Geek Book Review: Everything is Figureoutable by Maria Forleo

Note: This review is part of a book club I'm doing with a few friends (sup Joe and Dave). Some of the discussion is based on output from our online chats on the topic.

Everything is Figureoutable is a self-help book and brand by Maria Forleo. The author appears to have a strong reputation and following for various entertainment pursuits (YouTube? TV show?).

The author points to her mother as instilling her life mantra that she can do whatever she puts her mind to. She built this into a life coaching business, reconciled her own passions into a personal brand (appreciating that it didn't fit a typical career mold), and built an ecosystem around some related life goal setting tactics and formulas.

The author is clear about the book being part of a life coaching process, and to get the full experience she recommends participating in her exercises and online community. I listened to the Audible book for this one, and I didn't do any of the exercises.

I don't think the content of the book revealed much new information. It seemed to be tuned for people who are struggling to find themselves. Since I'm not in that place, and I have been working with a life coach in real life, the idea that I can set and attain goals wasn't a gap I was looking to fill.

Nevertheless, there are a few important points which resonated with me:

  • I can take back some time in my life, and should consider how I might spend that
  • My contributions are important, even if it's been done before (the idea that the world needs me)
  • Start before you're ready
  • Make something - progress over perfection

It raised a number of questions:

  • Is specialization bad?

We discussed that there must be some limits to what we want to figure out. It can't possibly be a bad thing to dig into a few topic areas and get good at them. Since time is the limiting factor, choosing how to spend time is important. However, some basic stretching of things you're willing or able to do is a useful approach sometimes. Having confidence in your abilities to come out of comfort zone tasks and do things to save money or time has merit.

  • Is the author credible and does her life experience resonate with my own?

Our book club talked about fame and whether this gave the author credibility. We didn't think so. It was somewhat thinly veiled that her writing and selling this book is to promote her own brand and way of thinking. I thought she took her mom's approach and made it too regimented and workshoppy - there wasn't much there to begin with I think. Her mom was a badass and that's fine, and she took it too far.

  • Figuring everything out on own seemed necessary in past (i.e. with author's mom) - is it less needed in this connected age?

I think it's not needed anymore in a well-to-do context in which we each (in our book club) live.

  • Even if everything can be figured out, how does one decide what to work on?

We ran out of time fleshing this one out, I guess we'll have to figure that out another time. :)