‘Other People are not Medicine’ and Other Things I Learned from ‘Yes Please’

I love to read. “Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card” is basically my life motto. Over spring break, instead of doing productive things like work on my city issues story for my news writing class or catch up on The Aeneid for my classical Rome class, I devoured Amy Poehler’s book, “Yes Please.” All women should read “Yes Please.” All humans should read “Yes Please.” This is what I learned from “Yes Please.”

1. Other people are not medicine.

The pages of “Yes Please” are filled with words of Amy Poehler wisdom. The book is divided into three sections — “Say whatever you want,” “Do whatever you like,” and “Be whoever you are.” Chapters are also sometimes divided by two-page spreads of big bolded words. “Other people are not medicine.” “Everybody is scared most of the time.” “Symmetry is pleasing but not as sexy. Einstein is cool but Picasso knows what I’m talking about.” As soon as I get back to my apartment, I’m writing these on sticky notes and posting them all over my room. I’m serious.

For more specific examples of the wise words of Amy Poehler, read this.

2. New York is wonderful but also seems terrifying. And sometimes you will live under meth heads and mice will crawl up your apartment’s stove.

3. Be nice to people. But also be strict when you need to be.

I am very much a people-pleaser. And a pushover. If you ask me to do something, even if it inconveniences me greatly and you are perfectly capable of doing it on your own or getting by without it even being done in the first place, there is a good chance I will still do that thing. I need to be more like Amy Poehler and firmly say “No!” It’s not being mean (I mean, Amy Poehler seems like the nicest person in the world and if she can do it then I can, too).

Ex. No! I will not use my printer to print this nine-page, bolded-font packet for you. Ink is expensive, fool. You have a print quota on campus. Use it. Geez.

4. Love your friends

5. Treat your career like a bad boyfriend

“You have to care about your work but not about the result. You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look.”

“Remember, your career is a bad boyfriend. It likes it when you don’t depend on it. It will reward you every time you don’t act needy. It will chase you if you act like other things (passion, friendship, family, longevity) are more important to you. If your career is a bad boyfriend, it is healthy to remember you can always leave and go sleep with somebody else.”

6. Time travel is real. (Read the book, the woman has proof).

yes please