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I can't live without a good book to take to bed with a glass of wine each night after work to un-wind in double-swift time. Lately, with many books in storage after various moves and life changes, I have been revisiting the odd tome or pinching new ones from Mr Rarr's collection. One walk down memory lane that I embarked upon recently was Yes Man by Danny Wallace.
And its really rather damn good. Here's why.
No, not a boring life account of a jobsworth suit-wearer, but something entirely different. Meet Danny Wallace, real-life being and honest writer. Previously associated with fellow Boy Project comedian and writer Dave Gorman - he who famously travelled the world trying to find other Dave Gormans - Danny Wallace is a real bloke with a real career and this is a real account of a period of his life which is arguably both touching, daft, dark, ridiculous and heartwarming all at once - as well as being a slightly cautionary tale for many.
It also inspired a film which has Jim Carrey in it. This is, to me, always slightly suspect, but its not the book's fault. Well, I suppose it is really. But I haven't seen it.
Anyway. On with things.
Danny Wallace thinks he's one of London's "thrusting young urbanites" despite relatively recently having broken up with his girlfriend and working just freelance as a radio producer.
In reality he's a sad sod who is not as good as making up excuses as he thinks he is. He's taken to staying in...drinking tea...watching soaps and sitting around in his pants a lot. His London pals ask him out time and time again and somehow he has always managed to find a way of excusing himself. Pub jaunts. Stag nights. Dinner parties. BBQs, cinema trips, holidays, museum visits...you name it, he's deftly evaded it.
But no man - or woman, I assure you - can avoid Public Transport Hell Syndrome. It gets everyone in the end.
In Danny's case it struck in the most dreaded form possible - the replacement bus service. Now, I can attest to you that the only occasion on which I have interacted socially with other commuters which haven't involved a) glaring at the mad woman who just started screaming at the girl sat next to me for no apparent reason or b) a slightly scary and very condescending suit wearer from Bedford insisting on talking to me all the way there, was when someone had the misfortune to go under a train in Surbiton at 10.05 that morning. I finally interacted with someone at approximately 9.15 that night when by chance the elderly couple who had been next to me on an unexpectedly terminated train at Clapham Junction had also ended up sat opposite me on our eventual departure from St Pancras. We smiled, rolled our eyes, and we actually talked. This was amazing. Then - get this! - someone else leaned over. She had a colleague who had seen the original accident which was still throwing most of London into chaos, almost twelve hours later.
Yes it was tragic but my point here is that it takes extreme provocation - and only mass disruption will do it - for commuters to converse. It is sad really, but it is true. Danny Wallace was sat near an Indian, bearded man when his disruption hell hit. They were told to leave the train - eventually - made their way up the stairs, doing that embarrassed "oh god we've made eye contact and the first polite smile has been used, what do I do?!" sort of way...and ended up in the horrific situation that is "finding themselves sat together on the replacement bus service".
But this was to turn out to be an interesting night for Danny Wallace. Because inevitably, at this point, you have to start talking, out of sheer Britishness. You start by slagging off the situation at hand. Then you've conversed, so you have to continue to do so. Desperation strikes. Anything will do! Anything! So eventually you revert to honesty. You'll never see this person again - why not have a polite conversation?
So Danny and The Beard Man chat. It turns out the man is a teacher. They chat about their lives, and Danny finds himself admitting that away from work, he doesn't do much...he's been "staying in" a lot. The teacher says something that Danny doesn't realise is about to enhance, confuse, wreck and possibly mend his life in the ensuing months.
"Say yes more."
Danny is told that the people who enjoy life are the people who say yes to it - that the people who miss it as its passes by are the ones who hide away and say no. And Danny sees this in himself. He starts to think about the parties and stag nights and holidays and friends he has missed, lost or never made. Then he starts going to the pub with his friend Ian and tells him about this chance encounter and how he has decided to let it change him. He will take the teacher's advice.
He will say yes.
***ARE YOU REALLY SURE ABOUT THIS?***
Of course, this is a friend of a man who pursued other people around the world just because they had the same name. Boy Projects were one of the clauses under which his ex-girlfriend removed herself from their relationship - you don't expect Danny to do this by halves, do you?
