When You Are a Badass was published in 2013, it seemed to show up everywhere--bookstores, airport bookstores, non-bookstore-stores. Despite (or maybe because of) the sassy title, the bright yellow cover was prominently displayed on shelves. Like many things that see a sharp rise in popularity (Justin Bieber, Kardashians, Snapchat, Twilight, Fight Club, All the Light We Cannot See), I avoided it. I can’t bear the possibility of being the one person disappointed by a societal or cultural focal point (read: irrational fears).
Plus, the title told me everything I needed to know: self-help book with sass. I never felt the need to pick it up. I thought I was above it (whatever that means). But then I left the security of a full-time job for the freelance lifestyle (again), and the discomfort of not knowing where my next paycheck was coming from collided with an excerpt of the book I read online. The excerpt, titled "What Goats (Yes, Goats) Can Teach Us About Personal Finance," left me keeled over with laughter and reaching for this book.
And when I say “keeled over,” I mean doubled over and squirming on the couch while in tears. Not just once, but every time I tried to read the next sentence.
I could link to that article, but I won’t. That’s like watching the trailer when the movie is already out. Just watch the movie.
What differentiates Jen Sincero and You Are a Badass at Making Money from the self-help or finance genres is her voice, within which lies a razor sharp wit and sense of humor. Because of this, individuals who believe that reaching for a book on money or a book on personal development screams of boredom will be able to digest the nuggets of wisdom Sincero expertly buries beneath anecdotes. Like goat-sitting, or being out of milk for coffee. Somehow, Sincero connects mundane, ordinary experiences (because everyone goat-sits, right?) to finances. She meets the reader where they are, and gently guides them to where they want or need to be.
The world needs more writers like Jen Sincero. Writers who take our daily occurrences and make them into something to both laugh at and learn from. The tone of the book is accessible, so you don’t need to know the difference between a 401K and a Roth IRA before diving in (don’t ask me; I always confuse the two). Though nitty-gritty finances are helpful, what Sincero provides is arguably more beneficial to readers: the space for self-reflection.
We’re all busy. Busy is this new thing we all do now that we have technology to do so much for us. So it’s rare and wonderful when a book makes you want to stay with it for a while, reading and laughing. It’s even rarer to find thought-provoking questions and exercises sprinkled throughout the book--ones that don’t dredge up the sting of homework when you put pen to paper.
That said, this isn’t for the faint-hearted. Be ready to laugh. Be ready to cry. Be ready to break open all the myths you had around money and finances and work and life. Be ready to re-build what you’ve broken and watch the seeds you’ve planted start to bud.