Psychiatrist Michael Bennett and his comedy-writer daughter, Sarah, combine to demonstrate “why self-improvement is hard and sometimes impossible, even when we’re strong-willed and well guided.”
First, a word about the invectives here: they are legion. “Given life’s cruelty and unfairness,” the Bennetts believe that “profanity is a source of comfort, clarity, and strength.” They may be on to something, for the liberal sprinkling of profanities is not only pointed, but they ring loudly in your head so as not to ring loudly at those with whom you have issues, which rarely improves matters. The authors show us how to stop reaching for the moon, to read the situation, keep cool, and effect what you can. “Sometimes we are simply life’s bitch,” they write, and it’s important to maintain your sense of humor, bend your wishes to the feasible, and tuck away your feelings and bad behaviors. Out of many possible ruinous delusions and adversaries, the Bennetts focus on 10: self-improvement, self-esteem, fairness, helpfulness, serenity, love, communication, parenthood, assholes, and treatment. Regarding love: “In actuality, love and hate aren’t that dissimilar; both evoke the kind of passionate, heated, needy feelings that create more problems than they solve.” You will always be a slave to these qualities and situations as long as you fail to understand your limits and live with them. It’s vital, write the authors, to get informed, pay attention, and refuse to resort to subterfuge. Throughout the book, the Bennetts tender positive suggestions to manage all the “shit” of life via established methods for making the best of things. They provide scenarios aplenty, charts to map helpful behavior, a solid measure of humor, and abundant graciousness, acting as Sherpas through the crevasse fields of life.
The Bennetts administer a highly informative and entertaining smack down to get your head on straight.