Initially it is yes to any invitation, offer or suggestion. And of course this causes chaos. Then eventually some sort of human common sense has to be applied before debt, insanity or ill health finish him off. But, with his supportive friend Ian - he of the one who struck a bet he can't make it last to the end of the year and who relishes the idea of being the one to "punish" him when he fails - Danny tries to go the course and see how his life changes.
(See what I did there?)
By heck, does it. There's travel, interesting offers, money won and lost, love, understanding, the seeking of answers, new friends, old friends, and....a strange challenge he never saw coming. Throw in awkward situations, more awkward situations, a couple of awkward situations and a totally unexpected weekend in Singapore, and you have a fast-paced, totally daft but really very touching book about someone taking a very extreme way of changing their life before it becomes too late.
It has been so long since I read this that going through it again I was genuinely laughing out loud and surprised at what I had forgotten. Wallace has a great writing style and whilst I don't doubt that some things and conversations are at least altered if not fabricated, his comic style particularly of the pub banter between him on his mad mission and his still relatively-sane friends are genuinely hilarious.
But this is a true tome - there is photographic evidence to prove it. And I can empathise with Wallace for how he got in this state - I've done it before, finding myself always extricating myself from the sheer hell that is being a social human or just missing out on opportunities. But I am by far not the worst I know - I can think of one person from my past in question who seemed allergic to the word yes, and was a frustrated, and frustrating individual and at this stage probably always will be. Like a social and emotional brick wall, but still dogged in sticking to their opinions of your actions. Not a good way to live.
I am not saying we should all jack in our jobs and say yes to everything and die in debt and oblivion, and nor is Danny Wallace. And you could just take this book as a really fun read about someone being daft so you don't have to, or indeed just so you can have a good old laugh at someone being a complete berk. You can probably spot a bit of someone you know in the writer though, if not yourself. And if it is you, I must admit that, humorous and stupid escapades aside, there were moments throughout - rebuilding friendships for example - and particularly towards the end when the strength of those friendships, and new ones, along with all the negativity and difficulty that comes along with the "quest", that are truly touching. Yes there is the stupidity of the way that the writer went about his cause - but equally there is a wealth of situations in which his new attitude lead to great opportunities and happiness he would never have known otherwise.
I'm not telling you to take this book and live by it - read it because its damn well funny and written by someone who seems to be a blimmin' nice bloke - but I did finish it feeling both enthralled and touched by the story, and encouraged to take on a more open mind myself. I doubt my ensuing tale will be anywhere near as hilarious, and I am glad I never chose to read this on the train, as it often had me in burst-out-laughing moments crafted through the combination of situation and dead-pan writing style. All the characters are fairly sparsely furnished, although you can't blame the writer for this as they are effectively bit-part players in what is his personal project - but they don't lack for it, their role is played out and conveyed well and believably.
A hilarious, charming and ever-so-honestly inspiring daft book on why we should all be more open to "yes" - the best answer to the cult of self help books I have ever had the fortune to come across and delivered in a perfect humour and self-deprecating honesty. I massively recommend, you'll be hooked.
Paperback on Amazon for £5.99. Also available in other formats.
How many people can admit that they say no more than yes? Whether it be to a social event of just to get away from market researchers. I for one most definitely fall into this category. Danny Wallace shows through out this book how much easier it is to simply decline requests.
I'm not a massive fan of Wallace but his books do intrigue me a little, such is their similarity to Dave Gorman's writing. (I don't know who came first!) It became clear to me that the library wasn't going to stock Yes Man so I braved the Amazon marketplace book section and bought it for a staggering £1.58!
Wallace states himself that his life has become dull, possibly more so since being dumped by a long term girlfriend. Then a chance meeting and a conversation with a man on a bus changes things. A conversation which ends with him being told 3 little words. "Say yes more." And so, as he relates his story to a friend it is understood that Danny has already began to embrace the suggestion..
This is a delightfully funny read, one which is difficult to come across from other famous celeb type authors. I suppose this s because he is sharing stories which are probably quite recent to him writing about it. Making them more real to life if that makes sense. It is clear that there are so many opportunities that we fail to see in day to day life and that saying yes can change things for the better.
Whilst I liked the idea of the book I am doubtful about some of the things which he agrees to do. Call me a cynic if you like. The fact that he travels to Holland after getting an obvious spam email saying he'd won over $20 million doesn't ring true to me. I know that the whole idea of this situation is to say yes more but really? That is a bit too extreme for me to buy into. It does make for an amusing tale though and it does add extra volume to the book.
