The Nerdist Way: How to make it to the next level (in real life), by Chris Hardwick
pages:304 genre: Humor/ Self-help form: ebook
WELCOME YOUR NEW NERD OVERLORD
Attention, Nerds: You don’t have to be a stereotypical geekwad to appreciate the tenets of Nerdism and to make your innate talents for over-analysis and hyper-self-awareness work for you instead of agin you. Join Nerd superstar Chris Hardwick as he offers his fellow “creative-obsessives” the crucial information needed to come out on top in the current Nerd uprising.
As a lifelong member of “The Nerd Herd,” Chris Hardwick has learned all there is to know about Nerds. He’s studied them, lived with them, and has endeavored to milk their knowledge nectar and isolate its curative powers for what ails you. Thus, he has founded a philosophical system (and blog) called The Nerdist, and here he shares his hard-earned wisdom about turning seeming weaknesses into world-dominating strengths.
From keeping your heart rate below hummingbird levels to ignoring your brain, Hardwick reveals the secrets that can help you accomplish what you want by tapping into your true nerdtastic self. Remember, success is the most satisfying—and legal—form of vengeance there is. And you can achieve it…when you follow the Nerdist Way.
My Rating: 4 of 5 Chess Trophies Average Goodreads Rating: 3.75 stars
DISCLAIMER: I’m a scientist and a HUGE nerd so this might resonate more with me than the average Joe on the street.
BOOK STRUCTURE & SECTIONS
Part 1: Mind (RPG your life, your inner monologue and ignoring your brain, anxiety and “sucstress”)
This section had a lot to do with the mind of the nerd and our particular phenotype. We are super focused (ahem, obsessive, cough-cough) and can sometimes let that get us in trouble. Because of this “laser focus” and more often than not, advanced intelligence, a lot of nerds, myself included, have problems with anxiety. Hardwick goes through how he overcame many of his fears and anxiety in general. He also gives examples of when his super process driven brain will try and screw him by going through EVERY possible scenario for every situation rendering him dripping with fear and unable to act.
Part 2: Body (start now, getting moving, workouts with illustrated nerd bear, general nutrition advice)
I skimmed the majority of this section. He goes through his battle with his weight and meeting and working with Trainer Tom (who sounds awesome by the way). The majority of the nutrition advice sounds good and isn’t the typical eat all the protein sort of thing you see in these kinds of books. The picture below is an example of the illustrated nerd bear that walks you through how to do a variety of the exercises he mentions. I’m a former beauty queen, played basketball, and took a lot of college classes in kinesiology/ exercise science for the required Sports Nutrition part of being a registered dietitian, so all of this was review but generally sound.
Part 3: Time (tracking your time, focus on goals, getting your finances in order, simplify, learn to say no, build your work goals)
This section had some very helpful tips on determining where your time actually goes. He also does a really good job describing ways we feel like we’ve been productive when what we are actually doing is just wasting time while dancing around the things we really need to get done. A great example he uses from the book is the Wiki black hole. You search one simple thing for a quick response and then the next thing you know you’re reading about how all the different kinds of rats differ from each other and where each kind is from. Manage your time and know where you’re going next once you’ve finished a task.
Summary of main points from each section.
This was mainly filler where he just recounted main points from each major and minor section, adding on a few pages to the total for the book.
GROWING UP NERD
This book was HILARIOUS! There were some cheeky points where he wants you to draw yourself as a D&D character, but I can totally overlook that when someone peers directly into my soul.
ADDICTION AND ANXIETY
Hardwick describes the “laser focus” most nerds possess and how be can sometimes become destructively obsessed. He shares his personal spiral into the void of alcoholism and gaming obsession. He wouldn’t go out with friends or prepare for interviews because he was always thinking about the game and his next beer.
There is a lot of fat shaming through out the book. This is mostly self directed, where he talks about his disgust for the unmotivated blob he became, but the way a lot of this is phrased and the sheer frequency it comes up, might make some readers uncomfortable. For a book whose main point is to focus on the positive, the negative self image Hardwick once held comes up much more than expected. This being said, he wants to give real examples of how he got his shit together and became the Nerdist he is today, and being called out on national TV by another comedian about how he descended into a self destructive hate spiral gave him the motivation he needed to change.
He is very forgiving about things that were out of his control, like alcoholism/ addiction, and how he knows he can’t trust himself, but he doesn’t give this same buffer for the weight he gained because of drinking. He also gives himself a bit of a reprise when discussing Trainer Tom and his gradual transition to an active lifestyle.
GROWING UP NERD
This book was written more for the middle age male nerd, than any other audience. Which makes since, since he’s writing about his own experiences and being male those readers are more likely to get the references. I did enjoy most of the book but sometimes the references were geared so much to the male gender that I would just skim the section and get frustrated that it wasn’t a “nerd advice” book, but a “male nerd advice” book.