“How to stop worry and start living” by Dale Carnegie audiobook review
The godfather of self-help books particularly those with long names Dale Carnegie is probably most famous for his title “How to win friends and influence people” which has sold over 30 million copies.
It was this book that first introduced me to Dale Carnegie and despite neither wanting to ‘win friends’ or ‘influence people’ I found it immensely helpful. To me, the name is a bit misleading but it grabs attention, a tactic still prominent in the genre with titles such as “The subtle art of not giving a f*ck” or “Unf*ck Yourself“.
“How to stop worrying and start living” is a great book and a great audiobook. It’s full of practical actionable tips that I could implement as soon as I had heard them with positive results.
Andrew MacMillan is a good narrator
Still largely relevant and the core lessons are timeless
The advice and exercises are simple which makes it accessible
Like most self-help books it was a little too long
Too many example stories and most felt quite dated
It would have been good to update the examples
‘How to stop worrying and start living’ audiobook review
I found the audiobook helpful, it contains a few short exercises that really worked and both consciously and subconsciously I have been worrying less.
Published in 1948 the book has sold millions of copies. The audio version was released in 1999 on 9 separate CDs! You can actually still buy the CD version but I opted for the audiobook through Audible.
The version on Audible is the same version as back in 1999. Read by Andrew MacMillan who I think does a good job, it is quite a traditional narration that fits the style of writing. It’s not high energy or exciting but it does the job.
Exercises to implement today to reduce your worry
Why worrying is bad for you
How to get busy so you can’t worry
How to embrace situations and analyse problems to reduce worry
Live in the moment
Exercises, tips and rules
Tip 1: Live in day-tight compartments. Just live each day until bed time.
Tip 2: When you do run in to trouble, try this:
What is the worst that can happen?
Prepare mentally to accept it if necessary
Calming proceed to improve on the worst
Tip 3: When you are worrying do this:
What am I worrying about?
What can I do about it?
Here is what I am going to do about it
When am I going to start doing it?
Tip 4: Reduce business worry. Get the facts, weigh the facts and come to a decision, once reached act, write out these questions:
What is the problem?
What is the cause of the problem
What are all possible solutions?
What solution do you suggest?
Tip 5: Get Busy – when are you busy with action you have no time to worry
Tip 6: Ask yourself what are the chances that this worry will ever happen?
Tip 7: Put a stop-loss on your worry
Taking advice from the financial investing world, apply a stop-loss to your worry. Have a limit on how far you will worry about something. Say STOP and worry no further.
Tip 8: Take criticism as a compliment.
When people say something about you, it is usually a reflection on themselves. An insecurity or jealously and they want to make themselves feel better. Take their criticism as a compliment, move on if there is nothing constructive or take it on board if it seems valuable.
You’ve probably seen the 2008 film of the same name starring Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel. Whilst based on the book it isn’t particularly similar. I thought the film was good. The book is great.
Where the film glosses over a lot of the smaller things that happen when you say yes the book goes into great detail, great awkward detail.
Quite early on Danny bumps into an ex who is on a date and after an already awkward conversion, the new boyfriend politely asks if Danny would like to join them for dinner. The resulting scene was painful to read but gives you a huge amount of respect for Danny for really doing this properly.
Originally I read the paperback but it had been a while so I downloaded the audiobook to review.
Yes Man by Danny Wallace Audiobook Review
Entertaining, funny, and with a genuinely powerful positive message, Yes Man is a fantastic story that has aged well. The book came out in 2005 and in 2020, I was still passing my copy on to friends.
The audiobook version came out a few years later around the same time as the film and I was very glad to revisit the remarkable journey that leaves you wanting more out of life.
It is always a joy when the author narrates their book and so far Danny Wallace has read all of his. The narration is good, Danny is relatable and it feels like a friend telling you a story. He does just read it, which I guess I can’t complain about but some adlibbing or reaction to some of the stories would have made it really stand out.
Danny Wallace is in a slump, for the last 6 months he has been staying in and saying no to almost every invitation he receives. Following a breakup, he retreats to his flat leaving his friends worrying about him.
