Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Audiobook review -- Assume the Worst: The Graduation Speech You'll Never Hear by Carl Hiaasen

Book Summary
This is Oh, the Places You’ll Never Go–the ultimate hilarious, cynical, but absolutely realistic view of a college graduate’s future. And what he or she can or can’t do about it.

“This commencement address will never be given, because graduation speakers are supposed to offer encouragement and inspiration. That’s not what you need. You need a warning.”

So begins Carl Hiaasen’s attempt to prepare young men and women for their future. And who better to warn them about their precarious paths forward than Carl Hiaasen? The answer, after reading Assume the Worst, is: Nobody.

And who better to illustrate–and with those illustrations, expand upon and cement Hiaasen’s cynical point of view–than Roz Chast, best-selling author/illustrator and National Book Award winner? The answer again is easy: Nobody.

Following the format of Anna Quindlen’s commencement address (Being Perfect) and George Saunders’s commencement address (Congratulations, by the way), the collaboration of Hiaasen and Chast might look typical from the outside, but inside it is anything but. 

This book is bound to be a classic, sold year after year come graduation time. Although it’s also a good gift for anyone starting a job, getting married, or recently released from prison. Because it is not just funny. It is, in its own Hiaasen way, extremely wise and even hopeful. Well, it might not be full of hope, but there are certainly enough slivers of the stuff in there to more than keep us all going.

Flo's Review
This. This audiobook for the win! It was only 15 minutes long, but it was a delightful 15 minutes. I literally laughed out loud while listening to it as a drove to my book club on Saturday. But then, Carl Hiaasen through in some utter truth. So it was funny, but it was also honest and realistic. He takes some popular modern sayings and dashes them with some #realtalk. Here are a fews good example:

Live each day as if it’s your last
"As wise and appealing as this might sound, it’s actually terrible advice. If you live every day as if it’s your last, you won’t accomplish a damn thing. ... Spending all your waking hours doing only what feels good is a viable life plan if you’re a Labrador retriever, but for humans it’s a blueprint for unemployment, divorce and irrelevance."

Try to find goodness in everyone 
A waste of time, says Hiaasen. "If it requires the psychological equivalent of a metal detector to locate somebody’s true self, then they’re not worth the trouble."

Don't be quick to judge other people
"Are you kidding? If you don’t learn how to judge others — and judge fast — you’ll get metaphorically trampled from now until the day you die. ... Your future colleagues will judge you, your future loan officers will judge you and your future spouse’s family will judge you. Get used to it, and tune yourselves to judge back."

You get the idea. Hiaasen himself read the audio, making it that much more delightful. Grab this one if you can.

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