What If This Were Enough? by Heather Havrilesky

What If This Were Enough?

By the author of the New York Times Love and Relationships bestseller How to Be a Person in the World, an impassioned and inspiring collection about the expectations of modern life and the sweet imperfections of the everyday.Heather Havrilesky's writing has been called "whip-smart and profanely funny" (Entertainment Weekly) and "required reading for all humans" (Celeste Ng). In her work for New York, The Baffler, The New York Times Magazine, an...

Details What If This Were Enough?

TitleWhat If This Were Enough?
Release DateOct 2nd, 2018
PublisherDoubleday Books
GenreWriting, Essays, Nonfiction, Philosophy, Humor

Reviews What If This Were Enough?

  • Kristy K
    3.5 StarsHavrilesky’s aptly named book of essays examines and critiques materialism, consumption, and our obsession with consumerism and the pursuit of happiness. Pulling largely from pop culture and current trends and fads, she delves into the world of foodies, 50 Shades, Disneyland, The Sopranos, romance, and so much more. Each essay is strong in their own right and collectively they make a small tome that packs a punch and causes one to exam...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    Heather Havrilesky is an advice columnist and also known for her previous memoir, How to be a Person in the World. The essays are a mixture of advice for living and pop culture, sometimes in strange combinations. (One compares Selin in The Idiot by Elif Batuman to Mozart, which I didn't really think worked all that well, and I've read a lot about Mozart and loved The Idiot.) As per usual with this kind of book, some of it didn't interest me at al...
  • David Yoon
    I've been a fan of Heather Havrilesky since the prehistoric days of the internet when she was writing for Suck.com. An ancient past when my pre-work routine would consist of reading long form stories called blogs, back when paragraphs weren't so intimidating. Thankfully our modern era, sensitive to our time constraints, has since concentrated my mornings to scrolling memes, instagram pics and 140 character tweets. Heather is smart and acerbic and...
  • Alexandra
    I was so excited for this but in the end I couldn't even finish it. I felt like I got permission after the author's bizarre anti library comments on twitter. I get that wasn't the point she was trying to make, but much like this book, it came across convoluted, entitled, and annoying. I didn't even finish the last quarter, I couldn't do it.
  • Charly
    Last night, after watching the first episode of Babylon Berlin, I fell asleep to the police scanner.A spurned ex, also a sex offender, had abducted and blown a bullet through the brain of a University of Utah student and dumped her body in a parking lot.I work at the University of Utah.My brother goes to the University, and texted me the alerts from New Orleans.Heather Havrilesky understands this cultural moment — the way that, at its worst, we...
  • Rose
    I found this collection of essays to be well written. This would be great for fans of the authors column. I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
  • Angela Pineda
    1.5 stars that I’ll round up because it takes A LOT for me to give a book one star. Reading this I wondered if essay books aren’t for me since this is the second one this year I’ve immensely disliked.. but then I remembered how much I loved “Not That Bad” by Roxanne Gay and I realized that this book is just bad. The author sounds entitled and elitist. She was also really annoying.I read this book because it was my book club’s November...
  • Lexi Wright
    I was two-thirds done with my library copy, when I found a sizable crumb in the gutter as if it were some potent marginalia. I thought, "Thank god someone else has read this."Reading this felt like holding a mirror up to my face and finally feeling at peace with the muddle looking back.
  • Clara
    I “discovered” Heather Havrilesky through her “Ask Polly” column in The Cut. Her new book of essays, What If This Were Enough?, displays the same smart, thoughtful perspective that makes “Ask Polly” so compelling.As a unifying thread, Havrilesky explores the cultural messages that regularly infiltrate our lives. These include some—say, for example, the sub-movements related to food—that may seem to be in our best interests, but th...
  • Christopher Farnsworth
    Reading this collection of Heather Havrilesky's essays, I had the same feeling as when I read Carolyn See's MAKING HISTORY or when I first heard Patton Oswalt. I saw someone saying what I thought and felt, but expressing it better than I ever had, or could.
  • Julie
    This book is truly delightful. It is a series of stand-alone essays. At first, they seem a bit repetitive, but over the course of the book they branch out a bit. The overarching theme is that our society is organized into a superficially sunny facade, which is also built on the message that rather than enjoying what is, we always need to be reaching for what could be. This is required by the capitalist economy, because if we believed that what we...
  • jeremy
    everything cheerful seems to have an ominous shadow looming behind it now. the smallest images and bits of news can feel so invasive, so frightening. they erode our belief in what the world can and should be. heather havrilesky's what if this were enough? collects 19 essays, mingling culture criticism and personal anecdote. with incisive insight and compassionate consideration, havrilesky confronts the insidiousness of our 21st century milieu. de...
