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How Not to Be a Hot Mess: A Survival Guide for Modern Life

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The dumpster fire of life rages on, but you got this. Practice six rules to keep you grounded, weather the storm, and actually be a decent person. It may seem like the world is going to hell in a hand basket right now. Whether it's big stuff like politics and climate change, or just the daily spin of paying your bills, getting to work on time, and fending off social media t The dumpster fire of life rages on, but you got this. Practice six rules to keep you grounded, weather the storm, and actually be a decent person. It may seem like the world is going to hell in a hand basket right now. Whether it's big stuff like politics and climate change, or just the daily spin of paying your bills, getting to work on time, and fending off social media trolls, we can all admit, modern life ain't easy. Here are six really good guiding principles, inspired from the ancient wisdom of Buddhism and mindfulness practice, to keep you anchored and steady amidst the chaos.


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The dumpster fire of life rages on, but you got this. Practice six rules to keep you grounded, weather the storm, and actually be a decent person. It may seem like the world is going to hell in a hand basket right now. Whether it's big stuff like politics and climate change, or just the daily spin of paying your bills, getting to work on time, and fending off social media t The dumpster fire of life rages on, but you got this. Practice six rules to keep you grounded, weather the storm, and actually be a decent person. It may seem like the world is going to hell in a hand basket right now. Whether it's big stuff like politics and climate change, or just the daily spin of paying your bills, getting to work on time, and fending off social media trolls, we can all admit, modern life ain't easy. Here are six really good guiding principles, inspired from the ancient wisdom of Buddhism and mindfulness practice, to keep you anchored and steady amidst the chaos.

30 review for How Not to Be a Hot Mess: A Survival Guide for Modern Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    I am first to admit I don't read nonfiction books very often. But How Not To Be A Hot Mess really struck a psychological cord with me. The world is a hectic and frantic place and centering your kind in the age of instant gratification and technology for example aren't easy. This book teaches you six guiding principles based on Buddhism ancient practices and mindfulness practice to keep one centered in these chaotic times. This book was an easy enjoyable read that really gave me food for thought I am first to admit I don't read nonfiction books very often. But How Not To Be A Hot Mess really struck a psychological cord with me. The world is a hectic and frantic place and centering your kind in the age of instant gratification and technology for example aren't easy. This book teaches you six guiding principles based on Buddhism ancient practices and mindfulness practice to keep one centered in these chaotic times. This book was an easy enjoyable read that really gave me food for thought and made a positive impact on me. Thank you to Shambhala Publications for a copy of this book in exchange for honest review. Five stars for this book from me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    ⋯Kaylee Pratt⋯

    "So let the storms rage. Let the waves crash. Let the winds shriek and the demons sing. Because right at the center of the blizzard of stimulation that is modern life. . . you can still place your hand on whatever patch of ground you're sitting on and say, Today, in this moment anyway, I will be a slightly less dysregulated hot mess, a semi-still point in the spin, a builder of kindness and a bastion of decency. Or maybe I'll just shoot somebody with a flyby smile and call it good." 4/5 stars This "So let the storms rage. Let the waves crash. Let the winds shriek and the demons sing. Because right at the center of the blizzard of stimulation that is modern life. . . you can still place your hand on whatever patch of ground you're sitting on and say, Today, in this moment anyway, I will be a slightly less dysregulated hot mess, a semi-still point in the spin, a builder of kindness and a bastion of decency. Or maybe I'll just shoot somebody with a flyby smile and call it good." 4/5 stars This was such a nice little nugget of a book. (Thanks, Shambhala, for the free copy!) I'll say right off the bat that I have a hard time with people (and books) telling me what to do. Call it the annoying, rebellious preteen side of my personality. I've picked up so many self-help books and dropped them after the first chapter, either because they're boring or preachy or written by an old white dude that doesn't know anything about life outside his bubble. This one, however, reminded me of Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet., which is one of my favorite self-help-tinged books of all time. The two have a lot in common, the most obvious of which is the cavalier, "millennial" tone that makes all of the content very digestible. You'd think this would be annoying (and it does annoy some people) but it really speaks to me—it ditches the pretension and just gets to the meat of the message. And this book was funny, which helps a lot when you're reading about how to handle the "dumpster fire of life." The authors avoid being pretentious at all costs, which makes the layman reader (i.e. myself) feel great about learning new(-ish) concepts. Even if nothing in this book surprised me—it's basically exactly what you would expect—it still doesn't hurt to review the things that I know I should be doing but have forgotten about amidst the craziness of the world.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

