How hard is it to say, “I make mistakes?”
The question behind writer/visual artist Jessica Hagy’s quirky little chart filled volume How To Be Interesting (In 10 Simple Steps) is refreshingly simple: What does it take to truly stand out in today’s over crowded, fast paced world? In it, Ms. Hagy argues that it isn’t your education, how well connected you are, or your job title that matters. No, according to her, the most unique, most important thing that you can possess is an infectious level of severe interestingness.
Be captivating. Be refreshing. Get more out of life.
Fair enough, but now you’re stuck asking yourself, how do I become more interesting, right? That’s where the book’s 10 Simple Steps subtitle comes into play. Each one is a building block towards obtaining that seemingly elusive goal of magically transforming yourself from woefully boring to highly alluring. Yes my friend, anyone can get there, even you.
Over the course of its 265 pages this addictive little volume manages to entertain and educate in equal measure. It’s not a self-help volume exactly. No, instead Ms. Hagy has compiled all of those fairly straight-forward messages about living your life to the fullest and reordered and repackaged them in a unique, highly effective way. What you get here are short inspiring sentences reinforced by compelling, realistic visuals. In fact, this book is chock full of all that basic stuff that we should all remember, but for whatever reason don’t. Life got you down? How To Be Interesting will pick you right back up.
In some respects it’s hard not to compare this book to Austin Kleon’s similarly structured volume Steal Like an Artist. Both seek to reintroduce their target audiences to simple truths and basic building blocks to help them achieve more out of life. The difference however is that Mr. Kleon targeted a much more concrete goal while Ms. Hagy has chosen to go after something much more abstract by attempting to help improve a human trait that’s quality will always be subjective at best. Therefore it’s a much more dangerous undertaking, but the greater the risk, the bigger the potential payoff.
What ultimately makes Ms. Hagy’s work so endearing is just how straight-forward it is. She doesn’t claim to have all the answers; in fact, the answers become irrelevant the moment you first open her book. What’s clear is that she’s most interested in making the journey to discovery and the path to personal betterment as enjoyable as possible. Along the way she’ll suggest some rather open-ended things for you to try such as “go outside” or “be less shy.”
Where will life take you once you leave your house? What will happen once you work up the courage to finally talk to that stranger? You’ll never know until you actually do either thing, so get out there kid, and start living! The road to personal interestingness is paved and waiting for you to drive upon it. What are you waiting for? You won’t be disappointed with the results.
How To Be Interesting (In 10 Simple Steps) was born from a piece that Ms. Hagy originally wrote for Forbes back in 2011. This is a good place to start if you’re looking for some more concrete examples as to what you’ll find within the pages of her book. The book’s official website, How2BeInteresting.com, is a great resource as well.
How To Be Interesting (In 10 Simple Steps)
By Jessica Hagy
Workman Publishing Company