Book Reviews

The Art of Living Other People’s Lives: Stories, Confessions, and Memorable Mistakes by Greg Dybec

Note: This book was obtained through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was scrolling through all the books on NetGalley, smarting over the fact that I wasn’t able to find titles that were available in my country. I found this book on the Read Now section and I wasn’t really concentrating when I was reading the synopsis. I read the Note From the Publisher, saw Mark Cuban’s name on it while describing the book, and started going over the page again with an almost feverish excitement. (The author asks Cuban for life advice in the book. Can I do that too, please?) It has a great title, a great synopsis, and an amazing cover to boot! I started reading it immediately.

Goodreads synopsis:

28592829Elite Daily managing editor Greg Dybec worries about rent, sex, love, family, and—the most millennial topic of them all—a desire to leave a legacy. In The Art of Living Other People’s Lives, Greg delivers a funny, brash, and insightful collection of twenty never-before-published stories on becoming a pick-up artist to get over an ex-girlfriend, late-night adventures with his Uber driver, having a Twitter-induced panic attack, picking up a gig writing about men’s underwear, and more.
Greg’s writing is all at once candid, honest, and unapologetic, and his hilariously neurotic and self-analytical journey will strike a chord with anyone struggling to balance their IRL selves with their virtual ones.

 

Review:

This book is a collection of twenty stories from Dybec about his life experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It did not feel like a book, it felt more like the author was a friend sitting next to me, telling me about the riveting encounters and experiences he has had in life.

Right from the beginning, the reader will get hooked. As Managing Editor of Elite Daily (yes, the site all over your social media feed), Dybec gives some interesting insights into the lives of people from the other side of the Internet. In the very first chapter, he talks about using Google Analytics to see what keywords led people to Elite Daily’s site. The chapter is aptly titled “People of the Internet, You Are Not Alone”. After reading the giant list of examples in this book, the next time you Google something you definitely will realize you aren’t alone.

The writing was delightful. There were a few grammatical errors, which I’m sure the final published copy will be free of. One thing I did not like in the first chapter was the sheer amount of entries in the Google Analytics keywords list. It just felt a little longer than needed to convey the point. We get it, people have some very honest searches. The reader would probably feel bombarded with way more examples than needed. This was my only problem with the book. Everything else was truly excellent.

This book is for every millennial out there. Greg Dybec is you. You will definitely find something in this book that you can connect with. For me, it was the chapters “Confessions of a God-Fearing Atheist” and “The Art of Living Other People’s Lives”. I guess you could call me a God-fearing atheist. There were a lot of things in this chapter that I have pondered over at some point too. The final chapter “The Art of Living Other People’s Lives” was what I liked the best in this book. It was the perfect finish to a wonderful collection of short (real) stories. It was the chapter I was able to connect with the most, since I…ahem… eavesdrop a little too. If the author had been sitting by me, I would have indulged in some high pitched screeching followed by a loud exclamation of “Ermahgerd, I do that too!”.

I swear by my comment that readers will have something to connect with in this book. Because when it comes to getting readers to feel kinship, I trust the guy who writes “21 things you’ll understand if you *insert random habit*” posts for a living. If Greg Dybec releases a second book, I will be first in line to buy it.

Just some quotes to fangirl over:

“A villa, in my mind, was a place where rich people go to feel even richer without having to interact with humans other than the ones they handpick to join them.”

That was one neat observation.

“As far as I knew, Jesus was as real as George Washington, since they both had Xeroxed worksheets about their lives handed out by adults.”

THIS. I remember having to put my e-reader down to go like this.

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“Things were going well, to say the least. And when things are going well, praying doesn’t seem as necessary as when they’re going to shit.”

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Lastly, look at this beautifully structured gospel truth.

“The American Dream is no longer a follower of established commercialism. And certainly no longer in pursuit of a steady paycheck. The American Dream is entrepreneurial and driven by the kind of ideas that make people irate because they didn’t think of them first.”

Rating: 4 out of 5

It is very rare for me to enjoy a non-fiction book. I loved every minute of this book and would highly recommend it to all twenty somethings.

The book is expected to be published on January 3rd, 2017.

 

So, what did you think of the review? Let me know in the comments!

~ Shruti

 

 

 

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