by a mental health professional to see if it actually has any basis in psychiatry before publishing a whole book about it. Does it have any benefit? I guess if you want to take a self-proclaimed privileged and not at all professional’s personal experience for fact. I could’ve been swayed to her way of thinking if the examples where she puts her ideas to use were in anyway compelling, but instead she mainly uses them to try to be funny, or they just downright miss the mark and feel like asshole-ish behaviour.
The only thing I can applaud her for, though its very quiet and lackluster applause for her here, is the epilogue where she recognizes that we all have been guilty of judging others at some point, even her. Though honestly, she’d spent so much of the book making judgmental remarks that I would’ve been gob-smacked if she DIDN’T make this realization.
Final thoughts? This book is great. If you match Sarah Knight in socio-economic demographic and identity exactly.
Profile Image for Tumi  Mwendile.
35 reviews5 followers
January 10, 2018
This book definitely deserves a 4 ⭐. If 2018 is your year of AUTHENTICITY AND SELF-ACCEPTANCE, this is the book to read. Without a doubt, Sarah Knight authentically shares the best life lessons of you being yourself. This "anti-guru" 😂 talks of various social norms that made most people live in their "cocon-shelf" instead of being the "butterfly" one is meant to be. And my oh my, Sarah goes against all norms of normal book writing. The foul words that were thrown out of the blues 😂

Reason for a one-less 🌟 is because I couldnt understand some of her examples and the foul words were too much for me 🙈. That doesnt mean I dont appreciate her style. Quite inspired 💃. YOU DO YOU. There is no one like you.
Profile Image for Deah.
653 reviews7 followers
Read
May 2, 2018
An easy read that didn't take me long to skim through, because honestly, I am awesome at being me and have it nailed pretty well.
Profile Image for Ada-Marie.
378 reviews6 followers
April 1, 2018
Enjoyable, funny, and had some good nuggets of advice.
Profile Image for Leslie.
Author 24 books1,279 followers
January 16, 2018
You do you.

When I first started as a published author (instead of a closet writer), I needed a lot of handholding. With my first bad review, I’d tearfully text one of my close friends that “THEY DON’T LIKE IT! SO THEY DON’T LIKE MEEEEEEEEE.” When someone said something mean to me, I’d take it personally, as if I needed to change.

All of that has slowly changed. I’ve learned that bad reviews are boons because they keep away peeps who think the same, and they often amusingly reflect the critic’s own issues. I’ve learned that how people treat me is interesting, maybe, but not a command for me to do anything different. And another’s opinion of me is certainly not a reason to collapse back into the closet, not allowing myself to live the life I’m meant to live.

While I’ve grown in many ways, I’ll admit I still need these lectures from time to time from my friends. (The transcript of the lecture, is essentially, Me: 😭😭😭 My Friend: “F*ck them. You do you.”)

Which brings me to this book. I wish I had this book to hold and hug and absorb and read and reread when I first started to take those tentative steps to break out of what I thought I was supposed to do (based on my interpretation of what I experienced whenever I colored outside the lines—a stern look and reprimand to get back in line with the rest). I wish I had the benefit of its strong, supportive, and irreverent wisdom brimming with love.

This book is the strong girlfriend texting you, saying, “YOU GOT THIS. You don’t do the world any favors if you pretend to be anything you aren’t. If you imitate someone else, we’re all gonna miss out on the joy and experience of knowing YOU.”

While we learn from imitation, at some point we need to break away from others and pay attention to ourselves. We are trustworthy. We are here for a reason. We need to shine.

You Do You has the following simple and shocking premise: what if, really and truly, there isn’t anything wrong with you.

Let that sink in.

There is nothing to improve. Nothing that needs to be different in order to be allowed to live.

What if there isn’t anything wrong with you?

Simple in the most Earth-shattering way, You Do You is profound and witty, entertaining and deep, and very sweary. Thank f*ck.

Little, Brown sent me a copy of this book to review, but honestly, I think the Universe sent it to me because it is exactly in line with my beliefs and feelings.
Profile Image for Jessica DMJ.
88 reviews1 follower
January 6, 2020
I'm using the one-star rating based on the "did not like it" description provided by Goodreads.
I received this book as a gift from someone dear to me, which made me wary of writing my honest opinions on it—that after about 20-30 pages, Sarah Knight's "fuck societal convention! I need a half valium and margarita" humour got really, really old and tired. I feel like Sarah Knight wasn't sure if she wanted to write a self-help book or her memoirs. There's not very much practical advice within these pages, and covered very generic advice that barely went beyond the title of the book. Personally, I didn't find the book very helpful, though I was excited about certain parts that I needed, like how to say no to your family and such, but as I said, the advise given was too generic and impractical. However, not all self-help books are for everyone, so maybe this one just wasn't the right one for me. I can see this being a good gift book to young college students, especially women, though, since a lot of it is about trying to ignore societal convention.
Profile Image for Sara Raquel.
194 reviews85 followers
December 19, 2021
4.5/5
You do you is a self-help book that teaches you how to stand up for what you want, need and deserve and why it's okay to be selfish and unconventional. Sarah Knight gives amazing tips on how to be happy in a world where you're constantly judged.

I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. Sarah is so funny, I love her humor and I'm sure she's a fun person to be around. I really enjoyed the fact that she often tells about herself and specific parts of her life that she learned from.
I also appreciated that she wants the reader to be free from society's rules and ideas but she always reminds us that we don't have the right to be rude or hurt other people by doing so.
She gives specific examples of situations where her tips can be applied, which i found very helpful. I also loved that the book contained many mental exercises and questions to reflect on with a blank space for the reader to write in. It was a great way to pause and think.

This book definitely made me want to read more non-fiction.
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