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Choose Wonder Over Worry: Move Beyond Fear and Doubt to Unlock Your Full Potential

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From the powerhouse Mind Body Green calls "the Brené Brown of Wonder" comes a self-help book that will reframe the way we look at ourselves and the world, and help us reach our full potential.

"Amber Rae is the Elizabeth Gilbert of her generation." —Stacy London, New York Times bestselling author of The Truth about Style

WONDER is what we’re born with.
WORRY is what we learn.

Why do we hold back from pursuing what matters most? Why do we listen to the voice inside our head that tells us we're not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough? How can we move beyond the fear and doubt that prevents us from creating a life that reflects who we truly are?

CHOOSE WONDER OVER WORRY is your official invitation to face your fears, navigate your discomfort, and rewrite the "worry myths” in your mind that keep you from being your best and truest self.

Journey with inspirational speaker and artist AMBER RAE as she connects you with your voice of worry and wonder, teaches you to listen to your emotions rather than silence them, and encourages you to seize your dreams. Through a thoughtful blend of vulnerability, soulfulness, and science, Amber Rae guides you in expressing the fullness of who you are and the gifts you’re here to give.

You don’t have to be held back by Worry when Wonder awaits you every moment of every day.

Worry or Wonder: which will you choose?

235 pages, Hardcover

First published May 15, 2018

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About the author

Amber Rae

2 books117 followers
Amber Rae is an author, artist and global voice for emotional wellness and self-discovery.

She turns highly relatable insights on the human experience into viral art, sold-out venues, and best-selling books. She’s the author of Choose Wonder Over Worry: Move Beyond Fear and Doubt to Unlock Your Full Potential and The Answers Are Within You: 108 Keys to Unlock Your Mind, Body & Soul.

Her work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, NYMag, TODAY, SELF, Fortune, Forbes and Entrepreneur.

Amber has collaborated with brands such as Kate Spade, Apple, ABC, and One Medical, and she reaches over 9MM people per month online with her words and art.

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5 stars
593 (31%)
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598 (31%)
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520 (27%)
2 stars
142 (7%)
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39 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 227 reviews
Profile Image for Rachelle.
1,049 reviews
May 16, 2018
Choose Wonder Over Worry... Amber Rae's autobiographical journal, NOT a book to help you live with more wonder. As an autobiography, this book has the start of a fantastic outline. Amber's personal story is fascinating; it's brave of her to share her struggles.

As a self-help book, it does remind readers how precious our one life is. Amber used the following (too many!) Worry Myths to explain how we refrain from living with wonder: SHOULD, FEAR, SELF-DOUBT, PROCRASTINATION, STRESSED OUT, UNCERTAINTY, ENVY, COMPARISON, HUSTLING FOR APPROVAL, SHAME, DEFEAT, IMPOSTER SYNDROME, HIDING, JUDGEMENT, UNLOVABLE, JEALOUSY, ANGER, SUFFERING, OVERWHELMED, ANXIETY, LOSS, AVOIDANCE, ADDICTION, AND PERFECTIONISM.

The format of the text was choppy; every few sentences stopped to form a new paragraph. I enjoyed seeing diagrams, sketches and Wonderventions throughout the book for visual aid, but wish they were more colorful or in shades of grey with pattern. Illustrations were too simple for a book with so much potential! The cover is amazing and will stand out on a shelf. The "Journal into Wonder" boxes look like they were added as an afterthought, too cramped with the text. I would have preferred to see this section on a full page spread like Wonderventions.

Relevant information and advice could be condensed between 50-100 pages. I was overwhelmed by the remaining personal stories, unsure how they relate to my life and living with more wonder. It felt like she was journaling her feelings.
Profile Image for Dee.
209 reviews43 followers
March 5, 2023
Absolutely loved this book. second time round reading it!

First read in 2018 and i then found it recently and thought i would see how i felt about it a few years on.
Amber Rae really is a special type of writter. Shes honest, open and fills in us with a sence of gratitude that leaves you feeling emotionally stronger.
She shares her inner most demons with a confidence you cant help coming away with for yourself.