One day, on a bus, Danny gets talking to a man who simply tells him to “say yes more”. This potentially throwaway comment really hits Danny and he decides to take it on, all too literally.
If you know anything about Danny Wallace you will know he loves a project (also called a “stupid boy project” by his ex). He has accidentally started a cult, started his own country, tracked down old school friends and challenged his friend Dave Gorman to find 54 other Dave Gormans.
In “Yes Man” Danny sets himself the challenge to say Yes to absolutely every invitation and he really does it. He buys anything that lands in his inbox, replies to internet scams, adopts multiple grandmas, opens dozens of credit cards, buys a car, gets a mullet, and ends up all over the country and at points all over the world.
Yes, he ends in some awful situations. The lunch with his ex and her new boyfriend, several meetings with an old school bully, and hundreds of phone calls from having to put his number publically around London. But on the whole, what you realise is that nothing truly terrible or dangerous happens when you say yes.
No one asks him to kill anyone, he only breaks a couple of minor laws and whilst he racks up some debt using his new credit cards nothing costs him too much.
Yet the positive outcomes are incredible.
His career skyrockets for one. Simply from saying yes when others were saying no. He ends up switching from freelance radio producer to tv producer even ending up presenting his own tv show.
He wins £25000 (he also loses it but he still won)
He goes on crazy nights out
End up in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Edinburgh, Prague, Singapore.
and falls in love
Why listen to Yes Man Audiobook?
It’s entertaining and fascinating
You will laugh
It really does make you reflect on your own life and question if you are making the most of it
Unlike a self-help book with chapter after chapter of different techniques, it has just one – say yes
There is some nice nostalgia from the early 00’s; VHS tapes, a cheaper London, non-smart phones, people emailing to stay in contact, a simpler time.
Wim Hof has created a strong brand from having an effortlessly cool presence, and a method that is both incredibly simple and incredibly effective.
This audiobook got me doing that method and seeing the benefits for myself. Based on that alone it is great, but as an actual Wim Hof product, it felt quite removed from the man himself.
There is an introduction read by Wim and he explains about his relationship with author Koen De Jong and that is the last we hear of him. The narrator, Patric LeVang takes over and leaves us with two degrees of separation. When a brand is so heavily built around a person, not having them read the audiobook or being a bigger part of it does have an impact.
“The Way of the Iceman” would have been perfect for a David Goggins – Can’t Hurt Me style audiobook where Wim was sat there with the narrator and with Koen De Jong so they could all discuss certain points.
Like Wim, Goggins is so pivotal to his message and no one can really deliver what they teach as they can. Maybe we were just spoilt with Goggins audiobook approach.
Interesting backstory on Wim Hof
Lots of science to back up the method
Examples of real-life people who have benefited
Activities/health checks to try for yourself
Explanation of the Wim Hof Method
Needed Wim and Koen involved in the narration
Feels quite removed from Wim and his brand
A little drawn out in places
Quick Answer: Would I recommend this audiobook?
This was my first detailed introduction to Wim Hof and I learnt a lot about his story and the method as well as the science. It was enough to convince me to try it out. If you are in a similar position then yes I would recommend it.
If you are already a big Wim Hof fan, have seen him on podcasts or tv shows and have implemented the method you probably won’t get as much out of it.
Patric LeVang does a good job, I didn’t love the narration and as I’ve said, I would have much prefered this book to have been read by Wim or alongside Wim. I couldn’t find much online about Patric, it seems this was his only audiobook narration.
Key Points in The Way of the Iceman
History of Wim Hof
The audiobook starts out with a really interesting history of Wim Hof from childhood up until where he is now (or at the time of publishing). You learn that he was a surprise twin, nobody knew his mother was having twins! He loved the cold and yoga from a young age and led quite an unconventional life. When he was 17 he went to India and used to swim in the Ganges, later he lived in a squat in Amsterdam.
You learn of how he met his wife and of her terribly sad death due to depression. As someone who didn’t know much about Wim before, this was a big shock and you feel for him and his children. Wim often cites this moment as the catalyst for developing his method.
