×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly's Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life
     

How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly's Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life

by Heather Havrilesky
 

See All Formats & Editions

*A New York Times Love and Relationships bestseller*

For readers of Cheryl Strayed and Anne Lamott, a collection of brand new, impassioned, and inspiring letters by the author of the beloved advice column Ask Polly, featured weekly on New York Magazine's The Cut

Should you quit your day job to

Overview

*A New York Times Love and Relationships bestseller*

For readers of Cheryl Strayed and Anne Lamott, a collection of brand new, impassioned, and inspiring letters by the author of the beloved advice column Ask Polly, featured weekly on New York Magazine's The Cut

Should you quit your day job to follow your dreams? How do you rein in an overbearing mother? Will you ever stop dating wishy-washy, noncommittal guys? Should you put off having a baby for your career? 

Heather Havrilesky, the author of the weekly advice column Ask Polly, featured in New York magazine’s The Cut, is here to guide you through the “what if’s” and “I don’t knows” of modern life with the signature wisdom and tough love her readers have come to expect. 

How to Be a Person in the World
is a collection of never-before-published material along with a few fan favorites. Whether she’s responding to cheaters or loners, lovers or haters, the depressed or the down-and-out, Havrilesky writes with equal parts grace, humor, and compassion to remind you that even in your darkest moments you’re not alone.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/28/2016
Havrilesky (Disaster Preparedness), the writer of New York magazine’s popular “Ask Polly” column, provides a wealth of new material on work, love, friendship, and fulfillment, all written in her straight-shooting signature style. She admonishes a writer worried about her eccentricities for her “reductive dichotomies” when comparing herself to others, but also acknowledges that “people are allergic to confessional, outspoken women.” Providing some much-needed real talk to a writer mired in depression, Havrilesky begins, “Reading your letter feels like playing a board game that you can only lose... Draw a ‘Not a Chance in Hell’ card: ‘Advance to Lonely Life Abroad.’ ” She can be devastating, putting a potential bridezilla in her place (“Your dream will not come true”) and verbally eviscerating a man who feels entitled to extramarital affairs (“You’ve been watching too much Mad Men”). She is similarly direct with a woman consistently involved with married men: “You don’t have compassion for other women.” True to its title, this collection touches on nearly every facet of living, and Havrilesky’s wit, intelligence, and candor set her apart as perhaps the best advice columnist currently in circulation. Agent: Sarah Burnes, Gernert Company. (July)
Library Journal
05/01/2016
Havrilesky (aka Aunt Polly, nymag.com; Disaster Preparedness) collects some of her fan favorites and never-published pieces of advice that take on universal issues such as a chronically unemployed boyfriend, the ennui of being nice, and the guilt of having an affair. However, both the questions and answers the author provides seem to pander to an audience that is as much interested in the cleverness of the response as they are in the topics. Havrilesky's writing is sound, yet, as noted in the New York Times Book Review, it takes a bit of reading to get to the essence. VERDICT Perfect for advice seekers who are also looking for solutions laced with touches of snark, humor, and a willingness to "get" all sides of the subject.
Kirkus Reviews
2016-04-30
An advice columnist provides real examples of the problems people face.Popular New York Magazine advice columnist, author of "Ask Polly," Havrilesky (Disaster Preparedness, 2010) shares a series of letters that cut to the chase on a variety of topics. Do you need to know what to do when you contract a sexually transmitted disease? Do you want to transition from a party girl to a more responsible adult without taking all the fun out of life? Are you searching for a lifetime partner in all the wrong places? The author tackles all these heady issues and more in her no-nonsense, in-your-face, funny-yet-useful answers. Havrilesky uses examples from her own complicated life to help readers understand that they are not alone, that she too has encountered numerous problems and been able to find solutions. One common theme is the importance of not dwelling on mistakes. "You have to make peace with yourself," writes the author. "Push away the bad voices, again and again, and replace them with something kinder and more patient. Say to yourself, ‘I'm broken right now, but I'm doing my best.' Take in the electricity, the shivers, the rough-hewn fear of your raw state, and eventually, if you welcome these feelings in enough without fighting them, you'll find inspiration and comfort there." Whether you've committed the "cardinal friendship sin" of dating an ex-boyfriend of a lifetime friend, are struggling to choose between a career as a musician and its inherent demands or the possibility of marriage and children with a woman you love, or are reaching a certain age in life and realize you no longer want to be alone, Havrilesky will tell it straight as to what you should and shouldn't do to remedy the situation. Funny, frank advice for people searching for solutions to a myriad of relationship issues.
From the Publisher
*Esquire Best Books of 2016*
*Harper’s Bazaar Editors Favorite Books of 2016*
*PopSugar Best Books of 2016*
*Nylon Best Books of 2016*