She makes us feel real! To learn to accept ourself and our flaws. To love ourself for your emotional cracks or "baggage".
No excuse.no self sabotage. No looking back. Say no to it all.

If anyone needs a good, honest and caring approach to self help thats in the style of cheryl strayed then this is a good place to start ❤.

Her life story may not be something you would do or have done but her situation is hers. The overall message im sure we can all connect and relate to in some way
1 review5 followers
April 16, 2018
WOW. Amber Rae’s honesty and transparency in sharing her story is both confronting and inspiring. I'm more honest and true in my own life and writing because of her. Through her journey she allows us to reveal our own journey's - our struggles, our pain, our mistakes, our triumphs - with others in a way that allows them to be real too. Thank you for going there and entrusting your story with the reader. I am certain that we need books like this to inspire generations to come to be real, true, honest, and to grow, heal, and transform because of it. I say all of this with my bias as Amber’s fiancé. Watching her process of creating from the most tender places was truly inspiring. And this book is part of a much bigger movement to unearth the truth hidden within all of us.
Profile Image for Steven.
1,065 reviews382 followers
May 7, 2018
Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

So, thanks to some personal stuff in my life lately, I've been on a self-help kick, so when I saw this one and read the blurb (and saw that it wasn't too long), I asked for an ARC. And I'm glad I did. While this book isn't extremely life-changing or chock full of advice, it was engaging and thought-provoking and really drives home the point that our perspective drives our happiness, our success, our lives. She uses personal stories to let the reader know she's been there, done that, got the tee shirt. She aims not to preach, but to connect.

All in all, a fun read that'll make you think and tweak the way you process and see the world/others. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to make some changes in how they live, as it's an easy read and brimming with encouragement.

3.5 stars rounded up. :)

Review to come at release date... initial thoughts: very engaging writing style, lots of things to think about. 3.5 stars, rounded up.
Profile Image for Jes.
671 reviews
November 12, 2018
Calling Amber Rae the Elizabeth Gilbert of Millennials is an insult to millennials and Elizabeth Gilbert. I came, I read, and I left...underwhelmed. If you're looking for REAL self improvement, look at the people she quoted all along. They are surely much more qualified, educated, and wise than the "advice" I got from this book.

Speaking of which, what is this book even? It's a bastard memoir that wanted to be self help and the only one who is actually receiving help is the author. Sure, she may have struggled but that was not a picture she illustrated well. Sure, she may have overcome, but so what? Her story isn't more interesting than the thousands of other better book writers. Amber, if you wanted to write a memoir, write the memoir and leave it out of self help.

This book was shallow, vain, and ill informed. The chapter on Anxiety? What about, oh I don't know, getting some actual counseling and medication? A lot of the things she's addressing NEED counseling and medication and not the faux bootstrapping that she supposedly did to get through her rough time.

The only thing--THE ONLY THING that I liked about this book were the prompts. Because writing it all out IS useful. But come on, skip this book and read better self improvement books.

I'd only recommend this to kids in middle and high school, kids who want to feel enlightened without actually having to do any work, and juveniles who want to look hip and trendy by choosing Wonder over Worry.

I do not recommend this to anyone look for actual good advice.
Profile Image for Leigh Ann.
208 reviews16 followers
March 26, 2018
Helpful for those willing to recognize, confront, and accept their own flaws.

Other reviews express displeasure at the personal nature of Choose Wonder over Worry, but they seem to miss the point: Amber Rae attempts to show how she was and how she came to be. Her examples, anecdotes, and revelations are meant to show us that we're not alone, just as she's not alone, and that everyone can use the tools and tips she demonstrates in the book.

She's not dictating, she's guiding, and without personality the book would not have the same impact--it would be a doctor's prescription rather than a mentor's advice.

The writing itself is formulaic and structured rather like a talk; Amber Rae reiterates her points often enough, as well as revisits ideas from several angles (i.e., Introducing [feeling / voice]). The content is soul-baring and honest, which I very much appreciate.

