Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching : A 5 Step Guide to Creative Complaining

Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching : A 5 Step Guide to Creative Complaining

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by Barbara S. Held
     
 

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If you are tired of being told:

"Cheer up -- things could be worse"

"Smile -- look on the bright side"

"Stop complaining--it's not that bad"

If you have ever said to yourself:

"What's to stop things from getting worse?"

"The bright side isn't that bright"

"Why should I stop complaining -- it is pretty bad"

Then you need to assert

Overview

If you are tired of being told:

"Cheer up -- things could be worse"

"Smile -- look on the bright side"

"Stop complaining--it's not that bad"

If you have ever said to yourself:

"What's to stop things from getting worse?"

"The bright side isn't that bright"

"Why should I stop complaining -- it is pretty bad"

Then you need to assert your inalienable right to kvetch (complain) -- and this book will show you how.

Self-help books abound. And virtually every one of them pushes us to look on the bright side -- to be ever more optimistic, cheerful, positive, happy. If this "don't worry be happy" approach to life worked, would we need so many of these self-help books? Aren't there times when you feel miserable about something and just want to complain about it?

Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching: A 5-Step Guide to Creative Complaining is the first self-help book to challenge the assumption of other self-help books. As the author puts it, "It's bad enough to face the harsh reality that life is hard. But then to be told by therapists, authors of self-help books, and countless others that we have to act -- or worse yet be -- happy about that fact is to add insult to injury. You not only feel bad, you feel guilty that you can't feel good." The author calls this "The Tyranny of the Positive Attitude."

Of course, the trick is in knowing how to kvetch (complain) properly, so that we attract others with our kvetching, rather than repel them. This the author calls "Creative Kvetching."

Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching is also one of the first self-help books to combine real self-help with real humor. The self-help is embodied in the five easy steps to creative complaining:

  • Step 1. Your Inalienable Right to Kvetch
  • Step 2. You Can't Kvetch to All of the People All of the Time
  • Step 3. Do Not Pretend You Aren't Kvetching When You Are
  • Step 4. Do Not Be a Competitive Kvetcher
  • Step 5. In Praise of Kvetching

The humor is embodied in the eight cartoons that illustrate the book (six from The New Yorker), the many real-life humorous anecdotes that bring its advice to life, and the use of well known celebrities to illustrate the concepts of creative and noncreative kvetching.

Editorial Reviews

Alan Caruba
The author contends that other self-help books with their message that you have to act happy and be happy all the time are often just a guilt trip that ignores the fact that we often encounter things worth complaining about. She does so with refreshing humor and I think this book will prove helpful to those too timid to complain when they should.
Bookviews
Michael J. Carson
In Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching, Barbara Held's genuine humor with a practical and unique approach to self-help is based on the premise that having to act happy (or worse, actually be happy) when the harsh realities of life descend upon us is to add insult to injury. Rather, the trick to true happiness under trying circumstances is to know how to complain (kvetch) properly, so that we attract others, including their assistance and resources, rather than repel them...Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching is the ideal antidote to all those other saccharine and submissive self-help books.
Midwest Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781879418691
Publisher:
Audenreed Press
Publication date:
06/01/1999
Pages:
160

What People are saying about this

Frederick Crews
Help has arrived for the chronically cheerful. Buy and read Barbara's book; even if you only like some of it, you will learn how to complain about the other parts.
— (Frederick Crews, author of The Pooh Perplex)
Bernie Siegel
I thoroughly agree with the principle of creative kvetching.... Submissive suffering is self-destructive. I personally, when asked how I am feeling, answer, "Depressed, out of antidepressants and my doctor is away so I can't renew my prescription." Three quarters of the people answer, "I know how you feel." If they had kvetched they'd feel better.
— (Bernie Siegel, MD, author of Love, Medicine & Miracles & Prescriptions For Living)

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Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching: A 5-Step Guide to Creative Complaining 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a relief to find a book that doesn't presume that I have to feel good all the time. It's easy to find self help books with the premise that you can feel good all the time. Those books have always frustrated me because I simply can't live up to those standards. Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching is a humorous but effective lesson about life... What a relief to learn that it is okay to acknowledge to yourself and others that life isn't always grand and to learn how to express this without driving others away.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When you open this book, the first thing you notice is the many cartoons that pointedly and humorously illustrate the serious psychology that is at the heart of this wonderful book. Proving that one can think deeply about psychology and philosophy of life without forgetting to laugh, Barbara Held mounts a provocative and informative rebuttal to the popular American cultural emphasis on optimistic smiley faces. I think many people, like myself, were raised in families that repressed the right to complain by insisting that everybody had to be happy and cooperative all of the time. So some instructions on how to kvetch as a creative complainer, and some psychological justifications for kvetching, are most welcome (and long overdue for some of us). Altogether, an interesting and helpful book that is fun to read and liberating to heed ! And Barbara Held includes discussion of another of my favorite concepts, Julie Norem's 'Defensive Pessimism' which makes an excellent companion to 'Kvetching.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
This wonderful little book is great for two groups of people: those who don't express or vent their pain when they need to, and those who complain too much and drive me nuts. Dr. Held gives the first group (the noncomplainers) permission and support to complain or vent to release their pain. She also gives rules for how to complain without driving people away. These rules are particularly helpful to the second group (the people who complain too much). The humor helps both groups relax and take in the unusual but serious and very helpful message. I'm giving this book to friends in both groups.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is funny and helpful. I recommend it to anyone who has a hard time complaining when they need to, either because they haven't master Step 1 of SSSK, namely, 'Our Inalienable Right to Kvetch,' or because ther're afraid of driving people away if they do complain.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Barbara Held is the greatest author of the 21st Century. Her intelligence is only matched by her wit. Her use of humor to describe her steps to creative kvetching has helped this diehard Protestant drop the need to 'put on a happy face' and start to feel better. This 'self-help' book has provided me with the necessary tools to cope with my multiple sclerosis.