By Alison Bowen
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In “You’re Not That Great: (but neither is anyone else),” author Elan Gale suggests trying a new approach to living…EMBRACE NEGATIVITY!
January’s over. So does that mean we can throw out New Year’s resolutions?
A new book has an idea for you. Forget the positivity that’s foisted upon you through quote-laden Instagram posts or encouragement toward exercise.
In “You’re Not That Great: (but neither is anyone else),” author Elan Gale takes the opposite approach of most books on the self-help shelf.
“Everyone’s constantly affirming everybody, and it’s not helping them,” Gale said.
Outlining how we got addicted to positivity, think parents complimenting toddler drawings, he breaks down the nonsense of quotes like “Everything happens for a reason” and replaces them with truisms like “Life is unfair” and “Bad things happen to good people.”
Acknowledging these are “astoundingly less fun than the kinds of phrases we usually see on Stevie’s mug at work,”
Gale forges ahead, nonetheless, to show us how we can harness negativity.
We talked to the Los Angeles-based author, 34, who is a producer on reality dating show “The Bachelor,” as well as a prolific tweeter, about negativity that doesn’t have to be a negative, and how a stranger’s harsh words at birthday party changed his life.
(This interview has been condensed and edited.)
Q: How did you decide to write this book?
A: The origin story of this book comes from anger. I was just seeing so many affirmations and being told to smile and be happy so much and hearing people tell people that if you have a positive approach, that life will work out for them. It’s so infuriating to watch people set each other up for failure so consistently and with so much fervor.