Chris Hardwick has done it all. From a successful podcast to a career in television and film, his identifiable face and friendly voice is seemingly everywhere. Well, there’s now another place where his face and voice is showing up: on the cover and in the pages of his book, The Nerdist Way.
The Nerdist Way could be described as a self-help/motivational book with a geeky bent, but that would be a gross misrepresentation. Hardwick hasn’t just thrown together some advice and jammed it onto the pages; he’s scoured the darkest lows and brightest highs of his own life, and translated them into a work that’s as educational and helpful as it is amusing. While it’s common for authors to take their own experiences and turn it into a “I did it, and you can too!” book, The Nerdist Way is a personal letter to anyone that’s ever felt screwed over by life.
Hardwick goes far beyond relaying his experiences, primarily due to providing emotional context. He doesn’t just tell us that “this part of my life sucked”, he tells us “here’s what led to this part of my life sucking, here’s how it felt when it was happening, here’s what I thought was causing it at the time, and here’s what I think now.” As I was reading through his book, I was constantly amazed at how well he managed to convert his internal monologue into the written word. This is more difficult than you might imagine: even though you think using words, presenting them in a way that someone other than yourself can fully grasp takes a lot of talent (not to mention hard work!)
You’ll find recounts of his experiences and how he worked through them, which run the gamut from addiction to anxiety to apathy to motivation to success. His primary purpose isn’t to give you some kind of inspirational speech, but rather to make you realize that, no matter how messed up you are, you have it within yourself to make your life do a complete 180 degree turn.
As the book begins, he walks you through some steps to get a notebook going, which eventually becomes an integral part of his whole presentation. Hardwick doesn’t just bombard you with memories and actions; he makes you ask yourself the same questions that enabled him to get through his problems. In this way, Hardwick isn’t actually providing you with solutions, but rather showing you the different paths that eventually lead to solutions. The bad news is that these paths can be difficult to travel, but the good news is that after he points them out to you, you won’t believe that they had previously escaped your notice. The questions he makes you ask yourself are simple, straightforward, and highly effective.
It’s not all about problem solving, though. The Nerdist Way also serves as a great motivational tool. The steps he took to pull himself back from the brink of creative irrelevancy would be useful to just about anyone, although creative types (whether it be music, art, writing, or anything else) will likely get the most out of it. Hardwick makes it quite clear that the only thing standing in your way is you, but he does so in a non-condescending way. Even though you’re likely what’s holding you back, he explains how it’s not necessarily your fault. Like I said before, this isn’t so much a book as it is a personal letter directed towards anyone that feels like they get in their own way.
Whether you think your life is absolutely perfect or an absolute mess, The Nerdist Way is a book that everyone should read. It’s inspiring, uplifting, well written, entertaining, and in typical Hardwick style, frequently hilarious. You can pick it up in dead tree, eBook, or audio formats.