What I’ve Read: A Place of Yes by Bethenny Frankel
Let me first say this: I have a huge girl crush on Bethenny. I think she’s a funny, smart and successful woman that serves as a realistic role model for someone like me. I admire her work ethic and her dedication to herself, her family and her brand.
I was really excited to read this book because, frankly, I wasn’t super in love with her other books. I thought Naturally Thin was a naturally thin disguise of her (admitted) problems with food packaged as a non-diet healthy approach to eating. I felt it took food neurosis to a whole new, obsessive level. Not my favorite. The Skinnygirl Dish was better, as it featured a lot of her famous, healthy recipes and less “several bites is all you need to feel full!” advice.
The best chapters of this book were the first few. I think that’s because the rather long introduction and the first few chapters are distinctly Bethenny’s voice and words. After that, it becomes painstakingly clear when it’s Bethenny doing the writing or her “contributor” Eve Adamson.
With that being said, this book is super quotable. It’s full of sound byte advice and it’s inspiring to read about Bethenny coming full circle into the success and happiness she enjoys today. But, do I feel that some of this reads like textbook “You Are Awesome!” promotional speaker cliches? Yes. Is it still worth reading? I think so.
Despite its shortcomings, I read through the book quickly and enjoyed my time doing so. The sections of the book discussing Bethenny’s personal life and upbringing were the most engaging and, as a fan of her shows, I liked hearing behind-the-scenes tidbits as well.
On the flip side, while I know that Bethenny’s empire is built upon weight loss, Skinnygirl margaritas and healthy eating, I was irritated to find her neurotic food voice coming through often. Again. At the risk of angering a lot of fellow Bethenny fans, she briefly touches on what sounded like an eating disorder but does not fully address it. Later, she talks about how she loves and appreciates tasty food: ice cream, frosting for breakfast, hot dogs. Then, she backtracks and starts speaking about the dietary restrictions she has in place for herself. It all seems very contradictory. Ironically, a main feature throughout the book is something she calls “noise.” Loosely defined, it’s a voice inside your head encouraging you to self-sabotage or distracting you from things that really deserve your focus and attention. She mentions how she had lots of food noise in her life growing up, but honestly? It seems like she has a lot of food noise now.
Like I mentioned briefly at the beginning of this review, it’s also easy to tell when Eve Adamson, Bethenny’s book contributor, is piping into the conversation. The further you go in the book, the more contributor-based the advice seems to become. Perhaps deadlines for the later chapters with the publisher came at a time when Bethenny was busy filming one of her TV shows, or maybe she just ran out of steam. The advice at the beginning was more sound, but once I neared the end of the book, I definitely started to get a “filler copy” vibe.
Despite my few qualms with the book, I honestly did enjoy it and found lots of sound bytes applicable to things I have gone through or am going through. It’s worth trying to come “from a place of yes” in life, and her steps to achieve that place are realistic and attainable.
If you’re a Bethenny fan, it’s a no-brainer: you’ll really enjoy this book. If you like promotional-speaker type books, you’ll likely love it as well.
Here are a few of my favorite tidbits from the book:
“Sometimes you do have to start again, and you can do it over and over. When you find you are off track or your actions aren’t in line with your true nature, you change course. You start again. It’s never wrong. It’s just what it is.”
“Coming from a place of yes isn’t just having a positive attitude, being an optimist, or being cheerful all the time.”
“This book isn’t about being perfect, or even about being nice. It’s about getting through your life in the best possible way for you, and learning how to stop getting in your own way. It’s about making your life better, no matter what kind of person you are naturally.”
“Self-doubt is a bad habit. Fear is an excuse and a shield. Irritation is a sign of stress.”
“A few more things a place of yes is not: A place of yes is not the power of positive thinking or the law of attraction…Coming from a place of yes is about getting right down to business. It’s active, not passive. Yes gives you something to do: a mission, a purpose, a goal.”
Have you read this book? Have you read any other of Bethenny’s books? I’d love to hear your input! What did you think?