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Review: How to Be Interesting: by Jessica Hagy

How to Be Interesting: by Jessica Hagy

Recommended: sure?
For a quick read of little ideas that can have a big impact, for a book of small thoughts that would be good to read one per day as a daily focus or self-reminder. Not as compelling or effective to just read through in one go as I can attest to….


You want to leave a mark, not a blemish. Be a hero, not a spectator. You want to be interesting. (Who doesn’t?) But sometimes it takes a nudge, a wake-up call, an intervention!—and a little help. This is where Jessica Hagy comes in. A writer and illustrator of great economy, charm, and insight, she’s created How to Be Interesting, a uniquely inspirational how-to that combines fresh and pithy lessons with deceptively simple diagrams and charts.

Ms. Hagy started on, where she’s a weekly blogger, by creating a “How to Be Interesting” post that went viral, attracting 1.4 million viewers so far, with tens of thousands of them liking, linking, and tweeting the article. Now she’s deeply explored the ideas that resonated with so many readers to create this small and quirky book with a large and universal message. It’s a book about exploring: Talk to strangers. About taking chances: Expose yourself to ridicule, to risk, to wild ideas. About being childlike, not childish: Remember how amazing the world was before you learned to be cynical. About being open: Never take in the welcome mat. About breaking routine: Take daily vaca- tions . . . if only for a few minutes. About taking ownership: Whatever you’re doing, enjoy it, embrace it, master it as well as you can. And about growing a pair: If you’re not courageous, you’re going to be hanging around the water cooler, talking about the guy that actually is.


This would probably work better if I hadn’t read through it in one straight go. This book is broken up into ten sections, each with an overarching theme of that “step” and some pithy diagrams and motivational ideas on how to embrace or enact that step’s theme. I’d recommend reading a section at a time, or maybe one piece of advice/drawing a day and then focus on that for the day.

Some of the advice was poignant, some was obvious, some was fairly nonsensical. If you’re really using this to try to become interesting, I’m not sure how well it will work. If you’re doing it so OTHER PEOPLE think you’re interesting, probably nothing will help. But if it’s so YOU feel like you’re more interested in life, then it could help get you thinking about changes you could make.

My goal was more of the latter. Some of the ideas in the book are ones I’ve also already embraced in my hope to feel more involved in my own life, with things to look forward to and learn and feel proud of. The biggest thing was that of helping others when you don’t know how to help yourself. Doing something good for others is the BEST way to selfishly make yourself feel better too. Freakin’ awesome, right?

Some of the other steps were broader, like setting aside your ego, being brave, not judging harshly, and so on. This collection best serves as a daily reminder of how to live your best life.

The drawings that accompanied each step were often a little dash of humour to follow up the ideas. The examples included in the drawings are what bring that in. Even if the idea itself was straightforward and not very silly, the contrast between the success you want to obtain and the alternative option given is usually enough to make you smile. Unfortunately I can’t think of any prime examples right now, so you’ll just have to read it to see what I mean. xD There were some charts and illustrations that I didn’t really get though, ones that fell a little flat. It wasn’t a big deal and I tended to just move on to the next one, but not every one was a winner.


Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

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