My opinion of this doesn't mean that I dispute everything. You have photographic evidence of his travels and of the people he meets, making new friends along the way. Some of it is just plain silly such as trying to track down this mysterious man from the bus. By drawing a picture of said persons face from memory and sticking them up in public places like a missing pet! Absurd and silly maybe so but it's fun to read and is especially good for when you want a light hearted read
I can't say it has inspired me to say yes more but I can see how it could for some people. I would recommend this to you and it's well worth my £1.58 although of course you could just get it brand new!
A Life-Changing book.
In his inimitable and hilarious style, Danny Wallace (Author of 'Awkward Situations for Men' and 'Join Me') presents a first-person account of a year of his life in which he said "yes" to every suggestion and question!
I will not spoil the plot for you, but the sequences of 'yes moments' that Danny describes forms an extraordinary-yet-true chain of events which catapult him from his mundane Joe-Average life to one which is unpredictable, hilarious, and at times quite worrying!
It is not only extremely FUNNY, but the feeling of inspiration and motivation that this book emanates is infectious. Whilst, and indeed after reading this book I feel much more adventurous, ready to experience life. I would go so far as to say that this book has substantially changed the way I lead my life - it encourages you to be more outgoing and take more risks.
Please note that the film "Yes Man" starring Jim Carey is not only completely different, but several thousand times inferior to this truely excellent book.
Danny's own brand of observational comedy is not quite comparable to any others. It is similar to (but better than) Michael Macintyre's autobiography, in which a mix of brutal honesty and surreal improvisations make for an exciting and varied read.
The language is very easy to follow, and reflects Danny's wide-eyed and innocent, at times naïve but never pretentious personality. The character which unfolds from the style is a very British, modern and intelligent man who you can simultaneously relate to and marvel at.
The narrative is kept varied as Danny alternated between his prose and excerpts from his own diary.
Another point to note is that each chapter begins with a single photograph which is perplexing at first but the meaning of which becomes clear as you progress through the chapter, encouraging you to read on.
I got this book about 4 years ago and have probably read it 5 times. I think I shall make a point of reading it at least once per year to remind myself of the life-changing message in the book.
The jokes, observations and Danny's writing style retain their freshness time after time.
I have recommended this book to friends, and although they've not all given it 100%, none of them have regretted reading it
I'm not a regular book reader, but having seen Danny Wallace on TV and the catchy cover, I thought I'd give it a read.
The books is almost a diary of Danny's experiment that nobody else in the book knows about. It is funny on many levels. As well as making me laugh, it also takes a light hearted look at how people can so easily say No, and the theory that saying YES can somehow improve your life.
It's the kind of book I wish I could ready every week, just to remind me that going out there and doing things is what life can be about.
The only fault I can think of with this book, is that with 90% of the situations, you kind of guess something funny is just about to happen, although most of them are still surprises.
I've ready other Danny Wallace books since and not been so impressed, but this one is excellent
Yes Man by Danny Wallace is a comedy book of Danny Wallace saying Yes. Yes to everything imagine if every question anyone ever asked you everything you were asked to do you did yes, yes, yes.
This book shows the power of one word 'yes' it sees Danny doing things he would never have done before jetting of to other countrys, applying for extra credit cards, writing handy hints for papers, sending of money for money making ideas because Yes he does want to 'GET RICH QUICK' lol don't we all, and hilariously making friends with Omar the son of a murdered sultan. You know the junk email you get the signs you see around say yes to them all and see what happens.
This book had me laughing till I cried in parts whilst other parts were a little slow. It is definatley worth a read and I have to say I read the book before watching the film and enjoyed the book more. I must admit it does leave you thinking what if I did say Yes to everything, what would happen where would I be, but then reality kicks in lol.
It cost £7.99 from WHsmiths but you can pick it up ebay or amazon from as little as 99p.
I also write reviews on other sites under the same name,
By now, you should have heard of Danny Wallace, be it from his documentary How to Start Your Own Country, through reading one of his books, via Shortlist magazine or just some tv show that he's shown his face on previously. Yes, the title of this book does sound familiar, and if you haven't worked it out yet, it was a movie starring Jim Carrey. The idea was initially of course created by Danny Wallace who wrote a book about it back in 2004. This man is hilarious.