  • James (JD) Dittes
    This is one of the best books of 2018 by a brilliant American woman.I found so much to like in this book. I even ended up re-reading three or four chapters out loud to my wife, who was similarly impressed. There is much that is quotable, and even more that is insightful.Considering the intellectual firepower she's working with, Havrilesky is remarkably down-to-earth here, relating embarrassing anecdotes from her marriage and past, along with many...
  • Ynna
    Heather Havrilesky's collection of essays explores millennial culture in a way that did not make me roll my eyes. A lot of these essay topics I've seen before, particularly "Delusion at the Gastropub," about foodie culture (such a good title right?) but Havrilesky's take on them was refreshing and insightful. There was a fair amount of criticism and advice, but in a way that was much less condescending than Mark Greif's essay collection Against E...
  • Katelyn
    3.5 stars. Some of these essays are 4-5 stars and some I skipped completely (mostly because I don't watch TV, which features prominently in some).This book of essays is worth dipping into and skipping around in. Wow, Havrilesky makes some powerful points about the speed at which we move and what our culture values. One of my favorites is towards the end when she has a searing condemnation of a bestselling self-help guru. She rips into him for pro...
  • Donna
    The author's book of essays about pop culture and today's society and how we need to get some perspective on what is truly important.As with most books of essays, there were some I liked and some I didn't. The things I took out of it could be summed up as: We don't need so much stuff. We don't need to buy so much stuff, or spend our lives trying to make the money to get so much stuff. Digital clutter focuses on stuff, and showing you things that ...
  • Timothy Haggerty
    Well worth the read.I saw the title and I was sure I had to read it. I had been thinking about the same thing for a few days. I always wonder what it's all about. There are some very good insights and criticism at social media, TV and direction of our culture that rang true to this reader.
  • Ellen
    The anti-self-help book for the misanthropic nerd. I have been reading the advice column Ask Polly for years and would therefore pay money for anything that Heather writes, but this exceeded all expectations.
  • Emily
    Timely thoughts on how to live well and purposefully at this particular moment.
  • Savannah Wooten
    The book we need - always.
  • Michael Smith
    This book of essays is very ‘right now,’ tackling topics so definitive of the modern American experience. Definitely worth the read.
  • Jt O'Neill
    I liked this collection of essays. Heather Havrilesky is a sharp writer who can tie together various facets of pop culture. I think she is spot on with her criticism of the consumer society and cultural fascination with all things technology. She makes a good case for questioning much of the message that comes through the media and is a master at exploring that message via current TV/movie trends. My favorite essays were the ones that featured a ...
  • Mel
    I was prepared to love this book as much as I love Heather Havrilesky's advice columns and related writing, and I think that's my problem because this is about very different subjects. Her overall project is the same, but these essays - especially the first half - focus on consumerism and luxury/best-self/status-seeking self improvement and personal brand culture, topics that I feel very disconnected from. The implied audience, or at least subjec...
  • T
    3.5/5 starsI had mixed feelings on nearly every one of these essays. I appreciate what Havrilesky explores in these essays -- the manufactured happiness of Disneyland, the role of gurus like Tim Ferris, what social media and ideas of success are doing to our culture -- and her main ideas on consumerism and capitalism and the cult of positivity really resonate with me. But each of the essays starts out with pop culture criticism and kind of meande...
  • Maggie
    I was drawn to this because of the title and because I occasionally read Ask Polly columns. I think the theme of this collection of essays is really interesting and worthwhile, but I'm not sure if the individual essays really struck that chord with me. There were a lot of passages I highlighted that really captured how I feel about life and the world, but there were also a lot of references to TV shows that I felt took me out of the pieces. Maybe...
  • Victoria Wood
    Full Overview, Review and Commentary over on my blog - https://girlwithnoselfie.com/what-if-...WHAT IF THIS WERE ENOUGH? by Heather Havrilesky is an extremely thought provoking collection of essays. This book made me question what happiness really is…especially in today’s world. There were a few essays I loved. One that stuck and I was talking to a friend about just recently was entitled “the happiest place on earth”.This collection tackl...
  • Alison
    If there was a 1.5 rating I would have used it for this. The writing is fine, there are some passages that resonated with me, but mostly I found this to be sour, dour, and filled with straw-man arguments that I wished were supported by something other than the writer's own perceptions. I realize it's an essay collection and therefore all about the writer's own perceptions/ not required to be footnoted or backed up by research, so maybe I'm in the...