At times the science got a little dull but in general, it was interesting and definitely helped to convince me to test out the method. It goes beyond just the Wim Hof techniques and looks at the benefits of all cold therapy, the function of brown fat and backs this up with studies and references.
The audiobook draws on lots of examples with people who have used the Wim Hof Method and have benefited from it. These people are from all walks of life and it does go into good detail about their lives and what changed. Some of the people have illnesses like Lymes disease and they were able to control or reverse these conditions.
It also touches on cancer to highlight that despite some statements, Wim Hof does not claim this can cure cancer. It does, however, explore a few patients who have had seen improvements whilst doing the breathing and cold therapy.
There are various studies that Wim has undertaken and these are explored in the audiobook. It looks at the two trips he made up Kilimanjaro with a group of amateur trekkers in 48hrs and later in 32hrs, breaking some records.
These are no easy feats and you have to start questioning how this is possible. Getting a couple of people up a tough climb in record time is a challenge but to do it with a big group, some of whom have illnesses and existing conditions makes his method very interesting.
There is a good AMA on Reddit from someone who did one of these treks with Wim.
Wim Hof Breathing Technique and cold therapy
Of course, the audiobook would be incomplete without explaining how to do the breathing technique and cold therapy.
You can see the breathing technique here
The cold therapy involves progressively exposing yourself to cold water. This can start with your hands or feet in a bucket or bowl of ice or reducing your shower temperature over a few weeks until you have cold showers for up to 5 minutes.
You can get access to some of the videos for free on his website. Free mini class.
My thoughts on the Wim Hof Method
It is weird.
In a good way.
You have to try it.
The breathing techniques left me feeling the calmest I had felt in a very long time, if not ever. My mind was clear, I was relaxed yet energised and I’d go as far as to say I felt amazing. It is so simple but so powerful and it can actually bring up a lot of emotion. This is actually a good thing, you can use it to cry or get an emotional release.
Actually doing it is a little strange, you tingle and get strong sensations over your body.
The showers were a lot nicer in the summer, I looked forward to them. You stay so present during a cold shower and it really sets you up for your day, I feel a hot shower does the opposite, it gets me ready for bed. Once cold showering becomes normal to you it will be the only way to start your day.
I have since swum in some very cold lakes and really enjoyed that too.
The only issue I have faced is after having a prolonged break where I couldn’t cold shower I have had to get used to it again and during winter I found that harder.
I don’t think you would regret listening to this audiobook. At 2.5hrs it isn’t going to take much of your day up and it is interesting. Even if you don’t listen to The Way of the Iceman audiobook I recommend trying the Wim Hof Method.
The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz audiobook review
I’m 50/50 on The Four Agreements. At first glance, the actual four agreements seem like great principles to instil into your life:
Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Always do your best
Pretty simple and most people would probably agree that these sound like a good idea. They make sense to me and having these as agreements with yourself will have a positive impact on your life. On that front, I like The Four Agreements but the actual content lets it down.
The Four Agreements Audiobook
In terms of format, this is a good audiobook. At 2hrs 31minutes it is easy to consume in one sitting and the chapters are clear so that you can jump back into specific parts very easily. I got my copy on sale so it only cost a few dollars on audible but even at full price, it is around $10 or less (or free with an audible trial). The highlight of having this on audiobook rather than paperback is the narration.
I really liked the narrator’s voice, it perfectly suits the material. There is a spiritual, wiseness to his tone that has depth. Peter delivers the words in an open and honest way. It doesn’t feel like you are being sold the ideas in the book, merely being told a story written a millennium ago.
Peter Coyote who you might recognise from films such as E.T, Patch Adams, and Erin Brockovich was an excellent choice. He has narrated a few of don Miguel Ruiz books as well as some mindfulness and meditation audiobooks which I think his voice is perfect for.
The Four Agreements Intro
Not many reviews of The Four Agreements mention the intro or talk too much about it. I found the intro quite weird. Firstly there are 5 minutes of Toltec history and the “Smoking Mirror” which I understood to be a diety story.
