Book Review & Interview: The Book of Awesome, Neil Pasricha

If you’re not familiar with the website, check it out.  It’s fun, light and can definitely lift your mood.  Due to the overwhelming popularity of the website, founder Neil Pasricha recently published a book based on the site called The Book of Awesome.  I received a copy and read it immediately.  What a quick, fun read that put a smile on my face!

Neil was kind enough to answer a few questions about how the site started and a bit about the book.

How did you come up with the idea for 1000 Awesome Things?

Well, honestly Stacey, the news was getting so heavy out there.

Pull open a newspaper and it always seems like ice caps are melting, unemployment rates are shooting sky-high, natural disasters are claiming lives, and there’s a lot of war and unrest around the world.

The Book of Awesome is an escape from all that news. It’s a place where terrorist threats and global warming are replaced with the joy of finding money in your coat pocket, waking up and realizing it’s Saturday, and snow days.

How do you come up with the Awesome Things?

Well, frankly, they’re not really ideas at all! If anything, I’m a bit like a court stenographer. Because I mean, you don’t need me or anybody else to tell you that popping bubble wrap, stabbing a fresh jar of peanut butter, or fixing electronics by smacking them is awesome. They just are!

Really, the only difference between me and anybody else is that I’m writing them down every day. But I honestly believe these are things we’re all thinking… these are things we’re all saying YES! to in our heads every day.

What are the criteria for something to qualify as an Awesome Thing?

Awesome things are simple, tiny, free and easy daily experiences we all love. They’re sometimes touching, sometimes funny, but they should ring true and be pretty universal. I mean, who doesn’t love it when you get called up to the dinner buffet first at a wedding? Who doesn’t love it when the cashier opens up a new lane at the grocery store?

Do you think there’s a deeper meaning to these Awesome Things?

Well, I’ve honestly been so touched by the letters and emails I’ve received. I’ve shared on my site my personal struggles… getting left behind in a breakup and having my best friend take his own life. But people have reached back and told me stories about their own struggles with depression, troubled family situations, or terminal diseases.

Just like me, many have said that awesome things help them remember the little moments and live for the day. Honestly, sometimes I feel like there’s a bit of an Awesome Movement bubbling below the surface just waiting to strike out. Maybe we’re all itching to share a big high five with humanity and celebrate the little things.

Neil, what are some of your favorite awesome things?

Ooo, that’s tough. They change all the time but right now these five:

1. Waking up before your alarm clock and realizing you’ve got lots of sleep time left
2. The first shower you take after not showering for a really long time
3. The smell of gasoline
4. Old, dangerous playground equipment
5. The last day of school

From Stacey: My favorite things included laughing so hard you don’t make a sound and peeling off your wet bathing suit and putting on warm clothes after swimming for a long time. They both take me back to the days of hanging by the pool at my grandparents house, playing with my cousins.

Thanks, Neil for sharing a bit more about the book and the blog.  This book is definitely a part of feel-good living and if you find you need a lift, visit the 1000 Awesome Things site!

More about Neil

In Spring, 2008, office worker Neil Pasricha created the blog 1000 Awesome Things, a daily chronicle of all things good. After very humble beginnings the blog started getting hundreds and then thousands and then tens of thousands of hits daily and was named one of PC Magazine’s Top 100 Sites and won two Webby Awards for Best Blog. 1000 Awesome Things sheds light on day-to-day things in life, celebrating everything from #981 Wearing underwear from just out of the dryer to #858 The other side of the pillow to #773 Watching your odometer click over a major milestone. In a few weeks Pasricha will take 1000 Awesome Things to the next step when he turns the award-winning blog into THE BOOK OF AWESOME, a 400-page hardcover published by AEB/Putnam, a division of Penguin Publishing.

To learn more about the book and what Neil identifies as “awesome” visit his site

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  • Evita

    I have got this book too and so look forward to reading it, especially that based on yours and other similar reviews it sounds so good, upbeat and positive.

    It is great as Neil says to have something lighter and more fun in life, as yes the news can be very heavy. (Hint: avoid the news if you want to be happy :)

  • Lance

    Hey Stacey,
    I love the 1000 Awesome Things website! It’s fun to go there – and see something listed…and be reminded of how awesome that little thing is!

    Me? I love it when I get in the car, turn on the radio – and it’s a song I absolutely love! When this happens, and I’m in a “less than chipper” mood…even more awesome!! And – it brightens the day every time!


  • Tess The Bold Life

    Hi Stacey,
    I am doing a book review as well and to me it’s also a book of gratitude! I just opened a new jar of peanut butter today and thought about that one joyful moment in time and how many go unnoticed. I can also relate to each one of your favorite things…cousins, swimsuits and gasoline.

  • Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord

    I’m so glad you reviewed this book and interviewed Neil – thank you, Stacey! I’m excited to read his book, and when I visited his blog a month ago, LOVED what it was all about. It’s feel good living, in my opinion!

    I also really liked your two “awesome” things. I had a laughing experience like that a month ago, and when I recall it, it gets me laughing all over again!

  • Stacey Shipman

    Evita – It was a fast, fun “feel good” read! Enjoy it.

    Lance – Yes, it is a “bright” site! Definitely a good place to go if you “need a lift!”

    Tess – I resonated with so many that made me smile and think fondly of the past!

    Megan – Isn’t it the best to laugh that hard!?! Yes, it is “feel-good living!”

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