Life in general and other adventures

Review: Yes Man by Danny Wallace

Yes Man is a humorous autobiography by Danny Wallace. It is more popularly known, I think, as a movie starring Jim Carey. I read this from May 06 to 29, 2014, during my commute to and from work. After writing my review below, I also included a little something about the author.

Yes Man book cover

Yes Man

by Danny Wallace

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Recently single, Danny Wallace was falling into loneliness and isolation. When a stranger on a bus advises, “Say yes more,” Wallace vows to say yes to every offer, invitation, challenge, and chance.

In Yes Man, Wallace recounts his months-long commitment to complete openness with profound insight and humbling honesty. Saying yes takes Wallace into a new plane of existence: a place where money comes as easily as it goes, nodding a lot can lead to a long weekend overseas with new friends, and romance isn’t as complicated as it seems. Yes eventually leads to the biggest question of all: “Do you, Danny Wallace, take this woman . . .”

Yes Man is inspiring proof that a little willingness can take anyone to the most wonderful of places.

I grabbed my copy of Yes Man from the warehouse sale last March, mostly because I remember the movie, which it was based on, was hilarious, and after reading The Fault In Our Stars, I wanted to read something light and funny that will take my mind off Augustus and Hazel Grace. I was not disappointed. Each chapter had me smiling to myself or laughing my ass off, and mind you, the uncontrollable laughing usually happens when I’m in a bus full of people.

A guy blindly saying “YES” to everything, what could go wrong? I enjoyed reading about Danny’s journey to a more positive outlook on life. Although it did him some harm, the good things that happened to him outweighed the bad ones. He went to places he normally wouldn’t have gone to in the first place, he met strange people and people who inspired him more. It was an enlightening journey, and Danny realized a lot of things in life that wouldn’t normally cross your mind if all you do in life is go to work and go home afterward.

Before a life of “YES”, Danny said “NO” to everything. He would always find excuses, make up important seeming plans, just so he wouldn’t get out of the house. After an encounter with a man on the bus who told him to “say yes more”, he had an epiphany and tried saying yes more for one whole day. After a successful day, he decided to continue it for the rest of the week. When he almost won in the lottery, he made a pact to do it for one whole year. In that year, he won some, he lost some, he got arrested, got drugged, got lost, his career took off, and eventually he realized that though saying yes all the time wasn’t all good, it wasn’t bad to be more positive either. Anything that would turn out beneficial are worth your yeses.

My mom would always say that I am a pessimist, but I believe I am more like the Paramore song title “For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic”. I’m pretty optimistic about most things, it’s just that I’m skeptic too, which makes me look pessimist. Reading this book has opened my mind to possibilities if I make it a habit to say yes to things that would be of benefit to my well being.

I recommend this book to everyone because it is a hilarious read and it would definitely change your outlook in mind. Please, if you decide to skip the reading and watch the movie instead, don’t. The book is worth giving attention. I definitely would read another Danny Wallace book. 😀

“Probably some of the best things that have ever happened to you in life,
happened because you said yes to something. Otherwise things just sort of stay the same.”

About the Author

Daniel Frederick Wallace is a British filmmaker, comedian, writer, actor, and presenter of radio and television. His notable works include the books Join Me, Yes Man, and the TV series How to Start Your Own Country. As an author, Wallace’s bestselling books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

He began writing reviews for video game magazines at the age of 13 for school work experience: a reviewer had become ill and so Wallace was given the opportunity to review a game. At 18 he started writing comedy, mainly through the magazine Comedy Review. He specialized in radio production at the University of Westminster.

At 22, he became a BBC producer. He was part of the production team behind British Comedy Award-winning Dead Ringers, the original producer of the critically acclaimed cult hit The Mighty Boosh, and the creator and producer of Ross Noble Goes Global. As a journalist, Wallace has worked for The Scotsman, The Guardian, The Independent, Elle, Cosmo, The Times and other publications.

In 1999, Wallace challenged comedian Dave Gorman, who at the time was his flatmate, to find 54 other people called Dave Gorman (“one for every card in the deck, including the Jokers”). Wallace accompanied Gorman on his quest and the men created Are You Dave Gorman?, an award-winning comedy stage show about what happened during their journey. A BBC series, also co-written and co-produced by Wallace, followed, as did a book, written by both men.

In 2003, Wallace’s book Join Me was published. The book explains how he “accidentally started a ‘cult'” called Join Me. The movement would go global, with each member committing to undertaking one random act of kindness for a stranger every Friday (“Good Fridays”). Tens of thousands joined. Join Me celebrates “Karmageddon 10” in December 2011. Traditionally, hundreds of members travel to London for the meet-up and undertake good deeds for strangers, with Wallace present. The movement is now generally referred to as the “Karma Army”, although members are still typically “Joinees”. He became a minor celebrity in Belgium whilst on his quest for Joinees. While on a book tour through America, Wallace was dubbed a “Generation X legend” by the Wisconsin State Journal.

Wallace next wrote a short book called Random Acts of Kindness: 365 Ways To Make the World A Better Place, with the help of submissions from Joinees. It includes many humorous Random Acts of Kindness (RAoK) ideas, such as “Contradict Demeaning Graffiti”, and “Make An Old Man Very Happy.”

Wallace’s second solo book, Yes Man was published in July 2005. In it, he describes how he spent six months “saying Yes where once I would have said No”, to make his life more interesting and positive. In this book he shows the tribulations and mischief that he got up to while he said yes to any question or proposal. The book was described as “one of those rare books that actually has the potential to change your life” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian and as “a fascinating book and a fascinating experiment” by David Letterman. A film adaptation of Yes Man was developed with Warner Bros. and stars Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel. It was released in 2008 in the US and the UK. Wallace appeared on screen in a cameo in a bar scene in the last ten minutes of the film, holding a British pint glass.

Danny Wallace and the Centre of the Universe was published in 2006. It is linked with World Book Day which in 2006 was on Thursday 2 March. It tells the story of Wallace’s trip to Idaho, to visit a manhole cover in a small town, whose residents have proclaimed it the centre of the universe. The cover identifies it as a “Quick Read”; the price and length of the book have been curbed in order to encourage people who may not often read books to purchase it.

Wallace’s book, Friends Like These, was released on the 3 July 2008, and tells the story of how he spent a summer trying to track down his old school friends from his days in Dundee.

Visit his website/blog.

Yes Man



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