Then there are 25 minutes on “Domestication and the Dream of the Planet” which explain to you that we are domesticated as children through a reward system. Always listening to and agreeing with parents, teachers, religious leaders, hooking our attention to them without question. With the fear of being punished and the fear of not getting a reward, we start pretending to be what we are not, just to please others. We become what we are not because we are afraid of being rejected, afraid of not being good enough. Eventually, we become societies beliefs not our own.
“The reward feels good, and we keep doing what others want us to do in order to get the reward. With that fear of being punished and that fear of not getting the reward, we start pretending to be what we are not, just to please others, just to be good enough for someone else“
This intro is quite heavy. There is a lot to digest here. I found this Psychology article that discusses it further.
I don’t think the intro needed to be that long. It is probably all true but if it is we can’t do anything about it as children, we had no choice. There is no solution presented of how children now could avoid this or advice to parents on how to not let this happen to their children. Only that now, as adults we can break free.
The actual four agreements
After the intro, we get to the four agreements. Each is great but overwritten and could be condensed.
Agreement 1: Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. This made me think of “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain and give honest and sincere appreciation.
You can notice an immediate difference when you stop yourself complaining and saying negative things to or about people.
Agreement 2: Don’t Take Anything Personally
This is an interesting one. There are some similarities with Stoic teachings, you can’t control what happens to you only how you react to them. Nothing others do is because of you. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
I think this is very true and you will start to spot it when you put this into practice.
Agreement 3: Don’t Make Assumptions
Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. Another interesting one, we can get so caught up in our heads wondering what people meant by something or imagining all these scenarios that will never happen. By asking direct questions we can eliminate this fear and anxiety.
Agreement 4: Always Do Your Best
Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
The Toltec Path to Freedom
Don’t blame your parents or anyone who abused you but stop the abuse and be free from the role of the victim. Dig deep inside yourself and find that childlike freedom and joy. The real you is when you feel happy and are playing, these are the happiest moments of your life when the real you comes out.
The freedom we need is to be ourselves.
I can relate to this. I think back to everything I used to do as a child, all those creative hobbies and doing things purely for joy, in the moment, not for money, not for anyone else. We do lose this as we grow and trying to claim it back will surely lead to an increase in happiness.
This chapter was 33 minutes long and like the intro, I felt it was too long and overwritten. There is then another chapter on “The New Dream” and “Prayers” that feature some windpipes or something. At this point, I was a bit done with it.
I finished this audiobook in one sitting and was using the tactics outlined that same day. This shit works.
No one tells it as it is quite like the Scots.
Gary doesn’t sugarcoat it, he isn’t nice to you, and sometimes that is how we need to hear it.
In a sea of American written and narrated self-help audiobooks “Unf*ck Yourself: Get out of your head and into your life” stands out with its Scottish attitude and narration.
“I won’t ask you to tell yourself you’re a tiger….I’m much too Scottish for that…to me being told these things is like being force-fed a bottle of maple syrup liberally sprinkled with bits of last year’s candy canes” – Gary John Bishop
I found both the writing and narration refreshing. I like American narrators but it did make a good change and in a way felt more accessible.
Plus somehow swearing sounds a lot less cringey in a Scottish accent.
“Unf*ck Yourself” is an audiobook worth f*cking with. It isn’t some 800-page drawn-out self-help book full of waffle that slowly meanders to the point and it isn’t an empty quick read that says nothing.
Instead, it is 3hrs of good fairly actionable advice, told to the point with clear takeaways you can implement. Angus King really delivers the narration, I felt like I was in a pub getting a genuine life lesson from Malcolm Tucker.
Excellent narration by Angus King who like the author is from Glasgow
No sugarcoating or BS, Gary tells it like it is
Short enough to not get bored
No major waffling or long-winded stories
Easy to dip in and out of each chapter
If you take away just a few of the lessons it will improve your life
It could use some more practical advice on how to implement the lessons
It is somewhat repackaged Stoic content that you may have heard before if you have read lots of similar titles
My quick review of it is that you should listen to it. It’s 3-hours, just go for a walk and come back a slightly better person. If you need more to decide read on.
Unf*ck Yourself: Get out of your head and into your life Audiobook Review
What is with the title?