    I received a copy of this when I was smack-dab in the middle of a life s*** storm. I was with my stepdad, in his final days of hospice, had just endured a 4 month long one-two punch of head trauma followed by kidney stone surgery and stent which resulted in 4 hospital stays. Can we say rock bottom? Nope, because, apocalypse. (Kidding.) Anyways, I’m so glad this found its way to me when it did because it was just what I needed. How Not To Be A Hot Mess, written by husband and wife team Craig and D I received a copy of this when I was smack-dab in the middle of a life s*** storm. I was with my stepdad, in his final days of hospice, had just endured a 4 month long one-two punch of head trauma followed by kidney stone surgery and stent which resulted in 4 hospital stays. Can we say rock bottom? Nope, because, apocalypse. (Kidding.) Anyways, I’m so glad this found its way to me when it did because it was just what I needed. How Not To Be A Hot Mess, written by husband and wife team Craig and Devon Hase is a book that is based off of the very simplest and basic practices of Buddhism. It focuses on 6 Buddhist principles, primarily centered around mindfulness as a way to help navigate through life, whether it’s the good days, bad days, days you want to rip someone’s head off, or days you’re just too overwhelmed to lift your head off of your pillow. I think I personally appreciate this book right now because it was so easygoing and light. Reading this was like having a chat with a mellow, yet really wise friend. This is that friend that will be like: “Man, one time I: did this crappy thing/had this crappy attitude/was on the struggle bus with this one thing, but I learned this really cool thing, you should totally try it, I’ll show you how.” Each chapter is filled with personal examples, studies or statistics showing the benefits, and is concluded with a short exercise. An example: if you’re feeling any type of negative emotions, focus on the good. Humans inherently want to do good deeds by nature, but because we’re being inundated with negative all day we don’t SEE the good. I don’t want to give away the entire exercise, but basically if you were to intentionally LOOK and observe for one day, you’d see humans doing good human things. Holding doors open, smiling at strangers, (okay, not right now with quarantine) but what about at home? If you look for it, you’ll find the tiny acts of service. So try that, then DO it. It’s stressful times, my friend. If you’re grouchy, get up and randomly grab a treat for a family member out of the blue, or give them a random hug or compliment. Send a loved one that you can’t be with a text to say you’re thinking of them. These are things that will actually benefit YOU mentally in the end. This was written in a very casual, friendly way, and each thing is explained in a way that’s simple, makes sense, and somehow leaves you feeling inspired and motivated. I think that in this time of general overwhelm and unease this book is being released just when it’s needed. It’s not preachy (although it does address some personal views on politics and other issues,) it doesn’t ask you to become a Buddhist or get into anything super deep. I actually think it’d be a great book for younger adults as well. (with discretion. There is a chapter focused on intimacy.) The general meat and bones of the practices, if observed, could really benefit a lot of humans out there. Giving this one 5 stars. Also, high five to the universe for the alignment in timing with the release. I see what you did there. Thank you so much to Shambhala Publishing and netgalley for the advanced copy for review! As always, all opinions are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    "How not to be a hot mess" is a a guide to living your life as a kind and balanced person, following Buddhist principles with a modern twist. The author goes through six areas to focus on, with heavy storytelling from her own experiences. I did not care for this book and I did not finish it. I couldn't relate to the authors or their experiences and also did not realize the book was heavily focused on Buddhist principles, I thought it was more of a general mindfulness self-help book. Thank you Ne "How not to be a hot mess" is a a guide to living your life as a kind and balanced person, following Buddhist principles with a modern twist. The author goes through six areas to focus on, with heavy storytelling from her own experiences. I did not care for this book and I did not finish it. I couldn't relate to the authors or their experiences and also did not realize the book was heavily focused on Buddhist principles, I thought it was more of a general mindfulness self-help book. Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kristina | kristinaandthebooks

    If I hadn’t agreed to review this book, I would have put in down after reading the introduction because I recognize this is not a book for me. The core of this book is Buddhist teachings and while the authors explicitly state they are not trying to persuade anyone to adopt their belief system, they do exactly that throughout the book. Granted, they don’t specially relate everything back to Buddhism, but it is made clear that every principle to improve your life is rooted directly in Buddhism. Th If I hadn’t agreed to review this book, I would have put in down after reading the introduction because I recognize this is not a book for me. The core of this book is Buddhist teachings and while the authors explicitly state they are not trying to persuade anyone to adopt their belief system, they do exactly that throughout the book. Granted, they don’t specially relate everything back to Buddhism, but it is made clear that every principle to improve your life is rooted directly in Buddhism. This book focuses largely on mindfulness and meditation, two concepts that have been shown to improve emotional and mental health. Personally, I believe these concepts function much like the placebo effect, but kudos to you if they help you. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the teachings of Buddhism and freedom of religion is a beautiful thing to have in this world. However, as a Bible believing Christian, this mindset is not for me, nor was this book. There was a whole chapter devoted to sex, which I skipped in its entirety because I knew it would not be for me. I do agree with some of the concepts presented, as far as being kind, generous and abstaining from substances, but my approach to life is much different than the overall message of this book. I can see the appeal to those who follow the tenets of Buddhism or subscribe to new age practices like those featured in this book. Objectively, this is not a bad book by any means and the writing is actually quite good. The authors have a great approach to their concepts and I felt like I was having a direct conversation with them throughout my reading experience. I received an ebook of this title from Netgalley, all opinions are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Justin Ralph