So Yes Man begins with Danny wallowing in his anti-socialness. He's avoiding everyone, split with his girlfriend and says no to everything. Then on a bus he meets someone who says he has to say yes more and to not refuse anything from anyone. And just like that, Danny, being Danny, decides it's a great idea. He would say yes no matter how he felt or what he had to do. Cue some rather interesting situations. The situations he gets himself into are questionable and completely surreal and sometimes I wish I could have jumped right into the world of Danny Wallace. I can't believe some of this stuff is for real.
So we follow the author as gets himself deeper and deeper into more trouble through the things he says yes to. I won't give too much away, just from that alone it should sell itself.
Just in case you've seen the film and are thinking of getting or reading this book, you've got to get a copy of it. The film is quite different from the book, in fact, pretty much entirely and you'd be missing out if you didn't get your hands on it.
Danny Wallace has written many books entirely centered around stupid boy projects, mainly thought up in the pub. Having siad that he writes with such honesty and simplicity, and carries his projects through entirely that these books are very amusing. Yes Man is hilarious.
This book has also been made into a film, starring Jim Carrey - though it has been changed a little. The film is good. The book is better!
Danny decides that he has to say yes to everything and the book basically follows him through this period of time and all of the subsequent encounters, experiences, etc that he gets to have as a result of saying yes that he would not have had otherwise.
I think the fact that Jim Carey playes Danny Wallace in the film is a good indicator and if you are a fan of the actor then you would be a fan of the book.
This book is a must read for everyone who is afraid to take chances or those who pass on opportunities because they're just so darn used to saying no.
Yes Man is by Danny Wallace. Sound familiar? He is famous for being the tv docu- How to Start your Own Country. Hilarious. He's also famous for Join Me- where he started a cult- with no real purpose- and ended up with hundreds of followers! I already knew this before I picked up Yes Man but it wasn't until I started reading this that I realized- the man's a genius!!! He's so funny, often taking the mick out of himself, he cracks me up!
He starts off telling us that he's become incredibly anti social. He's just split up with his girlfriend of three years and he's gotten into the habit of always saying 'no' to invitations. He missed out on Tom's stag do -which was probably legendary- nights out with his friends and someone's birthday party- all in favour of eating toast, watching Eastenders and going to Shelf Adventure (read the book, then you'll understand!)
One day he meets a man on a bus. At the end of the conversation the stranger says say yes more. From then on Danny decides to say 'yes' to everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. On his way to meet a friend for lunch he ends up being late. When questioned why he simply tells the truth- "oh I was adopting a few grannies!" (He had been stopped by those charity people who stop you in the street and try to get you to donate to charity. "can you spare two minutes sir?" YES. "Would you like to adopt a granny?" YES. It goes on.
One day he goes to a club (all part of his say yes more- and get out of the house and do fun things again!) and he's busy staring at a girl (its not what you think. He was just thinking that she was a good dancer "with the arms and legs and head an all"- but that he could do better. He wanted to go over there and flail about and show her he was really good and then he'd be crowned Lord of the Dance. LOL)
When the girl's boyfriend notices Danny is checking his girl out he approaches him. "You looking at my girl?" Well, what else could he say to this giant man who looked so menacing? YES. The next question the guy asks is "do I look like the sort of idiot that would let you look at my girlfriend?"...wait for it........YES.
This is a brilliant book, it's a really, really interesting read and I laughed out loud countless times (on the tube in front of complete strangers!!) because it was so funny.
It gives you an insight into a new world full of possibilities that are out there - if you decide to take them.
I liked the book more because its based on a real, down to earth guy who could be one of your mates. He's a very likeable dude anyway because of his sense of humour. But in the book you like him more- you know he finds it hard to say yes sometimes (like when he knows saying yes will produce a smack in the mouth!). And its all better because you know the book is based on real events. This was also made into a film- yes man starring Jin Carrey.
A funny and witty writing style, amusing real life dialogue and a brilliant concept make this a must read. Get a copy!!
Yes Man by Danny Wallace is the book on which the recent Jim Carey film was (very) loosely based. I'll be honest, I watched the film first and I had a mild inclination to then read the book. I was intrigued by the philosophy to the point where I contemplated trying it out for a week (saying "Yes" to anything and everything), if I was less lazy and more confident I would have. Perhaps I still will. When I noticed a friend at work was reading the book I asked if I could borrow it. He's a very slow reader, so I had to wait as the weeks ticked by, but finally he leant it to me a week or so ago. It's taken priority over my other books so I can return it to him quickly. It's easy reading, there was no need for me to worry.
