I love The Nerdist podcast and Chris Hardwick is great, so I knew I’d eventually have to pick up this up. It’s essentially a nerdy self-help book, more in the ‘life-hack’ sense than the ‘find yourself’ sense, and he narrates the audiobook himself.
This is split into three parts – mind, body and time. Mind focuses a lot on anxiety and addiction, something that Hardwick has had to overcome personally. More generally, the section is about mindfulness and focusing obsessive thoughts (that are common to most nerds) on positive, creative things rather than toxic, self-restricting things. Body discusses how he started working out, after never doing so before, and gives detailed workout plans aimed at gym newbies. Time discusses project management, finances, the importance of saying no, and how to be an evil genius.
This is self-help through a nerd lens. At the beginning, he has you build a D&D-esque character sheet that you work on and develop throughout the book. Different tasks will give you experience and you can level your character up to see your progress. You begin by having to be honest about your own abilities and attributes, knowing that your goal will be to improve the areas that need it. It’s a fun way to motivate yourself. I didn’t do any of this because I was listening to the audiobook and I’m lazy (that would be a trait on my sheet, had I made one), but it still serves the book well to illustrate the points he’s making.
I choose the audiobook for this because I’ve listened to countless hours of The Nerdist Podcast and like Hardwick’s comedic delivery. Any chance to listen to a comedian narrate their own work, I’m there, but this would probably work a lot better in book form. Obviously if you want to follow along with the character sheet, that will work better if you don’t have to pause, and the gym section doesn’t make sense in audio. He describes multiple workouts, with detailed descriptions of the exercises and how many repetitions, and it’s quite a long list. It’s a great resource, but it’s the sort of section that should be scanned and returned to for reference, so it really makes no sense in this format. Have you ever been in conversation with someone who was describing their workout in detail to you? Did you spend the time imagining different ways to harm them with gym equipment? Twenty minutes of this audiobook is that.
This is a fun book. It’s interesting while being full of fun references and Hardwick’s humour. It probably won’t change your life, it’s fairly short and lacks major substance, but it might provide the motivation to start down the right path. Most importantly, to me, it’s entertaining.