Stop What You’re Doing and Read “Yes Please” by Amy Poehler

I just got finished listening to this amazing, inspiring, beautiful book by Amy Poehler. This is going to go on my list as one of my favorites on Audible, by the way. I’m sure the book/ebook is wonderful, but the audio version is like…this awesome party you’ve been invited to. And you know all the people there, and you get to watch this great group of friends laugh and joke together.

I was late to the Poehler party. I’ll admit that right now. I probably only recently binge-watched the entire Parks and Rec series to this point, and it is one of the best comedy shows I’ve ever seen. It has just the right amount of funny and heart and wit and deadpan awesomeness. So I got really excited about Amy’s book.

I wasn’t disappointed. Not at all.

Amy had me at hello. I was sitting in a hotel in Plymouth Meeting on a business trip the day Yes Please came out. I had downloaded the Kindle sample and started reading it. In the first pages, Amy is upfront and honest about what a grueling task it was, writing the book. How she kept wanting to stop, how she tried to surround herself with her favorite writers’ work and then just found herself re-reading those other books instead of working on hers. I loved her for saying all the things that I think writers try to avoid saying, or share as an afterthought…like, “Oh, yes, writing is hard work, but when you are one with the Muse and you unplug from the material world, you are a better person for your craft and…” Amy takes that Walden image and calls it out for the bullshit it can be.

So if you are a) a creative person, b) a writer or c) a human being, you should check it out. Here are five things I picked up from reading this amazing memoir. I’ve tucked these in my back pocket, as mantras and reminders of how to be a better person.

1. The doing of the thing is the thing. Not talking about the thing, or thinking about the thing, or planning the thing. Do the thing. Now.

2. It’s easy to get stuck in your head. We overthink. Jump in to life headfirst. Do.

3. Say “Yes Please.” There is the chance for adventure and great times if you put yourself out there rather than going “nah.” It feels good to go “Of course!” and “Bring it on!” Yes please. And I’d like to add, “More, thank you.

4. Try not caring so much, when it comes to your career. This isn’t about the creative aspect of it, but the business of it, the success factors. Your career will do its own thing in its own time and your obsessing about it isn’t going to help.

5. Our phones really are trying to kill us.