The first thing to say is the book is very different to the film. As is usually the case with book to film transfers I guess, but since its written by a British radio journalist (and Author of other books) rather than an American banker, there were bound to be quite a few differences. That's not to say its not good (or bad depending on your view), simply its completely different. Which is a good thing.
I should mention that normally I don't read this sort of books. I generally prefer non-fictional, history books or factual works that I read for research purposes (I am an aspiring author), so this was quite a change. Written in the first person, some of it is merely extracts in the diary form, but mostly its written as if he was talking directly to the reader about his adventures. I normally hate books written in the first person, but since its not fictional, it didn't seem to bother me as much. I did get the distinct impression though, that alot of artistic licence was used, but then it would have to be wouldn't it? Unless he used a Dictaphone or video camera to record everything that happened during the day (which he didn't). It doesn't take away from the quality of the story though. One thing that did drive me nuts throughout the book is the constant use of italics to emphasise words, where it wasn't really needed, the emphasis was obvious anyway, but that's a minor point.
As you can imagine, saying "Yes" to anything and everything has some amusing consequences. We follow the author as he goes through his adventures over days and weeks, doing new things he would never have done before and racking up debt in the process. Mr Wallace often worries if his "Yes manifesto" might be seen as a "stupid boy project" by his ex-girlfriend and you can see why most people might look at it that way, but reading it makes you think about how it could be a good thing. Leading you to do things you'd never done before, having adventures and fun. Meeting new people, going new places. The philosophy is quite appealing, if a little bonkers. We read as Danny finds himself presenting a television show for the BBC, having meetings with strange new people, attending parties he would never have attended before, going to strange far off lands, getting stoned in Amsterdam and having his picture painted in the early hours. All sorts of really wild things.
At the end of the day, its a really good read. Just say "yes" and buy a copy.
Oh and say no to drugs.
Danny Wallace is a man who has practically turned into a hermit. He's just split up with his girlfriend and he's gotten into the habit of always saying 'no' to going to the pub, 'no' to socialising of any kind, 'no' to everything. One evening, on a particularly nightmarish commute home, he gets chatting to a stranger. At the end of the conversation the stranger says something which sets something alight in Danny; say yes more. From then on Danny decides to say 'yes' to everything - for one year. This starts off well enough, but when he gets into an altercation with another man Danny decides it's best to lay down some rules for the 'yes' project such as not blindly saying 'yes' to literally every single question that warrants a yes/no answer, but to always saying 'yes' to suggestions of things. Oh, and he's not allowed to tell anyone what he's doing!
Yes Man is a really interesting, exciting and fun read. It gives you an insight about the possibilities that are there if you only open your mind to them. The book follows Danny on his one-year journey that see him get up to all sorts of things, including falling in love. What I really liked about this book is that it's all true so it makes all the scenarios and conversations that much funnier. Danny Wallace has a naturally witty writing style and the book is so easy to read. You really find yourself rooting for him and the girl of his dreams to get it together. The whole concept is really inspiring to those of us who perhaps don't say yes to things as often as we should (although when you have a 9-5 job amongst other commitments it's not always that easy) and you really feel that you can take a leaf out of Danny's book (almost literally!).
I DONT READ BOOKS
just thought Id make that bit clear before I start. I have read about three books in my whole life (and one of those was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Its probably something to do with not having the concentration span to sit down and actually focus on words. I can easily read a page and then think, I didnt actually take any of that in, and read it again.
I got this book about 2 years ago, a present from someone who obviously doesnt get that I dont read books! Out of courtesy I read about 15 pages before abadoning it on a shelf in my room. Two years later I picked it up and made a more conservative effort to finish what I started and by some miracle it actually worked because I have read it in a short space of time.
Danny Wallace, general writer/producer/presenter has reached some sort of crossroads in his life where he says no quite a fair bit to his friends and to everything and becomes very depressed by the whole thing, coupled with the breaking up with his girlfriend. A random stranger on the bus tells him to "say yes more" and thats exactly what he does...to everything.
Saying Yes leads to many different chain of events happening, as you can imagine, and Danny encounters many extreme characters and situations. The one problem is that someone (despite him not telling anyone) is on to his game (the challenger) and he spends time trying to solve this mystery.
