The author of the acclaimed, bestselling In Praise of Difficult Women delivers a hilarious feminist manifesto that encourages us to reject “self-improvement” and instead learn to appreciate and flaunt our complex, and flawed, human selves.
Why are we so obsessed with being our so-called best selves? Because our modern culture force feeds women lies designed to heighten their insecurities: “You can do it all—crush it at work, at home, in the bedroom, at PTA and at Pilates—and because you can, you should. We can show you how!”
Karen Karbo has had enough. She’s taking a stand against the cultural and societal pressures, marketing, and media influences that push us to spend endless time, energy and money trying to “fix” ourselves—a race that has no finish line and only further increases our send of self-dissatisfaction and loathing. “Yeah, no, not happening,” is her battle cry.
In this wickedly smart and entertaining book, Karbo explores how “self-improvery” evolved from the provenance of men to women. Recast as “consumers” in the 1920s, women, it turned out, could be seduced into buying anything that might improve not just their lives, but their sense of self-worth. Today, we smirk at Mad Men-era ads targeting 1950s housewives—even while savvy marketers, aided and abetted by social media “influencers,” peddle skin care “systems,” skinny tea, and regimens that promise to deliver endless happiness. We’re not simply seduced into dropping precious disposable income on empty promises; the underlying message is that we can’t possibly know what’s good for us, what we want, or who we should be. Calling BS, Karbo blows the lid off of this age-old trend and asks women to start embracing their awesomely imperfect selves.
There is no one more dangerous than a woman who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. Yeah, No, Not Happening is a call to arms to build a posse of dangerous women who swear off self-improvement and its peddlers. A welcome corrective to our inner-critic, Karbo’s manifesto will help women restore their sanity and reclaim their self-worth.
About the Author
Karen Karbo is the author of 14 award-winning novels, memoirs, and works of nonfiction. Her adult novels have all been named New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Her genre-bending Kick Ass Women series, including the international best seller The Gospel According to Coco Chanel, mingles biography, memoir, philosophy, humor, and self-help to examine how we should live. Her most recent book, In Praise of Difficult Women, was an national bestseller. Her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in Elle, Vogue, Marie Claire, Outside, O, the New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon.com, and other magazines. Visit her online at karenkarbo.com.
“If you’ve ever risen at dawn to make a kale smoothie before rushing off to exercise class, I recommend you turn off your alarm, go back to sleep, and reach for this book when you wake up. Yeah, No. Not Happening is part personal story, part historical record, and part cheery, chiding manifesto for all the women who find the siren call of self improvement too strong to resist. But resist we must, and Karbo has shown us how.”
— Kristin Van Ogtrop, author of Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom
“Yeah, No. Not Happening rallies all women to turn away from commodified self-improvement and toward our own imaginations, intelligence, creativity, and agency. What if radicalizing self-worth means we already know who we are and that we’re ready to do something about it, with the flex of our minds rather than our money? Karbo is the only beauty or bath bomb we need right now. I’m in.”
— Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Misfit’s Manifesto and Verge
“Free yourselves! This book is a hilarious and refreshing look at the absurd things we do in the name of self-improvement and personal growth. And for what?! Read this, let go of the bullsh*t, and come as you are.”
— Caroline Dooner, author of The F*ck It Diet
“I love this book so much I want to eat it. It is spit-your-coffee-out funny, spot-on in its truthfulness and witty observations, and as empowering as anything I’ve ever read. This book made me exhale, which conversely made me realize how long I’d been holding my breath waiting for it. Folks, it’s here.”
— Jennifer Pastiloff, author of On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard
“It’s always a happy day when another Karen Karbo book comes my way. This one, which says thanks but no thanks to self improvement with the help of entertaining history, fun facts, and cheeky yet smart advice, is best read (devoured) while mainlining hot fudge and sporting a bitch T-shirt and sweats, with dishes piled in the sink and the Fitbit tossed in the trash. Read it and let it work its magic.”
— Cathi Hanauer, author of Gone and editor of The Bitch Is Back and The Bitch in the House
“Yeah, No. Not Happening is warm, witty, effortlessly sophisticated—reading it is like having champagne with your most engaging friend. But under the delicious prose is a heartening lesson: chasing after impossible-to-achieve standards of beauty and being never makes us happy. In turning our backs on the nonstop pressure to improve ourselves, we discover our true selves and step into our power.”
— Sheila Weller, author of Girls Like Us and Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge