“What is the opposite of an asshole? It’s the ‘awesome’ person who goes off script in the usual interactions, creating new opportunities for creative expression and social communion. Nick Riggle’s fun book is ‘awesome’ by its own definition. But don’t miss its profound ambition, which is to show how philosophy unearths the structure of ordinary language, defines the meaning of life in routine business, and poses the question of how best to live.”
—Aaron James, author of Assholes: A Theory
A lively philosophical exploration of what it means to be awesome and not suck, and a plea for more awesomeness in our personal, social, and public lives
In this engaging, fun, and astute investigation of a thoroughly contemporary condition, philosopher and former pro skater Nick Riggle argues that our collective interest in being awesome (and not sucking) marks a new era in American culture, one that is shaped by relatively recent social, political, and technological shifts.
At the core of his work is the idea that awesome people are exemplars of social creativity. We suck when we foil their attempts at creative community building. To be down, game, chill, basic, wack, or a preference dictator are just a handful of ways we can create, respond to, or fail to take up social openings in the office, in public, or with our friends and loved ones.
What can the invention of the high five and the history of “cool” tell us about the origins of awesome? Can introverts be awesome? How do our expectations of awesome relate to race, gender, and sexuality? How is our desire for awesomeness shaping our cultural landscape—art, altruism, athletics, and public life? These are just a few of the questions Riggle explores in this accessible, philosophical road trip through the ethos of our time.
On Being Awesome articulates a singular and gripping cultural ideal and provides a new and inspiring framework for understanding friendship, success, and happiness in our everyday lives.