4/5 stars: an excellent book, but not particularly groundbreaking.
Profile Image for Courtney.
1,321 reviews
July 9, 2019
(2.5 stars) I swear I just read this book, and it was called Girl, Wash Your Face. Most of the time I was reading this I was thinking "Oh hey, she read Brene Brown and repackaged it with fun fonts" Bonus half star for the journal prompts. Maybe I'm just old and grumpy and need a book called "When Your Passion Won't Pay the Bills"
March 16, 2018
In my opinion, something about this book is not right. The intention behind it and the topic being tackled is a big issue nowadays for people everywhere, but as someone who had high levels of anxiety it before, I know this book wouldn't do much for me. Amber starts with a preface that sounds a bit promising stating that she wants to write a book that would make "people" upset but the whole book just sounds like ongoing rambling.Nothing in this book is new or innovative comparing to what has been released in self-help. In my opinion, Amber tried to replicate "The subtle art of not Giving an F$$$" but failed. Her Ted talk and Instagram feed are nice though.
I would not buy this book for me or my teenage daughter(if I had one).
Profile Image for Kristin.
903 reviews21 followers
May 28, 2018
I chose this book because of the brightly colored cover and because the title implied it would help me with my anxiety. In truth, this book was like most personal growth books I've read recently. The advice is good, but it mostly comes from various other sources (Julia Cameron, Elizabeth Gilbert, Seth Godin, Oprah Winfrey, Brene Brown, etc.) and is compiled in one place. I liked the chapter titles, which gave examples of problems we deal with. I think this book would appeal to a younger audience (post high school teens, young 20 somethings) who haven't delved very deep into the self help library. For those of us who have read more of the "classics," not much new is said. I'm giving it 2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Laura.
510 reviews31 followers
January 29, 2018
As a 'self-help' book, this didn't really do a lot for me. It's more like a load of anecdotal essays from the author about her experiences, interspersed with some 'motivational' quotes which seem to be the extent of the 'self-help' bit. Admittedly the anecdotes help to apply some of the guidance, but I certainly wouldn't have marketed this as a self-help book. If I had bought this with that belief in mind, I would have been sorely disappointed.
Profile Image for Stephanie Thoma.
Author 1 book16 followers
May 30, 2019
Amber Rae writes in a way that mirrors the self-doubt I've felt, with the pragmatic reasons why your dream or goal won't work, you're not qualified, etc. and then SHUTS IT DOWN. This book is a friendly reminder to lead with curiosity (logic) or wonder (emotion) versus worry and doubt. Her illustrations and journal prompts are open-ended and ripe for getting some clarity and her personal stories really drew me in, knowing she was opening herself up vulnerably by sharing some things she could be judged for. She's inspired me to be more open.

Some takeaways:
- Worry: who the hell are you to do that? vs. Wonder: If not you, then who?
- Toxic vs. Useful worry: relentless past or future focused thoughts, we spend 80% of our attention on this, vs. imagining setbacks and what prepared you for this and taking action
- fear as a signal of what we must do. If you didn't care there wouldn't be fear!
- When you feel torn of like you don't know what to do next, it's likely not being confused, but being terrified of the next step.
- Sometimes we turn towards those who will bring us down as a form of self-sabotage. When they think small and you come to them with. big ideal, they tear it down and you can justify staying small. Get clear on who your true allies are and who you need to create boundaries with to move toward your ideal self.
- Asking for what's interesting vs easy. "All the really interesting things in life are difficult. Love, wisdom, growth, compassion, learning, travel, loyalty, courage, endurance, transformation. But interesting doesn't mean tormenting. When things get difficult, it doesn't mean you have to suffer and moan and pull out your hair and ren your clothes. It just means things have gotten... well... verrrry interesting." - Liz Gilbert
- If you sense you are judging someone, think, "You are an aspect of myself. We are not separate. Thank you for this gift of awareness."
- When there is an aspect of betrayal: "Your first relationship is over. Would you like to create a second one?" - Ester Perel
1 review
November 18, 2018
This was a memoir written by someone who just wanted to say they wrote a book. The author spent the entire book trying to prove that it was necessary and "brave" of her to write a book. However, this book did not have much substance or credibility. The book felt like a compilation of other peoples' quotes and ideas sprinkled among some personal stories that didn't always feel genuine. The constant use of expletives took away from the message as well. The entire message could have been condensed into a short article about following your dreams, published in a teen magazine. If you are an adult and want some real advice, I recommend seeking other credible sources. This felt dry and superficial.
Profile Image for Emily.
80 reviews
February 11, 2018
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I had a hard time finishing this book. The author has her heart in the right place but the book didn't seem to have much substance to it and wasn't very helpful. Maybe for a younger (teenage) audience it would do better. I didn't feel like I learned anything new to help me and the information was covered in a more engaging way in other self help books.
Profile Image for Lea.
2,102 reviews41 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
September 16, 2018
What this book is: a sort of memoir where she talks of her experiences, a lot of quotes from other people who have written self help books, a small space for journaling some ideas.

