Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures by Jennifer Romolini
Publishing Details: HarperCollins, June 2017
Back-of-the-Book Summary: Why you need this book: Because you’ve been told that you “think too much” or you’re “so intense” or your sensitivity is a sign of weakness. Because you don’t actually always feel like a badass, and the experience of working often makes you feel anxious and strange. Because you want a map for how to be a successful professional—as yourself, preserving who you are, staying open and honest, maintaining a connection to your inner misfit.
The minute I saw this book I knew I had to read it. I had already picked out my books and was actually walking out of the library when I saw it on a bookshelf of special selections. After reading the first two lines on the back cover, I knew Jennifer Romolini was my people.
What I Liked:
This is a book about being successful as an awkward, sensitive, weird woman, and as an awkward, sensitive, weird woman, I can promise three things: 1) Romolini is absolutely awkward, sensitive, and weird; 2) This book addressed 95% of my biggest workplace fears; and 3) I’ve never felt more comfortable in my own skin after reading this book. Romolini really covers it all in Weird in a World That’s Not: family, failures, interviews, sexism, promotions, advocating for yourself without being entitled, and most of all, being you in a way that works.
Romolini writes for a certain kind of person. If you pick up this book and think “Oh, everyone’s like that sometimes,” then this book is probably not for you. That’s not to say you can’t get anything out of it, but if you have always felt a little different (or a lot different), then you really need to read this book. It will not make you feel bad about these things, or give you tips for how to hide or change these things, but it also doesn’t oversimply and suggest that if you “just be yourself” (seriously, every awkward person in the world wants to strangle you when you say this to them) everything will miraculously work out. Romolini provides solid evidence that if you’re a sensitive, weird, intense person, you can absolutely be successful on your own terms. You just need to know what you’re doing.
A few other things Romolini does that make this book as amazing as it is:
- Has a great title. You’re not really supposed to end a sentence on “not,” let alone a title. Right from the start, Romolini shows you that the rules you know are only effective as long as they work. Here, it was more effective to break the rules.
- Defaults to “she” rather than “he”
- Includes a choose-your-own-adventure chapter on “How and When to Quit Your Shitty Job”
- Gives you an honest view of her own misfit-ness and failures to demonstrate her authority on the subject
- Refutes the “fake it ‘til you make it” advice (hallelujah!)
This book is helpful, compassionate, self-aware, funny, and blunt, and to my knowledge there is no better guide for how to be both successful and happy with yourself at the same time.
What I Disliked:
…please forgive me for committing this crucial book review sin yet again. But truly, I’m not sure what there is to criticize about Weird in a World That’s Not.
She acknowledges her privilege at every turn, avoiding one of the biggest pitfalls of many self-help books. She acknowledges that there’s a line between quirky and lazy, weird and obnoxious, self-conscious and self-loathing. She encourages without sugar-coating. I don’t know what to tell you, this is a nuanced book that tells a good story and gives good advice, and if I noticed it taking any wrong turns or falling prey to some major blind spot, I would let you know. But I have nothing to report on that front.
You Might Like This Book If…
- …you hate your current job and need inspiration to find a way out (successfully)
- …you love your current job and need advice for how to advance further
- …you have always felt different and slightly misunderstood on some fundamental level
- …you just got promoted and you have no idea how to be a boss
- …you can’t seem to stick to any one job or career and you don’t know what you’re doing wrong
*** I do not get paid for my reviews. This is just
a genuinely good book that I think people should
read! If you’d like me to review your book,
please contact me. ***