The reason i kept reading was the style of writing which made it very easy to read and gave you some real laugh out loud moments such as when he was in a club and staring at someones girlfriend and was asked if he was staring/fancied her - an ultimate "say no moment". As well as agreeing to many of the 'spam' e-mails that we all know to stay well away from.
There were times in the book that I thought it was a little far fetched and exaggerated but I guess they all lead into a good story, so much so that it has been made into a film with Jim Carrey. I would imagine (not seen the film yet) that this would be very loosely based on the book.
I really enjoyed the book, so much so that I have no got the book he wrote before 'Join Me' and look forward to reading it! I have also started listening to his show on saturday mornings on 6music (he is covering for Adam and Joe throughout August 09) and have become a bit of a fan. He has also got a new book called 'friends like these' which I would imagine I will probably get and read after Join me and double my reading books tally just by reading his.
Ahh Danny Wallace :) I'm not ashamed to say that I get very over-excited when he has a new book out and that I quite fancy him...*cough*..anyway, the book! 'Yes Man' is a fantastic, hilarious book that will get you laughing at inappropriate moments on the bus and make you want to change your life for the better.
It's written by the genius that is Danny Wallace, who has also written 'Join Me' and 'Friends Like These' among others.
'Yes Man' tells the story of how Danny decided to say Yes to anything and Everything. It all started when a man on the bus told him to 'Say Yes More'. It was the push that Danny needed to jump back into his life and so began the extraordinary adventure that would take him across the world and put him in some bizzare and crazy situations. Along the way, Danny finds himself winning (and losing) £25,000 on a scratchcard, winning the lottery, helping out the son of a murdered Sultan, meeting the girl of his dreams (yes I did get a bit jealous!!), and getting the job as a TV presenter.
The book will have you cracking up with laughter and cheering Danny on as he finds himself in these baffling and bizzare situations. He is a witty, clever writer and his boyish enthusiasm for life is endearing.
In conclusion, this book is simply unmissable. And if you don't find yourself bursting with laughter I will be very suprised. Go on, be a Yes Man (or Woman!) and check out this book.
'Yes Man' is published by Ebury and is priced at £7.99. There is also a film out based on the book starring Jim Carrey which I have yet to see.
Another book from Danny Wallace & as brilliant and as funny as it is, I can't help feel that it's kind of contrived.
Here's a man who travelled around the world with his flatmate Dave Gorman hunting for other people called Dave Gorman all because they had made a bet (see 'Are You Dave Gorman?' by Dave Gorman & Danny Wallace) then started a cult by accident after randomly placing an advert in a free sheet asking people to join him (see 'Join Me' by Danny Wallace).
Setting up this accidental cult led to him travelling around the world....
Then, 3rd accidental wacky stunt later he accepts a bet to 'say "Yes" more' and ends up travelling around the world.
It could all be true, it would be nice if it were all true but it all seems a tad contrived........
Which is a damn shame because this is such a funny book, it's perfect holiday fodder for reading on the beach & laughing embarrassingly loudly at just as some random attractive lady wanders over all set to ask you to help her apply her lotion.
It's very funny, well written and.... if you haven't read his other books (or seen his tv show in which he tries to set up his own country & travels the world) then it's highly original but if you have followed his career it all starts to get a bit samey.
I really wanted to like this book & I do recommend it if you haven't read his others but unfortunately it felt like re-treading old ground.
Still, Danny Wallace will be laughing all the way to the bank as it's just been made into a 'major motion picture' (is there any other kind in book marketing land?) starring Jim Carrey.
Say 'Yes' to Yes Man if it's your first visit to Danny's world, if you've already spent time there it may be time to visit somewhere else
DANNY WALLACE - YES MAN
This is a story based on one man's battle with the word YES. As basic as that sounds it actually makes for an excellent read, and actually makes you think about how you act day to day and how you should embrace new opportunity - which is ultimately what the book is about.
WHATS THE STORY?
Without giving too much away, Danny feels that his life is going nowhere: he rarely sees his friends, has split up with his girlfriend, and just goes through the motions. More importantly he rarely says 'yes' to new opportunities, even 'do you want to go to the pub?'.
