Awkward: The Science of Why We're Socially Awkward and Why That's Awesome by Ty Tashiro

Awkward: The Science of Why We're Socially Awkward and Why That's Awesome

In the vein of Quiet and The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth comes this illuminating look at what it means to be awkward—and how the same traits that make us socially anxious and cause embarrassing faux pas also provide the seeds for extraordinary success.As humans, we all need to belong. While modern social life can make even the best of us feel gawky, for roughly one in fi...

Title:Awkward: The Science of Why We're Socially Awkward and Why That's Awesome
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0062429175
Edition Language:English
Format Type:ebook
Number of Pages:288 pages

Awkward: The Science of Why We're Socially Awkward and Why That's Awesome Reviews

  • Rachel León
    May 11, 2017

    (3.5 stars, rounded up because it was such a comforting read)

    I am very socially awkward. When I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. Indeed reading it was like holding up a mirror. I laughed at some of the descriptions of what awkward people do because it was SO me. In that way, it was a comforting read. It made me feel less strange and helped me embrace and own the fact that yes, I am terribly, delightfully awkward. At times the book skims over topics and goes more into giftedness t

    (3.5 stars, rounded up because it was such a comforting read)

    I am very socially awkward. When I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. Indeed reading it was like holding up a mirror. I laughed at some of the descriptions of what awkward people do because it was SO me. In that way, it was a comforting read. It made me feel less strange and helped me embrace and own the fact that yes, I am terribly, delightfully awkward. At times the book skims over topics and goes more into giftedness than seemed necessary, but it's a great comforting read for awkward people like myself.

  • Sydney
    May 14, 2017

    Really glad I read this and highly recommend it to anyone who feels awkward or knows someone who is awkward. It doesn't go into tremendous depth, but it was still enough to be interesting and informative. The author does seem to repeat himself a bit, which likely was more noticeable to me because I listened to this as an audiobook. Had I been reading it on paper, I probably would have skimmed past repetitive stuff pretty quickly.

  • Taryn Pierson
    May 04, 2017

    I consider myself an awkward person. However, I am that rare awkward person who was blessed with a group of highly extroverted, gregarious friends growing up, whose constant slumber parties and note-passing created a beautiful social bubble that kept me in regular contact with humans and also disguised the fact that without them, I was shy and didn’t know how to talk to people. Perhaps it occurred to me to wonder why I was always in trouble for talking too much in classes I shared with my friend

    I consider myself an awkward person. However, I am that rare awkward person who was blessed with a group of highly extroverted, gregarious friends growing up, whose constant slumber parties and note-passing created a beautiful social bubble that kept me in regular contact with humans and also disguised the fact that without them, I was shy and didn’t know how to talk to people. Perhaps it occurred to me to wonder why I was always in trouble for talking too much in classes I shared with my friends, yet turned into a silent mouse in classes with kids I didn’t know well, but at the time it didn’t seem that weird to have two personalities depending on who was around. Now I recognize that there exists a Taryn For Public Consumption, who you’ll find sitting shifty-eyed in the corner and fidgeting with a napkin, and then, like a Russian nesting doll, a bunch of other progressively bigger, louder, (I would argue) funnier, (and if I’m being honest) more emotional Taryns that you might encounter if you get to know me better.

    Thanks to the friend bubble, I didn’t fully realize how awkward I was until college, when that friend group dispersed and I was on my own to build a new one. Let me tell you, it was a rude awakening. And nowadays when my awkwardness rears its head, it continues to surprise me, because most of my life I’ve perceived myself as a socially normal, if not terribly popular or trendy, person. Then I walk into a crowded wedding reception full of tables for eight with my (one) husband and panic about which six strangers we’re going to have to make small talk with, and I remember. Oh yeah. This is who I am. I was just blissfully unaware of it for 18 years.

    So reading Ty Tashiro’s book was extremely helpful to me, because it validated a lot of things I’d wondered about myself but didn’t know how to put into words. I’ve known I am an introvert for a while now, but Tashiro points out that that label alone doesn’t fully explain everything about him, and it doesn’t explain everything about my experience, either. It’s not just that I crave time alone, it’s that when I am in a social situation, I don’t know how to comport myself. It’s possible to be introverted and still feel comfortable in social situations, but it’s also possible to be introverted and feel paralyzed by them. One doesn’t necessarily predict the other. That was a big revelation for me, and a comforting one, since I’ve read so many introvert thinkpieces claiming that “being introverted doesn’t mean I’m socially inept!” that left me wondering, “But what if I am?” If introversion didn’t explain my social hiccups, did that mean I was defective? According to Tashiro, nope, I’m just awkward. Somehow, that’s a lot easier to live with.

    Tashiro also discusses the link between giftedness and awkwardness, and while he’s careful to acknowledge that not all gifted kids are awkward and not all awkward kids are gifted, there’s a higher prevalence of awkwardness among gifted kids than non-gifted kids. Which is a real duh moment if you’ve ever spent any time in a self-contained gifted program. I remember being totally flummoxed one time on a church trip after an interaction with one of the popular girls in my youth group. (Yes, there were popular kids in youth group, welcome to the Bible Belt!) She had loudly criticized the way I was applying sunscreen, which drew the attention of the other kids and of course embarrassed me. I remember thinking, I know I am smarter than this girl. I know the kind of grades she gets in school. So why is it she knows how to get all these other kids on her side? How does she know how to manipulate every situation so she ends up with power and I end up looking dumb? I know I’m smart, so why can’t I figure out how to be more popular? Now I know that while I may have been book smart, that girl far outpaced me in social IQ, and they’re two completely different kinds of intelligence.

