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How to Be Fine: What We Learned from Living by the Rules of 50 Self-Help Books
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How to Be Fine: What We Learned from Living by the Rules of 50 Self-Help Books

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  2,129 ratings  ·  432 reviews
A humorous and insightful look into what advice works, what doesn’t, and what it means to transform yourself, by the co-hosts of the popular By the Book podcast.

In each episode of their podcast By the Book, Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer take a deep dive into a different self-help book, following its specific instructions, rules, and advice to the letter. From diet
ebook, 256 pages
Published March 17th 2020 by William Morrow
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 ·  2,129 ratings  ·  432 reviews

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sarah xoxo
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How to Be Fine is the perfect book for those wanting to gain insights and tips from self help- without having to sift through hundreds of books. After living by the rules of over 50 books, these authors share the best and worst advice they have been given.

Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer are hosts of the podcast 'By the Book', where they live by the rules of a different self help book for two weeks and share what worked for them, and what didn't.
I have recently really gotten into their po
Anne Bogel
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kristen and Jolenta's podcast By the Book is a winning combination of wise and fun: to make every episode, they commit to living strictly by the rules of one self-help book for two weeks, and then gather to discuss what worked, what didn't, and what they learned.

In this new book, they share what they've learned over time from following the rules of more than fifty self-help books, two weeks at a time.

Fun, funny, and insightful.
Nada Elshabrawy
very funny.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well this title is surprisingly apropos of everything right now. The two hosts of the By the Book podcast have talked about putting self-help books into practice for a while - each episode of their podcast takes a specific self-help book, tries it out, and comes back to discuss the experience. This book pulls those experiences together like a review article, if you know academic writing. Rather than make each chapter a different book, they group concepts into two sections of what they found in t ...more
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
As one who is addicted to bad self-help books, this book was an appealing project to me. The best part is the authors' taking to task the worst kind of self-helps by the Rachel Hollis and Jen Sicneros and the diet types. I also LOVE that they both could not get into meditation. I am right there with them. ...more
Yesenia Cash
That was fast, it’s ok...a vague summary of several self help books.
I haven't listened to the podcast from which this book is developed, but now I really want to. A fascinating look at self-help books, what works from within them, as well as what they all seem to be lacking or suggesting. As someone who loves self-help/self-improvement and yet finds so many so frustrating, this was totally up my alley. The authors, being podcasters, are natural audiobook performers, too. ...more
Qualifying my two stars with the disclaimer that I've not listened to the podcast and I'm not a self-help book person.

BUT... not being a self-help book person might, generally, be a plus with this book because, for the most part, the authors aren't fans of the genre either. Okay, maybe they are, since they choose to spend a lot of time reading and discussing self-help books, but vastly more of this book is about what they thought was Wrong with the advice they got than about what was useful.

Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Two friends with very different approaches to life take on a series of two week challenges, each based on a self-help book. Each of the two friends evaluates the success of the challenge upon each person’s sense of happiness. This book is a venue to share the challenges that worked best and least well.
2.5 stars. What I liked about this book: 1-it was short; 2- it summarized the basic premises of 50 self-books and what that looked like in their lives; and 3-I really liked their message on body image. What I did not like about this book: 1-their voice and personality were too much for me, they were crass at times, and spoke like they had a chip on their shoulders and a very apparent agenda; 2-I have read a few of the books they reviewed and felt like they unfairly twisted some of the messages.

This was a short and fun book to read, because it summed up a lot of thoughts on various self help books into a neat train of thought. They were broken down by their concepts and what worked/didn’t work for the authors. There wasn’t a whole lot said about the individual works themselves, so if you’re looking for more of that the book probably isn’t for you. But if you want quick tips and general concepts that stretch across various books in the genre, then this isn’t a bad read at all. 3.5 stars
Lori C
Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Fair Education

"I’ve started being able to see my life as a series of brave choices to try new things. And if trying new things usually leaves me feeling like I’ve got a list of badass accomplishments in my wake, then I guess I’m pretty into trying new things".

This book was a fantastic idea. As someone who isn't a fan of this podcast, or podcast in general, and has never had the patience to read an entire self-help book, I was able to absorb a lot of information here. In all honesty, I didn't
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a gift for the fans of the show and the amazing women behind it. It’s a treat to listeners and it is what it is: a summary of what the show brought to their lives (and to ours). It was a delight to read as much as much as it is to listen to the podcast.
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
"And it's superhard to be a feminist and also ask your parents to spend thousands of dollars so you can publicly declare the fact that you're going to try your hardest to bone only one person for the rest of your life. But I wanted to have it all, and that meant making this promise to bone this one guy forever while dressed like a pretty, pretty princess."

HOW TO BE FINE is self-help book guide to reading self-help books. But also just a self-help book for the modern world. Jolenta Greenberg and
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These two have a podcast that's pretty popular so I listened to this on audio and I highly recommend that format. Their alternating voices and just the way they tell their own experiences in living "by the book" was pretty great. This book is exactly what I wanted it to be: it's like listening to two friends of yours share their highs and lows from the world of self-help books over cocktails. I also appreciated their counterpoints to the whole self help book culture (as in: they're mostly writte ...more
Esther King
A very quick read (that I just didn’t review earlier because I’m a lazy sod) that essentially summarises a number of self help books and gives readers...another self help book. It’s not bad, and it certainly bears with it some interesting points, but with so much saturation of self help, you have to wonder if this approach is the best one.

