To Be Honest: I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag

Welcome to To Be Honest, HBT where I use my favorite quotes from a recent book I’ve read, categorize them, and explain my thoughts on the book as a whole. I tend to find meaning in everything, but I don’t really force it. Most “reviews” are spoiler free and provide a warning prior to a spoiler-filled section.

To Be Honest HBT Book Review I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag

This week I’m discussing I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert.

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#truth: as this is a memoir some life lessons are dished out. Gilbert is very honest and it’s pleasant to get to know her through this book.

4 “Obsessing over every tiny detail of other people’s most important events was what I did best. It was the perfect way to avoid thinking about the dark, scary void inside me.”
-Oof this reminds of something my internet big brother Chris Hardwick talks about often; whether being a workaholic is just an attempt to run away from your life.

58 “I’d get a lot more by being nice than I ever would have gotten by screaming his ear off or making threats. Sometimes, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
-Dumbledore: Right v. Easy

“Never “at least” someone else’s pain away. Let them have it, feel it, and then try to alleviate it.”
-I do this often because my parents do this to us (their children), but I’m working on not doing it anymore.

97 Nothing could be taken for granted, because the second I got comfortable it could all come crashing down.
-Not so much a truth as an “I get that.”

111 At one time, I’d believed that standing on the sidelines of other people’s events was all I could expect from life.
-This is just painful. Yet I understand it because sometimes as long as you are involved in something great even if it does not affect you directly you feel that vicarious

162 and 177
-Here I realized that Gilbert is self-aware. That, IMO, is the most admirable trait in a human being. She also talks about how important it is to be nice and to be actively and genuinely nice at that.

Learned Something

9 “The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.”  William James
-This is one of those platitudes like Eleanor Roosevelt’s “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Both are true, but certainly very difficult. It is so much easier to pity ourselves or engage in the bad types of behaviors or opinions of ourselves and our lives. Self-awareness comes into play here.

14 My dad felt very strongly that serving hungry people was an essential lesson if you wanted to be a success at anything in business
-This is a great point. Supply and demand is right in front of you as is the opportunity for customer service.

53 “Connections are sometimes as good as service.”
-Never underestimate a good connection.

Event Planning Tips:  Gilbert is an event planner, as the title of the book implies, she does provide a few tips she’s learned here and there and they are worth noting.

-Here Gilbert shares her realization that venues should be paying event planners because they get their name out and make them popular. She ended up becoming very successful once she realized this trick.

120 Over the last few years I’ve conducted my own secret war against goodie bags. I’ve gently pointed my clients away from the pens and the lip gloss. If they really feel they must give something, then I’ll encourage them at least to make it fun and edible…
-Perfect. I once worked on ONE event (it was a short internship), but gifts were all the rage and even though they were flimsy cheap items the very rich guests were adamant on making sure they got them. It’s sad. I applaud Gilbert and support her in this war haha.

165 Outsource everything but your soul- identify the soul of your business- which most of the time is the thing that makes you supremely happy and hire everyone else to do the rest.
-Good advice, but really only for those in superior positions with some authority to make those changes.

Grrr: This is a new category to my segment. I really relate to Gilbert’s personality. I cannot stand her friend here even if I pity the friend.
88 “You expect too much from people”
-Gilbert hears this from the friend who heard her and saw her get attacked, but was too afraid to do anything about it at the time. While it is still a valid response as some people aren’t as brave as others, her friend was a jerk the years afterwards. I wonder if this comment has any merit at all because we should really expect the best of people and everyone should strive to be the best they can be. Maybe I’m naive, but I try to be the best I can be and live up to the best expectations of others.

Homework: Sometimes words, terms, or names are thrown out in a book that I do not know, so I jot them down and look them up later.

33 Dr. Laura Berman
-I knew I recognized that name from somewhere. She was the sex expert on Oprah and I think Tyra too.

114 MIT Birthing of Giants
– This class is part of MIT’s Entrepreneurial Master’s Program. Sounds intense and exclusive. Go Gilbert!

Final Thoughts:

First of all, do NOT read this on the train. Those first few chapters are brutal when she describes the attack and the aftermath of it. What a strong woman to get through what she did and find peace, in some way, and happiness. While the attack is a very prominent feature of the memoir it does not cast a dark cloud over the tone. Gilbert is upbeat, matter of fact, and just a delight to get to know. To be honest, I wish I was her friend.

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