What this book isn’t: a self help book, anything to do with anxiety/worry, a solution to a problem.

Where I stopped: I made it to Part 2 but only because I was listening on audio during a walk.
29 reviews1 follower
February 8, 2020
Now I feel like this is the kind of book I’ll need when I get older and get a job. I fear that when I grow up, mental problems will take action and throw way too many knives at me. I’m glad to have it in case! And this book stays on topic on how to solves problems really well, too!
Profile Image for Sarah.
154 reviews2 followers
November 12, 2018

It felt like I was reading a very long inspirational poster about "Hanging In There" and "Perseverance". No real depth and emotional connection to the book.
Profile Image for Trameka.
7 reviews12 followers
May 16, 2018
I received this book from Goodreads through a giveaway, but my thoughts are my own..

I liked this book. It had it's moments that made me roll my eyes and moments when it told me exactly what I needed to hear.

When I first started this book, a lot resonated with me. I always ask myself what would happen if I put myself out there and get rejected. Do I have enough experience? That person over there is better than me because blah blah. Reading Gilbert’s same doubts felt refreshing and real, like I was listening to a friend. Her honesty and openness made me feel like I’m not alone, bashing myself in my head. Who would really tell you that they were doing the same in real life?

Then, she loses me when she starts talking about Wonder and Worry and Magic. I understand Gilbert wanted her readers to acknowledge those feelings because it is important, but thinking about them as little personalities threw me off. I also felt that this book skipped around a lot and sometimes didn’t have the best transitions. The chapters that spoke to me, really spoke to me while others that focused on Addiction and Hiding were skippable. I didn’t do any of the exercises because they felt cheesy and the Epilogue didn’t say anything.

All in all, I enjoyed it. I took from it what I needed and it was nice to hear a fresh perspective of someone my age, living with all the same doubts and learning life from things not working out. I highlighted a ton, shared advice with friends who were going through similar things, and asked myself questions that I wouldn’t have before. Gilbert’s raw emotion on the page felt like I was reading her diary. This book made me feel something and that’s the whole point, right?
May 21, 2018
The end is the beginning.

Phenomenal book my friend. As one of the back quotes says this is a book “you buy copies for all the people you care about.” So. Much. Vulnerability. That shows your truth and how to live in the tension. This book will sit with me for a long time. Thank you for writing this and sharing it with the world.

I remember meeting Amber while walking by her office in South Park in San Francisco several years ago. I've always been captivated by Amber's sense of wonder...her stories, her power, her truths are even more powerful in person than on paper if you can imagine. I can attest to the fact she writes with an authentic voice and has always been inspiring to us. I think what makes this book special is that through her own journey, her self-discovery, her freedom from her own fears, and her own worries allows us to be free ourselves.

While reading Amber's book, I'm reminded of the Marianne Williamson quote: "And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Amber's presence -- captured in her book -- unconsciously gives us permission to let our light shine. As she is liberated from her own fear -- worry -- her words give us the power to do the same.

The end is the beginning.

Profile Image for Jess Macallan.
Author 3 books110 followers
April 20, 2018
This is the kind of book I would recommend for someone who needs the reminder that they're worthy, capable, and should get out of their own way to make magic happen (so basically everyone). I appreciated the supportive tone and journaling exercises. I'm easily bored with journaling exercises in most self-help books because they frequently come across as contrived. This book is different, and the prompts and graphics were simple, powerful, and focused. Two exercises readers will find especially helpful are making a list of ways to love yourself (who doesn't need more of that?) and learning how to act upon your anger instead of acting out of anger.

The author did a nice job of weaving her personal story into the book, and it illustrates how easily things can go wrong and how we can own our authentic selves and face tough situations. This book would make a great weekend read for anyone looking to get back on track with who they are and what they want out of life.

I received an e-copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for MMill.
658 reviews6 followers
April 23, 2019
I follow Amber Rae on Instagram, so I thought I'd check out her new book. I like the overall concept of choosing wonder over worry (my default is worry HAHA), and I was hoping for some tips on how to actually DO that. Unfortunately, there was a lot of advice that works great in little sound bites (and looks pretty made into graphics on Instagram) but aren't really a how-to. The cute journal pages written in fancy script felt a bit like filler. Other reviewers were bothered by her stories and felt there was too much of the author's SELF and not enough of the help. I didn't mind her interjecting her experiences in there, because that helped me think of similar experiences I've had and helped me relate to what she was saying. Still, I was hoping for more concrete advice than I found in here. There were a few things that hit home, but I wanted more "Aha!" moments than I got.
1 review
April 17, 2018
Something I love about this book is how it so cleverly speaks to the many worries and fears that hold us all back from being more bold with making choices in our life - the choices that often make all the difference to us either living a life of 'meh' or a life of 'ahhhh yeah.' Amber presents her work as an artist and storyteller often does - with interesting and captivating anecdotes that allow for the reader to reflect and relate with ease. I'm only half way through and already excited to see where she takes this and what other gems will emerge in the pages to come! Overall, I Love her message and what she's bringing to the world.
Profile Image for Natalie.
Author 2 books22 followers
February 20, 2019
I followed Amber Rae's blog online for soooo long and even e-mailed her one day to tell her she should write a book - I'm sure I was one of many. Here is that long-awaited book. There are so many valuable messages inside that I think everyone needs to hear & be reminded of (even if they think they already know it). I see myself in her stories, many I have finally outgrown and got on the other side of, and some I am still holding on to out of fear. A good read for anyone who is holding themselves back out of fear, imposter syndrome, perfectionism, addiction, or any number of "characters" that show up and take over our thoughts that we simply need to tell to SHUT UP. :)
1 review
June 24, 2018
This book gave me ALL the feelings. It's healing. It's inspiring. It made me dig deep and feel truly seen. It's one of those rare ones that you highlight all over the place, can't wait to get back to and don't want to end. I have a feeling I'll keep flipping it open over the years for gems of inspiration and wisdom. Amber Rae takes you into the world of emotions and helps you navigate your way to greater freedom and truth.
Profile Image for Amanda.
210 reviews
February 10, 2018
I received a copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway. While the book does focus more on the author's personal journey, I think there was a lot of advice that could be applied to anyone. We all have a choice to make as to how we live our lives and this book has some good thoughts and worksheets as to how we can best apply ourselves and be happy.
April 25, 2019
I loved it! It was a fairly easy read and I felt very inspired after reading it. I really enjoyed Amber's ability to weave her personal trials, successes, and failures into advice and inspiration for others.
Profile Image for Beth Gea.
Author 2 books36 followers
May 23, 2019
Contiene unos ejercicios para reflexionar en tu diario que me han gustado. Aunque no los he hecho todos, me gusta saber que los tengo a mano para cuando los necesite.

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