– I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. –
Elite Daily managing editor Greg Dybec worries about rent, sex, love, family, and—the most millennial topic of them all—a desire to leave a legacy. In The Art of Living Other People’s Lives, Greg delivers a funny, brash, and insightful collection of twenty never-before-published stories on becoming a pick-up artist to get over an ex-girlfriend, late-night adventures with his Uber driver, having a Twitter-induced panic attack, picking up a gig writing about men’s underwear, and more.
Greg’s writing is all at once candid, honest, and unapologetic, and his hilariously neurotic and self-analytical journey will strike a chord with anyone struggling to balance their IRL selves with their virtual ones.
I chose this book because…
I’m such a fan of existential crises. So many people say that they want to live a life so that when they die, they will be remembered. The cold hard truth is that we will all be forgotten, but the good news is that it’s okay, which is wonderfully articulated in this vlogbrothers video. I’m interested in the little things in life, the stories that we all carry, and I’m excited to see what Dybec has to share. It seems like his life has been filled with “one day I will look back on this and laugh” moments, and those moments always make for good stories.
Upon reading it…
How often do you walk by friends engaged in conversation and hold doors for people on the phone and suddenly, without asking for it, you’ve become intermingled with their words? For that brief moment, their world becomes yours.
As a hobby blogger, I’m always looking for inspiration throughout my daily life, finding the stories to tell, searching for the next potential blog post. I’m sure many of you in the world of online media can relate to this. As the managing editor of Elite Daily, Dybec takes this to another level–call it people watching, eavesdropping, or research.
The way I describe it sounds very idealistic, maybe even romantic. Maybe wishy-washy. But with Dybec it’s not like that. It’s candid, it’s funny, it’s honest, it’s true. It’s filled with oddly specific examples, anecdotes, and metaphors that we can somehow all relate to.
Anyone working in tech, whether it’s communications or computer science or blogging or journalism, will be able to find something to relate to. And even if you’re not, technology has become such a part of our lives that you’d still find something to relate to, whether it’s about a relationship or about social media or about finding a job.
As different as we may seem, we’re all connected to some degree, however small, and Dybec has done an excellent job of capturing that.
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For me, this book is a kind of confessional.
When we neglect those imperfect moments, we miss a chance for real growth.
If life is indeed all about balance, then it’s important to embrace the imperfect and the strange. If we lose that personal honesty, then whom exactly are we living for—ourselves or everyone else? Who knows, maybe it’ll always be a little bit of both. I’m still trying to figure that out, one step, click, swipe, and text at a time.
Or maybe someone out there is close to discovering a way for us to just live inside our computers for the rest of time. In the event that happens, forget everything I just said.
Attracting people to a website shares a lot of similarities with the techniques used by pick up artists.
Can you get stuck together during sex
Can you fall in love with someone through texts
We’re all asking the same questions at some point in our lives, and there is something genuinely comforting in that.
We’re all trying to cope with what life throws at us, whether it’s good, bad, or somewhere in between. We’re all asking ourselves questions we’d never ask out loud.
In South Africa, people were prepared to perform the Heimlich maneuver on me when I attempted to pronounce “goeie môre,” which is Afrikaans for good morning.
We moved quickly through each city, taking in the sights, filling up on carbohydrates, and staring at gelato behind glass as if each flavor was a relic from Jesus’s childhood laid out neatly on display.
We were poorly translated versions of ourselves, but we were ourselves nonetheless.
When the wine was finished, Francesco poured us all grappa he had made in his backyard. It tasted like gasoline and a hint of death, but that didn’t stop us from toasting to family and new friends.
We’re all strangers someplace.
He led me into the apartment and my jaw hit the floor. The ceiling was at least the height of a professional basketball hoop, which is the only way I am able to effectively judge the height of anything.
The notion that I’d somehow lose a piece of my childhood if my grandparents homes didn’t stay forever intact and stable next to one another was an impractical one, brought on by my mind’s irrational tendency to place the burden of existential fears onto something tangible. When I was younger I was convinced that if I didn’t say good night to my family they’d cease to exist while I slept. I also believed that if I didn’t pray before bed my house would set on fire. I’m not sure where that particular dread came from, but I think the Catholic church would be proud.
The night gives you too much time to think.
I figured every aspiring writer thrived from pain, isolation, and the validation that people don’t get you.
If anything, breakups should be renamed breakdowns.
Maybe the real definition of love is finding someone who doesn’t cause you to break down in order to build yourself up.
By embracing rejection as a normal part of life, we, in turn, exuded an undeniable aura of confidence.
It’s easy to talk about how difficult times made you a stronger person long after those difficult times are over.
There are plenty of moments in life in which you realize you’ve been seeing only what you want to see, looking clear past the reality of a situation.
What starts as a fervent, Al Pacino-style pump-up speech always ends up losing steam and heading in the direction of, “well, if I die, I’ve done a lot of things and seen a lot of places.”
The purpose is to preserve one positive moment in time with them. To create one memory of laughter and joy that may come back to them during a less fun time.
People don’t trust anyone who doesn’t go ape shit and hit Mariah Carey-style notes when a puppy prances into the room.
That’s the terrible stigma surrounding illness; that it has to be something profound and visual for it to be real.
It’s refreshing when your unfounded assumptions are proven wrong, but at the same you wish you had the sense to never have assumed in the first place.
I was giddy with excitement. I hadn’t done much, but it was more than I thought I was capable of.
I have a theory now that a person isn’t a true New Yorker unless they’ve encountered a mouse that has made them question the proposed hierarchy of species.
Phil and Ethan could barely stand and were in the grips of the kind of howling, full-body laughter that can only be caused by a scheme devised with your friends. And weed.
The job of a successful website is to start conversations. And also to be all over social media like a case of herpes people can’t get rid of.
The odd beauty of the modern day, millennial-focused website is that it often feels like an honest, intelligent, outgoing friend, who sometimes gets too drunk on weekdays but who can explain to you what’s going on in Syria and rant about the building effects of global warming.
Life online can’t exist without life offline.
The Internet is a funny place when you take a peek behind the curtain. People forget it’s crafted and sustained by actual living, breathing, flesh-and-blood people, who are working actual hours for actual currency to live their actual lives. You probably see us everyday and don’t even know it, the same way I wonder how many people I walk by everyday on the streets are serial killers who have yet to be caught.
All you need to do is tell a girl you’re taking her on an adventure and she’ll do anything.