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


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

*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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385540391
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/12/2016
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 423,784
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About 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.

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Author’s Note

Excerpted from "How to Be a Person in the World"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Heather Havrilesky.
Excerpted by permission of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi

I Flaws Become You

Here Comes the (Anxious) Bride 5

My Mind Likes Imagining Boys 12

The Poisons of Materialism 18

Am I Too Weird? 24

Crushed by an STD 33

II You Are Uniquely Qualified to Bring You the World

What Would Kanye Do? 43

My Boyfriend Has Never Had a Job 51

Devil Town 56

Commitmentphobes of N.Y.C. 64

III Reckoning, Anger, and Obsession

The Cheat Sheet 73

I'm Tired of Being So Nice 81

The Weight of Rage 86

Cheaters Become You 93

That Bitter Aftertaste 101

IV Weepiness Is Next to Godliness

Drunk No More 113

I'm Dating My Best Friend's Ex 118

How Do I Get Over This Betrayal? 128

Why Don't the Men I Date Ever Love Me? 134

V Identity and Becoming an Artist (Whether You Make Art or Not)

Land of the Lost Artist 147

Lame Job, Lame Life 155

Do I Make Music or Have a Family? 162

This Job Is Killing Me 169

VI The Uncertainty Principle

Making Friends (Out of Nothing at All) 179

I'm Thirty-Eight and Everything Is Awful 189

Don't Shy Away 195

I Don't Know 202

Career or Baby? 209

VII Beauty in the Breakdown

I Feel Haunted by My Affair 221

The Good Wife 229

Full Disclosure 234

Mourning Glory 239

The Bean Eaters 247

Acknowledgments 257

Reading Group Guide

How To Be A Person in The World: Readers Guide

1. If you could ask Polly any question, what would it be?

2. Polly is known for her tough love—does this approach work for you?

3. Even though the truth can be hard, do you see value in the author’s honesty?

4. Polly is a self-care advocate: what are some different methods of self-care she mentions that she thinks you might be able to apply to your own life? Do you agree with her about the importance of exercise to self-discovery and betterment?

5. Did How To Be A Person in The World leave you creatively inspired?

6. Which essay resonated the most with you?

7. Were there any questions that you couldn’t apply to your own life? If so, why?

8. Why do you think the book was titled “How To Be A Person in The World”?

9. Did you have a favorite quote from any of Polly’s answers?

10. Why do you think Heather Havrilesky adopted the persona of “Polly” for her advice column?

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How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly's Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For an adult in existential angst. Pleasantly surprised. Would have liked it to be longer.