"A genuinely humorous and compelling voice...Havrilesky's writerly energy and passion confirm that the exchange of best friend wisdom — a domain that has always been considered 'female,' and therefore trivial — can be elevated into art."
—Jessi Klein, New York Times Book Review

"[Havrilesky] is part Buddha and part Amy Schumer: wise, whip-smart, and profanely funny."
—Entertainment Weekly

"The best advice columnist of her generation"
—Esquire

“The title of Heather Havrilesky's How to Be a Person in the World is almost too cute.... Like: do we really need a guide to that, and is that really what this is? But it turns out the answers are yes, actually, and yes.”
—Chicago Tribune
 
“There’s something nourishing in every column… But sometimes she writes things that are like opening up the fridge and finding the universe inside.”
—The Atlantic

"What I love so much about Heather Havrilesky and her new book is that, beside being her usual brilliant, hilarious, equally kick-ass and compassionate self, ‎she actually gives great advice. How to be a Person in the World will change your life, for the way better." 
—Anne Lamott, New York Times bestselling author of Small Victories
 
“A large-hearted reminder that all of us are struggling, and none of us are alone.”
—Kate Bolick, author of the national bestseller Spinster
 
“Heather Havrilesky’s advice leaves me laughing, nodding in recognition, pumping my fist with excitement, and furiously underlining passages to capture the wisdom that drops out of her mouth.... This is more than an advice book — it’s a life raft." 
—Sarah Hepola, New York Times bestselling author of Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget
 
“True to its title, this collection touches on nearly every facet of living, and Havrilesky’s wit, intelligence, and candor set her apart as perhaps the best advice columnist currently in circulation.” 
—Publishers Weekly
 
"Funny, frank advice for people searching for solutions to a myriad of relationship issues."
—Kirkus Review
 
“Readers allergic to classic self-help will adore Havrilesky’s empowering, grounding, and utterly sincere message delivered in a lovingly unsparing, perfectly profane tone.”
—Booklist (Starred Review)
 
“In moments of despair, Havrilesky's elegant writing and rock-solid judgment can change your entire outlook. Read How to Be a Person in the World for the advice, but stay for the pure magic that is her perceptiveness and prose.”
—Paper Magazine

"Saying that Havrilesky has a way with words is like saying Marilyn Monroe liked diamonds. Havrilesky doesn’t just write—she dances with the words, building empathetic responses that can’t be classified as just advice columns. They are more keen observations of human behavior."
—BookPage

“[Havrilesky is] an alluringly wry cheerleader, an enthusiastic volunteer offering sports drinks as we struggle past during the half-marathon of life.”
—Slate Book Review
 
“She is not only an excellent writer and cultural critic, but the best possible agony aunt for people who don’t care for agony aunts.... And she has an exceptional ability to hit the nail on the head and fundamentally understand people.”
—The Guardian

“Heather Havrilesky… is both the first and last person you'd seek out for guidance. On one hand, she'll shake you by the shoulders and tell you the truth. On the other, she's the friend rooting you on, cursing (creatively) all the way… Havrilesky abandons the prim and proper and instead delivers delightfully offbeat wisdom with a side of straight talk.”
—NPR

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385540391
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/12/2016
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
74,806
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

HEATHER HAVRILESKY is the author of the memoir Disaster Preparedness. She has written for New York magazine, The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Magazine, Bookforum, The New Yorker, NPR's All Things Considered, and several anthologies. She was a TV critic at Salon for seven years. She lives in Los Angeles with a loud assortment of dependents, most of them nondeductible.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews