On Being Awesome
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ibsn13: 9780143130901

A 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.

According to Mr. Riggle, awesomeness and suckiness revolves all around social openings which are moments when we can choose to break out of our norm-governed roles by expressing ourselves.1

Let’s say you’re buying a latte at your local coffee shop, and you’re awesome, this is what that interaction might look like:

Employee: Hi, what can I get for you today?

You: I would like a large coffee, please.

Employee: All right, that’ll be three dollars, please.

You: Small price to become human again. Here you go.

Employee: …

Now, you have created a little social opening, by breaking the norms and going off script, and making a little joke. […] You’ve given the employee an opportunity to recognize your sense of play and humor and react with a response of his own. You thereby give him a chance to break out of his role and express his individuality in response. If he takes up your offering in the right way, then the result is a kind of mutual appreciation of individuality.2

It all boils down to this:

Sucking is a matter of failing to take up social openings; not sucking is a matter of taking them up and engaging; and being awesome is a matter of creating them.3

Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence. On Being Awesome does not seek to give you answers about the meaning of life or the existence of God.

It tries, and succeeds, to give you an understanding of what being awesome (or sucky) is. In doing so, it provides you with the means of becoming a more awesome version of yourself and surrounding yourself with awesome people.


  1. Riggle, Nick. On Being Awesome: A Unified Theory of How Not to Suck. Penguin Books, 2017, 19. ↩︎

  2. Riggle, Nick. On Being Awesome: A Unified Theory of How Not to Suck. Penguin Books, 2017, 21. ↩︎

  3. Riggle, Nick. On Being Awesome: A Unified Theory of How Not to Suck. Penguin Books, 2017, 88. ↩︎