This book stood out for me because of Poehler’s amazingly positive outlook on life. Sure, things go wrong or things are hard, but overall the attitude that shines through is one of optimism, hope, belief in hard work, trust in her friends, and an understanding of how fortunate she is to be living the life she is, with work that she loves and children she loves.
It was interesting to read about her career so far. What I found especially fascinating was how she has perspective on the early days of her career, when she was unknown, passed over, broke, and struggling. She’ll tell an anecdote and then instead of lingering on how hard it was or how awful she felt, she says “and then I tried again / worked harder / changed my approach.” I get the impression of someone who dives into her own life with her eyes and her heart open, willing to work her ass off to achieve her goals, but not willing to step on others to do so. She values friendships with both men and women, and places a lot of emphasis on women networking and sticking together.
I like that she didn’t talk too much about her personal life, such as her divorce or her family. She doesn’t badmouth people. She is grateful for support and friendship and professional contacts. Of course there are a lot of famous people who get mentioned, but it never feels like name-dropping; rather, it is more in the context of how she feels helped and supported along the way, and how she strives to help and support others. Success isn’t a zero-sum game in her world, but something that should be shared and encouraged.
It’s not that she is Pollyanna about the world. It’s more that she has an attitude of “Yeah, things aren’t perfect. So roll up your damned sleeves and do something about it, and have fun while you’re at it!”
It was a pleasure to read this book. Poehler is funny, for sure, but also very practical, loving, and generous in her view of the world. It made me think a bit about nature versus nurture: How much of this is the confidence and security of a well-loved child, how much is just her own personality, and how much of it is the people she encountered along the way?
My mom gave me this book last December and I’m glad I finally read it. It’s the fancy hardcover version with glossy pages and colour pictures, a luxury book. I follow Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls on Facebook, and it’s been fun to read there some of the things that girls and young women are accomplishing.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler. 2014. ISBN 9781443424523.