Audio Book Battle: Ambrosini vs. Sincero

So you’re thinking about switching careers, but maybe you’re not feeling so confident. Do you have one of those nagging voices in the back of your mind telling you there’s no way you’ll pull off your next goal? I think many of us struggle with the beast that is negative self-talk at some point, and sometimes all we need to push through is a little encouragement and a reminder of just how in control and capable we really are.

Over the past 2 years or so I’ve become a total junkie of personal and professional development books. While most have been geared toward business and entrepreneurship, I recently found myself in possession of two audio books which fell more into the self-help category. I love to read, but I can’t always squeeze in the time to sit down with an actual book, hence my recent obsession with Audible. Audible allows me to consume content while I’m getting ready in the morning, driving an hour to and from work, on my way to a shift at the winery, or while doing monotonous tasks at home (dishes, folding laundry, cleaning up the aftermath of Hurricane Dorothy in my bedroom, and the like).

I decided to pit these two against one another, rather than reviewing them separately, because both approach the formula to success and kicking ass in life in a similar fashion: love yourself, nix negative self-talk, and fully embrace belief in a higher power. In the end, the message is the same, but how it is presented is the important part here.

The premises of self-acceptance and positive thinking patterns I can get behind — but typically when it comes to these books that incorporate a required religious/spiritual component I am quickly turned off. I went to Catholic school my entire life, knee-highs and all. Ironically, I’ve realized there are a number of us Catholic School Kids who are now more apprehensive about organized religion and defining said higher power. I just don’t like religion being jammed down my throat. I guess old thought patterns die hard.

I’ve balked at most of the books like these two, as the forced spiritual component typically tends to feel like flowery fluff and like you’re putting all of your success eggs into the same basket: He will provide! He will take care of you! He will solve your problems if you believe! I personally subscribe to the school of thought that you need to take matters into your own hands and work your ass off to achieve your goals and desires. My very religious family is going to strangle me when they read this, so if you do pray, please say a quick one for me. 😉

I don’t mean to offend anyone fully dedicated to their religion or spiritually. If it works for you, by all means, carry on. In my personal experience, it just hasn’t worked for me. I say this not because I believe my way of thinking is the right one, but to give you more context for the following reviews.

Mastering Your Mean Girl — The No-BS Guide to Silencing Your Inner Critic and Becoming Wildly Wealthy, Fabulously Healthy + Bursting with Love

I really wanted to love this book. I’m in a few entrepreneurial girl-gangs on Facebook, and one of the threads recently asked us to share which books we were currently reading. At the suggestion of another group member, I made Mastering Your Mean Girl my very next Audible purchase.

Purchasing the audio version may have been my first major mistake. Though Ambrosini has this lovely accent and I thought I’d be able to listen to every future audio book through her narration, her execution of this particular material did not resonate with me at all. I can’t decide if it was the writing, intonation, or a combination of both that bothered me; but I found myself rolling my eyes way too frequently on my commute while trying to absorb this piece.

All I could think of was Patrick Swayze in Donnie Darko discussing, “FEAR OR LOVE.” Is it just me? Each time I heard the word “love” I was tried to figure out what familiar tone it reminded me of – I settled on an annoying yoga instructor, overly breathy and producing the exact opposite of the calming effect intended. It was just too much.

To be fair, there is a rawness about the way she shares uncomfortable situations, details descriptions of her “rock bottom,” and so on. I’m sure there are plenty of points that would be applicable to me. And yet, after listening to the preface, introduction, and a half hour of the first Chapter, I returned it to Audible. There was just no way I could make it through another 6 hours.

I can’t help but wonder, if I had ordered the paperback would I have interpreted the information in the same way? Or would I have been able to digest it on my own terms and focus on the actual material better? Maybe if I were in a more vulnerable state (like “unshowered-in-the-same-pajamas-for-three-days-crying-into-Ben-&-Jerry’s-on-the-couch” vulnerable) I would have gotten more out of it. Let’s hope we don’t find out.

You Are a Badass — How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

Ugh. Have you ever loved something so much it hurts? That’s how I felt about Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass.

When I first started listening to Sincero’s narration, I was caught a little off guard. Based upon the title I was expecting a more energetic and intense spin à la Nicole Lapin or Grant Cardone — something that would excite you so much you’d be running around your apartment in a hoodie to Eye of the Tiger because you just couldn’t help yourself.

Not quite. This audio book is much more subdued — in a good way. Once I reframed my thinking about Sincero’s narration style and replaced my descriptor “unenthused” with “Daria,” I was totally on board and ready to dive in.

The introduction opens with a quote from a reverend, followed by:

“I used to think quotes like this were a bunch of crap.”

Yep.

“I also didn’t understand what the hell they were talking about. I mean, not that I cared. I was too cool.”

Hmm. Okay.
Maybe — okay, fine, yes.

“What little I knew about the spiritual/self-help world I found to be unforgivably cheesy.”

Ick, totally.

“It reeked of desperation, rah-rah churchiness, and unwanted hugs from unappealing strangers.”

Hah! Yes!

“Don’t get me started on how grouchy I used to be about God.”

This chick gets me.

I continued listening in my car daily to Sincero’s cynic-turned-spiritual-cheerleader stories and examples of how her faith in the universe, her rejection of the “Big Snooze” (or BS, her name for the Ego), and unwavering belief in her inner badass has impacted very single aspect of her life. It got to the point where I would literally sigh with disappointment when I arrived at my destinations because I had to pause this book.

Sincero’s anecdotes are totally relatable and endearing, and I love that she’s not afraid to throw around profanity to emphasize her points. It just comes across as more authentic to me. The writing style and cadence quickly make Sincero feel like a funny friend whose advice is down-to-earth, yet eye-opening and relevant. As the book goes on, she manages to make tougher topics (yes, like spirituality, but so much more) incredibly approachable.

I loved it so much I’m planning on making it part of the regular rotation, and I cannot wait until You Are a Badass at Making Money is released in April 2017. I’ve preordered it already, and there may or may not be a countdown ticking away somewhere. Not only will I now buy anything she writes, but I could easily see myself begging her to take my money if I had the chance to do one-on-one coaching sessions with her.

Winner by TKO: Jen Sincero

I thought You Are a Badass completely blew Mastering Your Mean Girl out of the water. Is it completely unfair of me to review a book I didn’t (or couldn’t) finish? I know that MYMG has some major fans and stellar reviews on both Amazon and Good Reads — to each their own. Just call me a cynic, I guess — a big ‘ol badass cynic.


Did you read/listen to either of these self-help favorites?

What did you think? Let me know if you agree or think I was way off!

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