    Not everything in the book resonated with me, but that’s to be expected, because there are a lot of ways to be awkward, and thankfully there are some awkward traits I don’t struggle with. For example, Tashiro tells a cute story on himself about a time in grade school when he made edits to his store-bought Valentines because he was uncomfortable with the strong emotions they expressed. Some awkward people are uncomfortable expressing or discussing strong emotions, but as someone who feels compelled to externally process every emotion she experiences (just ask my husband), I don’t have that problem. So I guess I’ve got that going for me.

    Reflecting on my life this way has made me really thankful for that friend group I had growing up. It makes me want to give each of those girls a hug, and I’m not a hugger. Without them, I strongly suspect I would have spent most of my school years chewing on my hair and staring at the wall. It also fills me with a kind of awe that my husband and I, two incredibly awkward people, managed to meet and date and fall in love with each other. I remember our first date with eternal fondness, but I’m sure to an outside observer it was more like a slow-moving train wreck than violins and birdsong. Fortunately, he’s the kind of guy who finds it endearing that I brought a book with me.

    More book recommendations by me at

  • Keely
    May 29, 2017

    In "Awkward," psychologist Ty Tashiro examines the trait of social awkwardness and both the challenges and advantages that come with it. On the positive side, socially awkward people tend to have intense focus on their personal interests, which often leads to extraordinary achievements or innovations. In addition, awkwardness frequently overlaps with remarkable talent or areas of giftedness. On the other hand, awkward people also tend to devote attention to their areas of interest at the expense

    In "Awkward," psychologist Ty Tashiro examines the trait of social awkwardness and both the challenges and advantages that come with it. On the positive side, socially awkward people tend to have intense focus on their personal interests, which often leads to extraordinary achievements or innovations. In addition, awkwardness frequently overlaps with remarkable talent or areas of giftedness. On the other hand, awkward people also tend to devote attention to their areas of interest at the expense of developing social graces that communicate positive intent and help them fit in. This is especially problematic because awkward people desperately need good social graces to balance a natural inability to pick up on social cues and see the bigger picture in social situations. Throughout, Tashiro celebrates what's awesome about being awkward while also offering strategies to help awkward individuals navigate social life and develop nurturing relationships. I felt like the book got repetitive at times, but as an awkward person and a parent of awkward kids, I also found it both affirming and helpful.

  • Tima
    May 10, 2017

    Everyone wants to belong and fit in. But for some of us, that is more difficult and awkward than the normal person. The author, a self-described awkward person, tells us about the science of being awkward and what it truly means to be awkward. He uses antidotes and personal stories to infuse the book with humor and interest.

    This was not really the book I was expecting, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm not really a science person, but the author was able to make it understandable and truly inter

    Everyone wants to belong and fit in. But for some of us, that is more difficult and awkward than the normal person. The author, a self-described awkward person, tells us about the science of being awkward and what it truly means to be awkward. He uses antidotes and personal stories to infuse the book with humor and interest.

    This was not really the book I was expecting, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm not really a science person, but the author was able to make it understandable and truly interesting. I learned a lot and walked away from the book with a smile on my face and a better understanding of how people work and how I can fit in with people who are not like me. I would definitely recommend this book.

    I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

  • Karen
    May 15, 2017

    More useful advice than Quiet.

  • Scott Neigh
    May 21, 2017

    General nonfiction exploring the phenomenon of social awkwardness. Brings together the latest experimental research, anecdotes from the author's work as a psychology PhD and his own life as an awkward person, and broader context. Overall, a mixed bag. The writing is pretty good, and effectively integrates professional literature with slice-of-life stories, but I found my interest in the content varied a lot across the book. One axis of this variance, though not the only, was that the material mo

    General nonfiction exploring the phenomenon of social awkwardness. Brings together the latest experimental research, anecdotes from the author's work as a psychology PhD and his own life as an awkward person, and broader context. Overall, a mixed bag. The writing is pretty good, and effectively integrates professional literature with slice-of-life stories, but I found my interest in the content varied a lot across the book. One axis of this variance, though not the only, was that the material more focused on self-fashioning, which was more densely present earlier in the book, was somewhat more compelling, whereas the more descriptive content and the general pronouncements about life didn't do as much for me. As well, it shows the weaknesses inherent in approaching people and our interactions purely through psy discourses (leavened with a dash of basic positivist sociology and a sprinkling of evolutionary biological storytelling) -- that is, an impoverished understanding of the self and some pretty dodgy claims (or at least implications) about the social world. Ultimately, probably part of my lukewarm response to the book is because its relevance to me personally felt uneven: Social awkwardness is a fairly coherent set of characteristics, according to experimental psychology, and it feels like this cluster cuts across rather than clearly describing my own particular pattern of social capacities and incapacities.

  • Lesley
    Jun 11, 2017

    I received Awkward for free through Goodreads' Giveaways program.

    Ty Tashiro tackles the subject of awkwardness in this book. He explains how and why people can be awkward, using both his personal experience and anecdotes. He also brings in research from many studies, which can be helpful in illuminating his ideas.

    This book struck me as a "pop psychology" book in the vein of Jonah Berger. There was some interesting information, but there was nothing especially groundbreaking.

    An entertaining and

    I received Awkward for free through Goodreads' Giveaways program.

    Ty Tashiro tackles the subject of awkwardness in this book. He explains how and why people can be awkward, using both his personal experience and anecdotes. He also brings in research from many studies, which can be helpful in illuminating his ideas.

    This book struck me as a "pop psychology" book in the vein of Jonah Berger. There was some interesting information, but there was nothing especially groundbreaking.

    An entertaining and quick read.

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