Monday, July 6, 2009

Yes Man by Danny Wallace

Yes Man is the tale of a man who takes the advice of a random stranger to "Say yes more." He takes this suggestion to the extreme and challenges himself to quite literally say yes to everything (including email spam telling him he's won the Spanish lottery). Needless to say, this leads to many humorous situations. Danny's childlike optimism is occasionally shattered, but he somehow manages to stay determined throughout it all and in the end, learns how positive and negative approaches to everyday experience can drastically change the direction of one's life.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is Danny's whimsical approach to life. At times he is naive, silly, even idiotic, but he undeniably has a wonderful appreciation and understanding of people and all their idiosyncrasies. Rather than shying away from awkward situations with strangers, Danny embraces those situations and fosters many new friendships, often leading to amazing opportunities.

A few of my favorite stories:
- Danny journeys to Amsterdam in order to collect the money he "won" in the Spanish Lottery. Unfortunately for Danny, the whole Lottery bit doesn't quite work out, but he does meet a few travelers, one of whom offers to take him on a tour of Amsterdam. It turns out to be a wild night, involving, among other things, a psychotropic mindbomb. Danny wakes up the next morning to find a portrait of himself with a small dog on his shoulder. Danny does not own a dog.

- After traveling on a whim to Barcelona to meet Marc (another "Yes Man"), he hops on a plane to Singapore just for the hell of it and lets a kind taxi driver lead him around the city. He enjoys a peaceful afternoon on Pulau Ubin, where he is chased by a lizard while riding a bike.

- Danny meets up with a hypnotist and his hypno-dog, who wears a fez.

Yes Man is an easy read, and Danny's writing is amusing and inviting. He admits his own mistakes and failures, but nonetheless fully embraces "yes" and encourages others to do the same. Danny's experiences are a testament to the power of a simple three letter word and all the positive energy it radiates.

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