Lessons from YOU ARE A BADASS by Jen Sincero

“How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life.”

‘You Are a Badass’ promises to help you confront and change your self-sabotaging behaviour and creating a kick-ass life. Its chapters are filled with stories to inspire you and exercises to guide you through your badassery journey. She uses straight talk and humour to help you to get to understand yourself, improve the things that you can and accept those that you can’t change.

Here are some lessons I took away from the book:

  • “What you choose to focus on becomes your reality.”
  • Your faith should be greater than you fear.
  • “Growth ain’t for the weenies, but it is nowhere near as painful as living the life you’re living right now if you’re not really going for it.”
  • If you are able to have a fucked up perception of yourself, you are also able to have a brilliant one. Why choose the former?
  • “When we’re happy and all in love with ourselves, we can’t be bothered with the bullshit (our own or other people’s).”
  • Actions can reveal answers better than just sitting and thinking about them.
  • If you want to make changes in your life and get the things that you want, you’re going to have to take control of your thoughts.
  • When you live in a state of gratitude, it’s easy to believe that more great things are coming your way.
  • “So often when we say we’re unqualified for something, what we are really saying is that we’re too scared to try it, not that we can’t do it.”
  • “There is a big difference between walking around saying you want to make a million dollars a year, and having crystal clear intentions, fierce desire, and hell-bent action towards a specific goal.”

This book is a good reminder to us about our abilities to steer our lives in the direction we desire. If you usually have self-doubt, feel stuck or unable to see yourself in a place of success, wealth, happiness or thriving in whatever it is you want to do and have, it gives you a pinch to tell you to stop and tells you how to change and do better.


Title: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living And Awesome Life

Author: Jen Sincero

Published: 2013, Running Press Book Publishers

Genre: Self-help

A Seat At The Table With Sheryl Sandberg in ‘Lean In’

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

-Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In

The workplace can be a battlefield for women, where they struggle with progressing and gaining access to top roles. Leadership roles are still dominated by men, and promotion and rising to higher positions takes place faster for men than it does for women.

Sheryl Sandberg unknots the underlying issues that have to do with these challenges that women face, and comes up with good solutions. In Lean In, Sandberg identifies root causes such as women’s personal attitudes and lack of confidence. Fear also influences women’s attitudes in the workplace, such as the fear that they don’t deserve certain roles as compared to men. There’s also the fear of failing, putting too much on their plates and the fear of not being able to balance home and work. Women still need to play other roles at home, wives and mothers and there’s also the fear of not succeeding in those roles.

Sandberg also confronts the issue of likeability – a woman being too nice therefore perceived as incompetent, or being competent but not nice enough. She suggests that women should feel they deserve the roles they want and accept the challenge. Wanting to do it all just won’t work, but doing most of it well enough will help.

Her other remedy is that women should seek out opportunities and ask for them if they have to. There are women who will hold back the reality of their personal lives, which can get in the way, and so she advises that they should be open about their personal lives as it is not separate from their work lives.

This book is a good contribution to the efforts of changing the system and achieving equality. The issues she addresses are serious and her passion for a call to make changes in a world that constantly makes it difficult to carry out that task, is commendable. The style can be slightly dull at times, therefore making it a bit demanding on the reader’s attention. However, it’s a necessary read for both men and women. It’s for women to recognize things about themselves that could be holding them back. It is for men because it will bring to attention some of the things that they do to hold women back and ways that they can help to creating equality. It can also advise women who stand in the way of other women, on how self-preservation only serves to inflame what is already wrong with the system.

Lean In is worth a read. It plays a good role in the fight for women’s right to get a seat at the table.

Looking at Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Horrifying and Inspiring Life in ‘Infidel’

“There are times when silence becomes an accomplice to injustice.” 
― Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel

I read Infidel more than a year ago and put it on the shelf, with a promise to one day return to it and write a review. Even left on the shelf, the stories in it still haunted me for months and changed the way I looked at the Muslim religion.

Yesterday, while driving in this Muslim dominated area I saw a group of women gathered on the side of the road, engrossed in something not too far ahead. As I got nearer I saw this man raining slaps on this woman. She was trying to get away, her hijab slipping from her head, her bag falling and the man continued with his paws on her. I slowed down and my four-year-old at the back, in panic, asked if the man was also coming to fight with us. I drove off but later beat myself up for not doing anything, like those spectators. That whole revolting incident took me back to Infidel. That scene reminded me of something I had read in the book about the beatings of wives, daughters and sisters and the degree of such an allowance.

Ayaan tells the story of her life, from her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia, growing up in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya, and eventually her escape to the Netherlands. She was forced to undergo genital mutilation at a young age, went through her adolescence as a devout believer, survived a civil war and escaped a forced marriage. This personal record takes us through the mental terrors she experienced, the unequal treatment between her and her brother, being shackled to a marital decision made by her father and having no say in it.

If you’ve never experienced or had any knowledge of the religion and its traditions, you’ll learn and be shocked by the extent of male supremacy, female sexual repression, the oppression of women, sadism, abuse and other demeaning and dehumanizing treatment subjected to women in some countries.

When she changes her route from the dutiful acceptance of her fate in an arranged marriage, to possible freedom, the experience is both relieving and chilling. The gradual liberation that she goes through is tough but necessary and a moving series of incredible moments to read. Her determination to get educated and break the shackles she’s known all her life, and the way she raises the volume of her voice to speak for Muslim girls and women, is incredibly inspiring.

Infidel is an illuminating read, filled with shocking revelations of conditions some people would’ve never imagined. When she becomes a Member of Parliament and a voice worth listening to, you can’t help but admire her courage. It’s not the easiest thing to stand up against religion or any long-existing traditions when you know the risks and fatal consequences you could face. She has persevered through death threats from extremists and having to move around with security, and not many would do that.

I wouldn’t limit Infidel to a specific category of readers with specific preferences because it’s a necessary read for just about anyone. You may agree or disagree with her views, her cause and approach, but you will gain insight into a world that desperately needs attention.

This memoir is an extraordinary testimony of courage and a willingness to risk a lot for the greater good.