Some books I found particularly difficult to stomach when they were summarised within, so that made for interesting reading. Some books were just absurd. I th
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2020-read

I wasn't familiar with Jolenta and Kristen's podcast, "By the Book," but I liked that this book recapped the salient points of what they have found without there needing to be much of a deep dive. I listened to this as an audiobook and it was a great quick book to listen to while I was cooking over the weekend. The book is divided up into three sections: things that worked, things that didn't, and things we wish people talked more about. I loved that "become a morning person" was under things th
Ben Rogers
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Another pretty poor book.

Some of the books they summarized I've read, but a lot of them I wouldn't have read. Still some good points, but generally - I'd just recommend reading the 50 books over this, as it didn't really accurately summarise them.

Abby Johnson
This was an interesting look at some of the self-help books that have been published and two women's experiences with reading them and living "by the book". The commentary is sometimes funny, often vulnerable as Jolenta and Kristen shared parts of their lives. The authors present a podcast called By the Book, but you don't need to be a listener of the podcast to understand what's happening in the book (I have never listened to their podcast). I think this could be a fun read for anyone fascinate ...more
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not familiar with the podcast, but I read my fair share of self help books and after hearing about this book on NPR I knew I had to check it out. I loved Kristen & Jolenta's take down of self help advice that is unhelpful, and often sexist, racist, classist, and/or ableist. I appreciated the authors differing views based on their different lives and personal experiences. The book has three sections: things that worked, things that didn't work, and things they wish more books recommended. I t ...more
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoy the By the Book podcast. Greenberg and Meinzer take two weeks and live strictly (sometimes not so strictly) by various self-help books. For those people who aren't avid self-help readers, they might wonder if there are really that many books out there. Oh yes, there are. Books that range from really useful to downright ridiculous and the authors of this book have read over 50 at this point. If you have ever wondered about self-help books, listening to the podcast is definitely wort ...more
May 02, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think fans of the authors’ podcast will probably really enjoy this book because they will better understand, going into it, what to expect. I didn’t personally connect with How To Be Fine, because I was looking for something a bit more substantive. More examples from the actual books the authors examined would have gone a long way for me. As it is, once a reader, not already a fan, starts disagreeing with a number of their general takeaways, it’s simply too easy to lose interest. I guess that’ ...more
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
The first part of this book was ok. It was things that they learned from the self help books. The other two parts, especially the last part (things they wish self help books would cover) were torturous. I nearly put the book down at several points. I wish that women would realize that you can be hilarious without being crass. One of these writers in particular sucked at that. Also, “funnest” is not a word. Any book that uses that “word” gets bumped down a star automatically. It’s not cool or hip ...more
Anna H.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jill Furedy
I liked this book the whole time I was reading it. The set up was not at all what I expected - I sort of thought they would go through all 50 books one at a time and tell us a summary of their podcast. I thought the podcast sounded fun when I heard ads for it but I have such a backlog of unlistened to podcasts already that I never got around to downloading any episodes of this one. So the books set up of basically: What Worked, What Didn't and Things We Wished They'd Said, was suprising to me bu ...more
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a person who does not read self-help books, I’m surprised how much I LOVED this book, which is a collection of two women’s reflections on living by the rules of 50 self-help books (I’ve read two of the 50, one of which was over a decade ago). The book is conveniently categorized by 1) things that worked, 2) things that didn’t work, and 3) things they wish more self-help books would recommend. I had never heard of their podcast, By the Book, until I heard about this book on NPR’s Code Switch p ...more
Not life changing but i liked it.. it was short , made me laugh and made me think. The authors have a podcasts about their attempts to live by the advice of various self-help books for about two weeks each. This book doesn't go over all 50 of them one by one but instead groups them into categories like meditation or being outdoors and summarizes what they learned and what they thought of the books that touched on the topic. The authors often had very different responses to the books they read. S ...more
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In How to Be Fine, co-authors Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer revisit what they've learned from living by the rules of fifty self-help books for their podcast By the Book. The books they've lived by range from magical get-rich guides, to diet books, to home organization manifestos and books on the benefits of meditation. Kristen and Jolenta organize How to Be Fine in three sections: 13 things that worked, 8 things that didn't work, and 8 things they wish more self-help books would recommen ...more
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A quick, lighthearted read. The authors give a brief synopsis of 50 self-help books, each of which they lived by for 2 weeks. It’s an entertaining premise and I was charmed by their personalities.
May 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My sister and I have been fans of the By The Book podcast for years, so we agreed we had to read this book when it came out. This book was a fun recap of many of their best episodes, and felt like visiting with old friends. Just don’t go into this expecting anything new. If you’re a fan of the podcast, you’ve probably heard these stories before.
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