Things I Learned from Amy Poehler’s Yes Please

Things I Learned from Amy Poehler's Yes Please

I would call myself somewhat of an Amy Poehler fan, though I knew next to nothing about her participation in the Upright Citizens Brigade (both the sketch group and theatre), her recurring roles on Saturday Night Live, or her work with Smart Girls at the Party before reading her memoir Yes Please. I was, however, familiar with her work on Parks and Rec prior to reading the book and have always admired how she seems to really care about promoting other women’s work, especially when it comes to up-and-coming comedy groups (Broad City, anyone?). So to say I had high hopes for Yes Please is a slight understatement, but I am thrilled to tell you that I was not disappointed.

On Monday, I mentioned a new feature I was working on for my blog. Well, I’m excited to say: this is it! I was inspired by the many things I learned from Yes Please and so I thought I would pull my favourite lessons from it to share with you all. Without further ado…

1. Decide what your currency is early. Let go of what you will never have. People who do this are happier and sexier. (p 21)

One thing I love about Amy is that she is not known for being conventionally beautiful. Instead, she’s loved for her sense of humour, her contributions to the improv world, and her writing. That is her currency. I find it so inspiring that there’s such a strong voice encouraging woman (and anyone, for that matter) that looks aren’t the only important thing. You can also be smart, hardworking, and funny. What’s my currency? I haven’t quite landed on it, but thanks to Amy, I feel like I’m closer to figuring it out.

2. Treat your career like a bad boyfriend. (p 217)

In this section of the book, Amy goes against the grain a bit. Instead of pushing the idea that “as long as you really want it, you can get it!”, she advocates “practic[ing] ambivalence.” She writes, “…your career is a bad boyfriend. It likes when you don’t depend on it. It will reward you every time you don’t act needy. It will chase you if you act like other things (passion, friendship, family, longevity) are more important to you” (p 225).

As someone who is just entering the “looking for a career” stage in my life, this is very interesting to me. I have always really wanted things. I wonder how things would change if I switched up my thinking a bit.

3. You can travel back and forth by living in the moment and paying attention. (p 280)

This was a more abstract chapter, but the stories Amy shares when explaining what she means when she says time travel is real convinced me that she’s right. Perhaps it’s not real in the physical sense, but emotionally, yes. This chapter taught me to live in the moment and pay attention to every small detail, whether they’re happy or not. Remembering the little things gives us our time travel wings – and once you get there, it’ll be magical. (In fact, writing this blog post and re-reading parts of the book has brought me back to this past Christmas, when I was snuggled in bed reading those words for the first time, feeling absolutely content and peaceful. Time travel is real. It really is.)

Yes Please was more than just a celebrity memoir for me. Yes, I found out more about Amy Poehler’s history and rise to fame, but I also learned valuable lessons that have inspired me in many ways. The points I shared here are just small samplers of the wisdom Amy imparts. I hope it moves you to give this book a chance so you can laugh and learn from it like I did.

Are you a fan of Amy Poehler? Have you read Yes Please? Did you learn anything new today (bookish or otherwise)?

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21 thoughts on “Things I Learned from Amy Poehler’s Yes Please

  1. Naomi says:

    I love that first one! On a small scale (a very small scale), I have long ago accepted that I will never have an immaculately clean house like some people (how do they do it?). I feel happier knowing that I can read instead of clean. 🙂

  2. Carolyn Quimby says:

    Yes Please may have been one of the best books I read in 2014. I loved the blend of advice, self-help, humor, and memoir–it was just perfect! You may have inspired me to do a write up of my own experience reading it 😀 Great post!

  3. monikalovelybookshelf says:

    This is such a neat post, and what great advice! I think your currency (part of it, at least) is how kind and genuine you are. You have this warmth about you that just draws others in. 🙂

  4. DoingDewey says:

    I’m not much into celebrity culture, so this memoir sounds like the sort of thing I look for if I’m going to pick up a celebrity memoir. It’s nice to have the memoir be a bit more thoughtful and not just the details of their individual career. Definitely keeping this on my to-read pile 🙂

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