    This beautiful, honest, conversational, and to-the-point guide to living a good life in today's hectic and baffling environment is one of the best "semi-Buddhist" books to come out in a long time. Each chapter is like a mini-teaching that takes one of the Buddha's guideposts on living well and applies it to modern life. Devon and Craig are honest and brave in the recounting of their own journeys with these teachings. They have been students of some of the greatest meditation masters of our time This beautiful, honest, conversational, and to-the-point guide to living a good life in today's hectic and baffling environment is one of the best "semi-Buddhist" books to come out in a long time. Each chapter is like a mini-teaching that takes one of the Buddha's guideposts on living well and applies it to modern life. Devon and Craig are honest and brave in the recounting of their own journeys with these teachings. They have been students of some of the greatest meditation masters of our time and have a ton of experiential knowledge and yet manage to humbly present their teachings as if you were sitting in a living room with them casually talking about the dharma. Each chapter presents something special, but I was so struck by the chapters on speaking the truth, being generous, and making sex "good". There are so many easy to apply tidbits of wisdom and compassion here that I started applying the moment I read them. The teachings are presented in such clear terms that they are easily digestible, but they are also profound enough I kept backing up to earlier pages to remind myself of them. I can see myself carrying this hot pink wonder around with me for a long time, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a way to leave clearly and well in our challenging times.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Leinwohl

    I will start by saying I really enjoyed this book. I was thrown off by the unfortunate title and the fact that the cover makes it look like it comes with a matching Barbie. But you can’t judge a book by its cover! I read this because it received multiple mentions in the Shambala newsletter and some of the people I admire most in the mindfulness world gave it positive reviews. They were also later mentioned in the book, which made me trust the narrators/made me smile. This is a quick read and sup I will start by saying I really enjoyed this book. I was thrown off by the unfortunate title and the fact that the cover makes it look like it comes with a matching Barbie. But you can’t judge a book by its cover! I read this because it received multiple mentions in the Shambala newsletter and some of the people I admire most in the mindfulness world gave it positive reviews. They were also later mentioned in the book, which made me trust the narrators/made me smile. This is a quick read and super accessible for anyone curious about Buddhism or meditation but unsure where to begin. It was easier to understand and more relatable than some of the other books I’ve read with similar topics. It had a good mix of personal anecdotes. I also loved the frequent nods to scientific research to back up their statements. I liked that It switched back and forth between female and male perspective and could feel that the couple was incredibly thoughtful and intentional about the words they used. I am always on the hunt for more books about Buddhism that hold my attention and aren’t written for a theology scholar (that i am NOT) and this totally did the trick.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Natasha Rulason

    CW: mentions of disordered eating For being written by two white, straight, cisgendered folks, this book was surprisingly inclusive especially of gender identity and sexual orientation. I was also surprised when, early on in the book and then later on as well, they discussed the impact that white supremacy has on society. The book heavily focuses on Buddhist practices and mindfulness, which I found interesting, although I am not a huge fan of mindfulness itself. I do, however, think the mindfulne CW: mentions of disordered eating For being written by two white, straight, cisgendered folks, this book was surprisingly inclusive especially of gender identity and sexual orientation. I was also surprised when, early on in the book and then later on as well, they discussed the impact that white supremacy has on society. The book heavily focuses on Buddhist practices and mindfulness, which I found interesting, although I am not a huge fan of mindfulness itself. I do, however, think the mindfulness activities they suggest would be beneficial for many people. I also liked when they discussed how to work through trauma triggers when they arise in certain situations.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Flichtbeil

    I really enjoyed Devon and Craig’s book which takes timeless Buddhist ethical principles originally written for monastics and offers them in an accessible format for young adults in our current, fast paced, tech heavy world. Now, more than ever, we need to contemplate how to be more present, more kind, and more connected. Devon and Craig offer supportive and nonjudgmental guidance to help us do just that.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Aggie

    Overall pretty good. Some aspects lend themselves better to an audiobook or video format, especially the guided meditations within. A bit hard to do or remember a meditation when you're reading along with it. Plus, there could have been a heavier hand with editing out the overuse of commas. But the voice of the authors was easy to read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Judi

    Some basic Buddhist precepts to survive life, yourself. Mindfulness. Generosity. Clarity. And a couple other ideas that feed from these - accepting yourself for starters. Short, quick read but useful to gaining/regaining insight about what matters in life. Received as a Goodreads giveaway.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aditi

    A fairly realistic guide to meditation and mindfulness.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jaszmin

    I think i need to read the physical book. It was hard to keep up with the audiobook. I cant even tell you the 6 ways to not be a hot mess. All I know is there was a lot of yoga involved.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alan Eyre

    Had some good bits, but I would have preferred a higher wheat to chaff ratio

  15. 4 out of 5

    Farith

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dirk

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  18. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Whittaker

  19. 5 out of 5

    Djuana

  20. 4 out of 5

    Soup

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katie Ross

  22. 4 out of 5

    anson miedel

  23. 5 out of 5

    Erica

  24. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Lukert

  25. 5 out of 5

    Don Woods

  26. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  27. 4 out of 5

    B

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marsha

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kori Reininger

  30. 5 out of 5

    Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)

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