I’m not anti-self-help, but I have a healthy skepticism about a lot of the self-help books being sold these days. And I relatively enjoyed Greg Gutfeld’s previous books—he’s got some hot conservative takes that are actually really balanced–so I was eager-ish to pick up his new book, The Plus: Self-Help for People Who Hate Self-Help. At the end of the day, I gave it 3 stars–I like the concept of the book, and the message it’s trying to convey, but the writing felt rushed and a little…disjointed. Nonetheless, it has some good insights into being “better” especially when it comes to talking politics.
If you like Fox News, if you like The Five, and you want to think more consciously about what you do and don’t do to make the world a better place, this is a good place to start. I promise it doesn’t mention meditation, blood donation, or even religion, really. It’s quite literally focused on being a “plus” or “minus” in the way you engage with others–which we all do a LOT when it comes to politics.
Do you want to be a plus or a minus in the world? Do you want to add things to the world, or be a Negative Nancy? That’s the concept of this book, in which Gutfeld talks about his attempts to become a Plus and to encourage you to do it. But of course, Gutfeld is political and a Fox News host, so politics has to come around. Yes, it’s generally about how to be a “plus” instead of a “minus” but he also relates it–to varying degrees of success-to cancel culture, social media mobs, partisanship, etc. He talks about his own failings and being a “minus” during the Covington Catholic drama, he talks about how to disengage from social media fights, and he talks about the importance of learning from your mistakes and offering forgiveness even if you know you wouldn’t get it in return.
My favorite section of this book was when Gutfeld talked about social media, dog-piling, and the role our voices play. Obviously, he’s Greg Gutfeld, so people sometimes DO care what he has to say–he’s paid to talk!–but he asks, “am I adding anything to the conversation?” That’s a GREAT question–and one I encourage every politico to think about. Think before you tweet. Sit on it for 49 hours he says–two days and a lunch break. When it comes to a major issue, what do you have to offer? Are you willing to lose your job over that hot take? Are you dog-piling and joining the mob because everyone else is doing it? Do you have anything at stake? That, I think, could be a book in and of itself–how not to be terrible on Twitter.
Here are some other tips from this book that I think ring really true, regardless of the political moment:
“Read the news; don’t make any”
“When you screw up, apologize with verve”
“If 3 or more people are doing x, and you’re compelled to join–step back and ask yourself why”
This book is very “of” the political moment–he talks Covington Catholic, Trump media bias, and Jussie Smollett, but I think the core of it–the question of “will you be a plus or a minus–is something we can all grapple with regardless of where we stand politically, who we voted for, or frankly, what year it is.
Will you be a plus, or a minus?
The Plus by Greg Gutfeld is on sale wherever books are sold.
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