The release of “F*ck Feelings” by Michael Bennett MD and Sarah Bennett seemed to kick off a trend of profanity led self-help titles which most notably include Mark Manson’s 2016 “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” and Gary John Bishop’s 2016 book “Unf*ck Yourself”.
Fast forward a few years and 6 million copies later, Mark released “Everything is F*cked”, Gary released “Stop Doing That Sh*t; Do the Work” and more authors followed suit. John Kim released “I Used to Be a Miserable F*ck” and Amy Alkon drops “Unf*ckology”.
Attention-grabbing titles are a part of the genre but the sweary self-help wave feels quite empty, only for shock value and trying to appeal to a younger demographic that probably see right through it. Although perhaps the sales say otherwise.
However, the content of these books is not to be ignored. I was apprehensive that this was another title jumping on the bandwagon but I was wrong.
Some Key lessons from Unf*ck Yourself
I haven’t detailed each chapter, that would be giving the game away, so here are some of the lessons that particularly resonated.
1. Assertive self-talk over narrative self-talk
Most of the conversations we have are with ourselves and our thoughts can change the physical structure of our brain (this is called neural plasticity if you want to research it). Which means all those times when we say “I can’t” start to build up and convince ourselves that we actually can’t do something. The same goes for when we say “I am going to” or “I will try”, these put our actions in the future rather than this moment of time. By being assertive we can change this.
There is a powerful difference between “I am relentless” and “I will be relentless“.
Gary explains that the answer is inside you rather than outside you. He also starts to introduce quotes from Stoic philosophers like Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus.
“Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.” – Marcus Aurelius
2. I Am Willing
Don’t blame others, stop blaming anyone including yourself. You can’t always control the bad things that happen to you but you are 100% responsible for what you do in the aftermath. This Stoic idea mirrors Epictetus’ views that we control very little of our life or the events that happen to us, only our reaction to them.
You must decide what you are willing and unwilling to do. I found this simple reframing quite powerful at both working out what is important to you and making peace with some of the changes you won’t make.
An example Gary gives is that you might be unwilling to sacrifice time with your family in exchange for an extra 0 on your paycheck. Or unwilling to give up your favourite foods to in order to see your abs. These are completely valid and recognising and accepting them will make you happier.
For things you do wish to change, maybe it is “I am willing to quit this job” or “I am unwilling to continue living this way”.
A similar exercise to this is replacing “No” with “it’s not a priority for me” when people as you to do stuff. I found this makes me happier with not doing certain things.
3. I Am Wired to Win
4. I Got This
5. I Embrace the Uncertainty
6. You are not your thoughts you are what you do
Your thoughts don’t need to be reflected in your actions. By starting we forget about the things bothering us. When we act we don’t have time for anything else, it is hard to focus on your worrying when you are getting things done.
You can let your negative thoughts pass.
Don’t act on your thoughts, act on what’s in front of you. Change your life by changing your actions.
“Action may not bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action” -Benjamin Disraeli
7. I am relentless
This one reminded a bit of David Goggins. Get uncomfortable, the greater the challenge the greater the reward and the only way to deal with this is to be relentless. Gary John Bishops touches on this topic but if this resonates you then you have to listen to Can’t Hurt Me.
When you have nothing left, be relentless.
8. Expect nothing & accept everything
This is one I’ve been trying to practice. On a recent trip, I had all these expectations and hopes despite having never been to this place. Of course, when I got there, it never met these expectations, some parts were worse and some were so much better. If you have all of these expectations you will always be disappointed. Equally, if you moan about the things that are different you won’t be happy. Expect nothing and accept everything.
This is also true in business. There are so many expectations about how successful or big the business will be and so many unknows that throw up problems we didn’t think to encounter. Accepting these problems doesn’t mean you can’t address them but don’t let them derail you.
Gary even points out that a big cause of unhappiness in marriage is unmet expectations.
To me, this feels aligned with staying present. Getting hung up on the past can make us sad and living life in the future causes anxiety. By staying present, expecting nothing and accepting what is in front of you we can be happier in the moment.
“No man ever steps in the same river twice” – Heraclitus
Give it a listen, it will only take up half of your Sunday afternoon or a few journeys on your commute. You will find some great lessons and motivation to make some changes.