What I've Learned

An Encyclopedia of Perpetual Bullshit

Non-Fiction - Humor/Comedy
792 Pages
Reviewed on 06/17/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Amanda Monell for Readers' Favorite

What I’ve Learned: An Encyclopedia of Perpetual Bullshit by Christopher T. Heist is a humorous collection of life experiences, editorials, and essays on various topics. With his blatant honesty, Heist not only takes and applies a razor sharp wit to the typical memoir, but also organizes it into easy to digest segments. He tackles subjects from abortion to video games, where Heist tells it like it is, taking no prisoners and being completely unapologetic about any of it.

When I first started to read What I’ve Learned: An Encyclopedia of Perpetual Bullshit by Christopher T. Heist, I was surprised in the most pleasant way possible. This memoir is such an innovative and interactive text, which with masterful wordsmithing and strategy could possibly reinvent the genre. Instead of the author directing readers on their journeys and providing reflection, Heist surrenders his book to readers, allowing them to determine what topics appeal to them. Heist’s voice is one of the freshest and most approachable that I’ve read in a long time. It’s strong, acidic, dark, and at times comforting, much like the perfect morning coffee blend. He’s also got an older brother charm, which he uses to delightfully corrupt his readers with his knowledge. While some writers shy away from many topics, Christopher is right there, in the depths of it, offering his views on each topic with the tenacity and frankness that I’ve grown to appreciate.

Kathryn Bennett

What I've Learned: An Encyclopedia of Perpetual Bullshit by Christopher T. Heist is a book that dives into the things that we all deal with on a daily basis. Author Chris Heist has lost jobs, a marriage, and an apartment, but still manages to continue with life and keep a dose of humor in his outlook on life. Chris offers some fun lessons and a great way to learn how to do things like peep into the windows of your neighbors' home legally, support suicide properly, insult mothers and, of course, piss off the religious.

This book is really a hilarious romp through the ups and downs of life that can so easily happen to any of us. Author Chris Heist allows us a look into his life and memories that can be heart warming at times, but is mostly given to us from the viewpoint of humor. The book has a fun layout and interesting flow as the important topics covered have all been set out in alphabetical order, like you would expect from an encyclopedia. I couldn't help but smile at that and I kept smiling throughout the pages as I read. This is a great book for anyone who loves humor and who might even want to apply some of the lessons learned in the book to their own life. If I can approach some of my issues in life with half as much zeal as the author, I think I will be doing all right indeed! This is a highly recommended read.

Michelle Randall

If you have picked up What I've Learned, expecting some enlightening book about life and the meaning and purpose of life, why we are here and what you need to do to enjoy life, then you found the wrong book. If you picked it up for a humorous look at life, with a slightly irreverent tone and some sarcasm, then you definitely found the right book! Author Christopher T. Heist takes a conversational approach and writes a book that flows from topic to topic about life, what he has experienced and been through, yet without the rose-colored spectacles that most people tend to write with. This book tells it like it is, with a slightly irreverent, sarcastic and humorous tone.

What I've Learned flows more as one person talking to another than having a typical book-like structure, which makes it feel more casual and friendly. It also lends itself well to the whole concept of the non-serious and funny tone of the book. The subtitle of the book is An Encyclopedia of Perpetual Bullshit; that alone ought to tell you this is not going to be a serious tome! Author Christopher T. Heist takes a natural look at everything that comes to his mind, and lets it all flow out as it comes. This is a fun read and something that would be a great airplane ride read. It's an adult book, although older teens would be fine reading it, and it's just something light and enjoyable with a little of everything.

Teodora Totorean

What I’ve Learned: An Encyclopedia of Perpetual Bullshit by Christopher T. Heist is a book of reflections on various topics like everyday life, politics and religion, to name just a few. In the book’s introduction, Heist talks about his upbringing and we also learn about him having been in the army. The book continues where the author presents his opinions on the topic in question in a humorous manner. We learn about his attitude towards different aspects of today’s society: from possessions, consumerism and banks, to relationships (classmates, colleagues, amorous), addiction and death. The book finishes with a chapter titled “Yo Mom” containing “momma jokes.”

What I’ve Learned: An Encyclopedia of Perpetual Bullshit by Christopher T. Heist is easy to read and funny. Some people might find it offensive due to the amount of swear words and some of the author’s opinions, but if you can read through this and don’t take it too seriously, the book is a real laugh. I found particularly funny the chapter about baby wipes, but I will let you discover what it’s all about. The book is written in a conversational tone, as if the author is speaking to you directly, and this was precisely Heist’s intention, as stated in the introduction. The chapters are grouped in alphabetical order so there is no apparent link between them, just the author’s opinions regarding each topic. The conclusion is that if you are easily offended by some of the topics, then this book isn’t for you, but if you can see beyond and take the book for what it is, then you can really enjoy it while laughing out loud.

Jessyca Garcia

What I've Learned: An Encyclopedia of Perpetual Bullshit by Christopher T. Heist is a long book. A VERY long book. The book is filled with Heist’s own opinions and experiences in life, starting from when he was in grammar school. His constant swearing throughout the book was a little annoying, and because of this I read his words with Chris Rock’s voice in my head. No matter how annoying the swearing was, I could not help but agree with some of the things he said.

What I’ve Learned is a book filled with Heist’s experiences and opinions ranging from art to voting. All are cleverly arranged in alphabetical order. One of Heist’s opinions that I agree with in What I’ve Learned are his thoughts on prostitution. I, too, believe that if you are old enough to fight for your country, then you are old enough to be able to decide whether you want to pay for sex. Another of Heist’s thoughts I agree with is that “you’re actually safer roaming the Afghan countryside as a solider, than you are walking the streets of Camden, N.J. as a civilian.” I can relate to this, having lived in Chicago or what others like to call “Chi-raq.” I found the “your mom” jokes at the end kind of funny. I have not heard some of them before.

What I've Learned: An Encyclopedia of Perpetual Bullshit is definitely not a book for everyone. If you are easily offended then this is not the book for you. I recommend it if you have a sense of humor and do not mind swearing. Overall, I did find parts of the book funny and, surprisingly, agreed with Heist on many subjects.