(At Least) Three Reasons To Read Amy Poehler's Yes Please

amy poehler yes please book review
"Saying 'yes' doesn't mean that I don't know how to say no, and saying 'please' doesn't mean I am waiting for permission. 'Yes Please' sounds powerful and concise. It's a response and a request."

"Yes Please" was most probably one of the popular gifts of the holiday season. It was one of the books that every store claimed you needed to buy for that "young reader" in your life, and they weren't wrong. It's colourful (literally and figuratively speaking), and has EVERYTHING in it. I'm talking a haiku about plastic surgery, a list of potential divorce books, a satiric birth plan, and a letter from Hillary Clinton just to name a few.

If my girl crush on Amy Poehler wasn't existent before, it's enormous now. I finished her book in one sitting and started watching Parks and Recreation that same night. Throughout this post I'm just going to refer to her as "Amy". This is not because I think I should be on a first-name basis with her, but because calling her "Poehler" makes me sound like a book critic, and I don't think that's something I have the experience, or the degree, to be.

Although she's gotten a lot of flack for rambling on in the preface about how difficult it is to write a book, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's humanizing. For the majority of us out there reading this book, there's nothing relatable about someone being able to sit down and write  an entire book about their life in a day. I liked knowing that writing this book was a process, especially when I'm enjoying the end result.

I've always known that Amy Poehler was funny, but this book just shows how smart, and appreciative she is of all the crazy that life offers. There's something to be said about someone who can make you laugh, cry, and worry before whipping out a blatant life hack (a.k.a. suggestion, lesson, whatever floats your boat). Anyways, here we go with my top three reasons to read "Yes Please".

amy poehler yes please book review

"Yes Please" is eccentric and choppy, but this makes it all the more relatable. It's full of famous names (but not in an annoying name-dropping way), highly emotional, and somehow manages to give you a sense of relief about where you are in life, while also inspiring you to move forward. Basically this book is like a bible for people my age who are in that awkward phase where they're just realizing that they're actually adults. This book is something I will need to reread a few more times in my 20s, and probably again later on in life.

"So here we go, you and me. Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it is not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready."

amy poehler yes please book review

amy poehler yes please book review

The Honesty

Amy doesn't share things like details on her marriage with Will Arnett, but she still goes above and beyond. She touches on every subject from drug use ("Obligatory Drug Stores, or Lessons I Learned on Mushrooms") to feminism ("Every Mother Needs A Wife"). She criticizes others but also points out all of her own mistakes. It's all so real, and unglamorous even though it comes from one of the most successful comedians in Hollywood. 

"I like hard work and I don't like pretending things are perfect."

This book is entirely worth reading just to read about how hard she has worked to get to where she is. Nowadays so many important women talk about their careers as if they are something that anyone can achieve, anywhere, simply by getting off their couch and deciding to go for it. Amy shares anecdotes of how she wanted to be a performer from an early age, but the realness of her continuous struggle to get to where she is today is so refreshing. She gives credit where it is due and appreciates her good luck, but she refuses to accept the idea of overnight success.

amy poehler yes please book review

amy poehler yes please book review

The People

I am somewhat biased about the guest appearances that appear in Amy's book. I have loved SNL for years; "Weekend Update" is my first love, and Seth Meyers is one of my favourite humans. His chapter and the stories of the inevitability of their friendship would be enough to make me buy this book.

This autobiography is unique in so many ways. For starters it resembles a memoir, but also acts as a self-help book. It's full of poems, lists, letters, and other scrapbook-like materials, but reads like an easy teen fiction novel. However, its uniqueness truly lies in the fact that even though its Amy's autobiography, the majority of her stories are about the communities, achievements, and projects in which she was just one participant. Aside from Seth, Amy's parents and Michael Schur write a few pages, and she shares her experiences with everyone from Tina Fey and Justin Timberlake, to George Clooney and Rashida Jones. It's cool how she somehow maintains focus in the book without keeping the spotlight on her the entire time.

amy poehler yes please book review

amy poehler yes please book review

The Nuggets of Wisdom

You have probably noticed the massive colourful images of some of these nuggets of wisdom throughout this post already. If you haven't, just scroll up. This woman has been through a lot that I have never, and most likely will never, go through. Nonetheless, she somehow spins every crazy, personal anecdote into a general life lesson that is relevant to all. Obviously some are cheesy, I mean what good is a life lesson that isn't, but for some reason when Amy Poehler drops one at the end of a chapter they feel more significant.

Demons: "...even demons have to sleep."

Her first important life lesson is that everyone has a demon. At some point in all of our lives, no matter how long it can be postponed, a personal demon shows up, which taunts us, flaunts our insecurities, and makes us feel small. Essentially, Amy is talking about the voice inside your head that appears in your teens and points out any, and every, flaw under the sun. Her point is that everyone has this demon, and although it's impossible to get rid of completely, it gets easier to ignore as you get older.

Compete With Yourself, Not Others: "When we are together I feel strong and powerful... We don't compete against each other, we compete against ourselves."
I love this. It's self-asserting while also celebrating/appreciating difference. Amy says not to make friends with people who constantly feel the need to beat you down or one-up you. We should instead be friends with people who want to improve with us, and who reciprocates the pride we feel for them. When talking about her approach to being a mother she uses the phrase "good for you, not for me" which is one of the many quotes from this book I wanted tattooed on my forehead. It's true that just because someone does something one way, doesn't mean you have to listen carefully and follow suit. There's nothing wrong with you if someone's method or logic doesn't work for you.

amy poehler yes please book review

I hope something in this lengthy post has inspired you to read this book. Go buy it, or steal if from a friend. I guarantee that someone you know got it for Christmas.

It's a funny one, but it's also a damn good one.

"This is the honest way I want to live and love and write. Except when it comes to celebrities without makeup. I want my celebrities to look beautiful. I don't need to see them pumping gas."


  1. Fantastic review! I've seen loads of people with this book and never have I sat and read a review til now, I don't really know much about her so it hadn't interested me before but reading this post it sounds like something I should read for also being in my early 20s and figuring out my next move etc. I can relate to a lot of what you have wrote about the book so maybe it will be influential on me too :D thanks for sharing!


  2. I've been eyeing this book for a while now. I might have to just go and buy it!

    By the way, I love the header of your blog.


  3. I wanted to much to love this book and to be able to recommend it to nearly everyone I meet, but Yes Please is quite scatterbrained at times, although still a pleasant read. As Poehler herself mentions numerous times, she had to essentially force herself to finish writing this book. Without the direction or drive, the result is a bit jumbled. A chapter will begin with Amy as a child acting in a play on stage, jump over to childbirth, to SNL, then back to her childhood. An autobiography does not necessarily have to be chronological (see "Choose Your Own Autobiography), but it can be a challenge to follow the direction of the book. As a die hard Parks and Rec fan, the later chapters in which Amy details just how great the set and actors are are a standout, especially a chapter complete with annotations by Mike Schur, fellow SNL writer, 3HoursEssay writer, Office writer, Parks and Rec creator, and the portrayer of Mose on The Office. Amy's big heart comes through, especially in her anecdotes about her two sons. With a tad more focus, this book could have been slightly stronger. Still, a must read for any Amy Poehler fan.

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