He decides - through a chance meeting with an influential person - to change his life and say 'yes' more...basically to anything! So from nowhere he now begins to say Yes to travelling to Barcelona for no real reason, Yes to a new potential new relationship, and Yes to the pub! There are plenty of other yes's in the book and it brings him some wonderful adventures and helps him grow as a person.
Without getting to psychological about it, this really is a great read and is relevant to all of our lives, check it out!
Danny Wallace must have pretty much cornered the market in what his ex-girlfriend called "stupid-boy projects" - a domination this book will have done nothing to lessen. Once again, the author takes a relatively simple, generally well-intentioned, but inevitably slightly silly idea, and takes it to extremes very few other people would. Having previously founded his own cult, and put it to work to make the world a better place, tried to create his own country, and travelled the world in search of people who happen to have the same name as his flatmate, Wallace found himself in a bit of a rut.
Constantly finding excuses to not go out, doing minimal work and generally avoiding contact with the outside world, it took a chance meeting with a man on a bus to point his life in a new direction. This character is, it transpires, either a powerful deity moving in very mysterious ways, inspiring people in need of direction, or in fact just a man on a bus who likes talking to strangers. In any case, his message is simple; "say 'yes' more".
Adopting this as his mantra, and code of conduct, Wallace resolves to say Yes to every opportunity and invitation, regardless of the consequences or likely flouting of social norms. He will turn his back on his old, reclusive ways, and don the cloak of ... Yes Man! However, there are those it seems, who are set on preventing him following his affirmative path ... an unseen, un-named nemesis begins to exploit Wallace, taking advantage of his commitment to Yes in an effort to tempt him to the dark side, and ultimately, to swear his allegiance to No. Is our hero strong enough to hold firm, or will his quest prove one in which he finally fails?
If you've read any of Wallace's previous books, the formula will be familiar here - a mad, essentially pointless project in which the author invests so much importance that it dominates his entire life. As when attempting to establish a cult (Join Me), friends express their concern that the obsession is getting out of control, but it seems only Wallace can see the true importance of it all. The re-use of this formula might seem a bit cynical in other hands, and feel like it's only being done to get a book out of it, but amongst Wallace's attributes as an author, he does write with great honesty and integrity. You really do feel his genuine personal investment in the idea, and the book takes on a charming, lightly inspirational air for this.
Wallace's enthusiasm is infectious. The smallest things become hugely significant, and the trust he places in the power of Yes creates a warm, amusing innocence and naivety. The consequences of always answering in the affirmative are regularly hilarious - having no choice but to accept the hairdresser's offer of a mullet or see the same awful play three times because he keeps being asked.
Wallace's style is wonderfully suited to bringing out the eccentric, nonsensical humour of the tale - he switches between a narrative filled with musings, reflections and asides to the reader and sections of sharp transcribed dialogue smoothly, pulling along the story delightfully. Always imbuing his quest with a sense of grand importance, Wallace puts Yes on a pedestal with a perfect blend of serious pursuit of his goal and a lightheartedness reflecting the farce involved in achieving it.
As with his other books - in fact, even more so than in those - there is more than just comedy to Yes Man. It simply wouldn't work without this extra dimension. Wallace reflects on his relationships, his work-life and personal feelings, and is generally very honest and open with his readers as to how Yes has affected these domains. There's also a broader message here, if a rather simplistic one; saying Yes more really can enhance your life. As this tale shows, a more positive outlook on life reaps the rewards it deserves, and taking risks can put you on the path to some wonderful, wholly unexpected places.
Wallace ponders this issue late on - is it worse to regret something you've done, or something you haven't? He concludes that at least in the first case, if you've said yes, at least you know what came of it and can learn from that. If you've said no, however, he reflects, your regret is over the unknown, the what-could-have-been - which he feels is a much greater shame.
It's a simple message at heart, but a good one, and one presented in a fashion that goes down wonderfully smoothly. Wallace is a skillful writer, who manages to balance outright hilarity with a grounding sense of vulnerability and humanity, making the book what it is. It'll make you laugh, and make you think - which can't be a bad thing. I read Yes Man through a second time before writing this, and enjoyed it every bit as much as the first time, which should say something for its quality. The film of the book, starring Jim Carrey, came out at the end of 2008, which is very different from the original, but nonetheless entertaining. I'd still recommend reading the book first, though - it's uplifting, amusing, outright happiness-on-paper stuff, and might just encourage you to "say yes more"!
The amazing tale of what happens when you decide to say... YES.