Assume the Worst
This is Oh, the Places You’ll Never Go–the ultimate hilarious, cynical, but absolutely realistic view of a college graduate’s future. And what he or she can or can’t do about it.“This commencement address will never be given, because graduation speakers are supposed to offer encouragement and inspiration. That’s not what you need. You need a warning.”So begins Carl Hiaasen’s attempt to prepare young men and women for their future. And who better to warn them about their precarious paths forward than Carl Hiaasen? The answer, after reading Assume the Worst, is: Nobody.And who better to illustrate–and with those illustrations, expand upon and cement Hiaasen’s cynical point of view–than Roz Chast, best-selling author/illustrator and National Book Award winner? The answer again is easy: Nobody.Following the format of Anna Quindlen’s commencement address (Being Perfect) and George Saunders’s commencement address (Congratulations, by the way), the collaboration of Hiaasen and Chast might look typical from the outside, but inside it is anything but. This book is bound to be a classic, sold year after year come graduation time. Although it’s also a good gift for anyone starting a job, getting married, or recently released from prison. Because it is not just funny. It is, in its own Hiaasen way, extremely wise and even hopeful. Well, it might not be full of hope, but there are certainly enough slivers of the stuff in there to more than keep us all going.

Assume the Worst Details

TitleAssume the Worst
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 10th, 2018
PublisherKnopf
ISBN-139780525655015
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Humor, Self Help

Assume the Worst Review

  • Sheri
    January 1, 1970
    An easy and super short read with valuable advice. Many of today’s graduates are caught up in a fantasy world filled with positive promises and unrealistic expectations. But life is not all sunshine and rainbows. Hiaasen dispenses great advice for life in the real world. Hidden beneath the satire new graduates will find a nice message about doing your part towards changing the world for the better.
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    I like Carl Hiaasen's fiction, but this is complete crap. Total money-grubbing and not even remotely humorous.
  • Lois R. Gross
    January 1, 1970
    I certainly hope that novelist Carl Hiassen is wrong and he actually does get to give this commencement speech to a group of newly minted graduates because it's probably the only truth they will hear in 4 to 8 years. Unlike Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go", this book does not promise a future of moon and stars. Instead, Hiassen shares some down to earth truths: you probably won't be a star, you likely will live a fairly normal life, and the best thing you can do is to be a good person. Kids I certainly hope that novelist Carl Hiassen is wrong and he actually does get to give this commencement speech to a group of newly minted graduates because it's probably the only truth they will hear in 4 to 8 years. Unlike Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go", this book does not promise a future of moon and stars. Instead, Hiassen shares some down to earth truths: you probably won't be a star, you likely will live a fairly normal life, and the best thing you can do is to be a good person. Kids don't want to hear these things because everyone, EVERYONE, at age 23 or 25 believes that even crushing student loan debt will not stop them from realizing their wildest ambitions. After all, that's the mantra they've heard since early childhood. Now "Uncle" Carl delivers the harder lessons of being an adult. With great talent and some influence, a few people will reach their goals (his comparison is that he wanted to be Willie Mays but he couldn't throw or run). So, instead of wasting your life moaning about the things you didn't get, appreciate the things you do achieve and work hard to make your contribution. That is good advice. Illustrated with cartoons by the New Yorker's brilliant cartoonist, Roz Chast, give this to new grads, old grads, and lots of other people as well. Face it. This isn't a Seussian world. Hiassen gets it.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    Public library copyOh, I don't know. If you can' be happy and optimistic when you graduate from high school or college, when can you be? Life wears us down quickly enough. While I agree with Hiaasen completely, I am old and bitter. I don't know that I would share this with a shiny, hopeful young person. Life will give them an atomic wedgie soon enough.
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  • Mac
    January 1, 1970
    Hiaasen's writing is heavy handed and unpleasant; Chast's drawings are charming and enjoyable. What seemed like a dream team of author and artist is a mismatch of sledgehammer and butterfly. At least, the book is very, very short. Assume the worst? I should have.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    If this is supposed to be humorous I didn't get the humor. Most of it is obvivous stuff but at least the author is honest and it's a nice book to share with graduates.
  • Sidney
    January 1, 1970
    Hiassen is one of my favorite authors. This quick (and very snarky) advice to college grads is hilarious (and true)! Bought the book to give to son's fiancé next week for college graduation but had to read it first. I hope she follows his advice!
  • Sean Farrell
    January 1, 1970
    Typical graduation speeches are full of platitudes and seemingly sage advice, all designed to make the listener feel special. Author Carl Hiaasen thinks that might not be the best way to go, and instead offers up this witty but realistic look at what graduates should expect from life now that they’ll be sent out to live it. Since it takes the form of a speech, with clever illustrations from Roz Chast, this slim book can be read fairly quickly, and while it may seem a little heavy on the doom-and Typical graduation speeches are full of platitudes and seemingly sage advice, all designed to make the listener feel special. Author Carl Hiaasen thinks that might not be the best way to go, and instead offers up this witty but realistic look at what graduates should expect from life now that they’ll be sent out to live it. Since it takes the form of a speech, with clever illustrations from Roz Chast, this slim book can be read fairly quickly, and while it may seem a little heavy on the doom-and-gloom, it offers just enough hope to make the reader feel that while they may not be likely to change the world as an individual (despite what most such speeches would have one believe), just being decent people means we could all change the world together. And that feels like a message that’s really worth hearing right now.
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  • Linda Quinn
    January 1, 1970
    This is a call to arms hidden in what looks like a snarky, bleak look at our world today. Hiaasen's writing, paired with Roz Chast's illustrations, was a quick and powerful read. I'll be purchasing this for my graduating senior!
  • FloeticFlo
    January 1, 1970
    This. This audiobook for the win! It was only 15 minutes long, but it was a delightful 15 minutes. I literally laughed out loud while listening to it as a drove to my book club on Saturday. But then, Carl Hiaasen through in some utter truth. So it was funny, but it was also honest and realistic. He takes some popular modern sayings and dashes them with some #realtalk. Read the full review on Book Nerds Across America: http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com....
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  • Hari Brandl
    January 1, 1970
    This short but powerful book so closely fits my own world view it is slightly scary.
  • John Everard Griffith
    January 1, 1970
    A satirical speech with a positive message. Written with humour but also with a lot of encouragement to be a responsible adult in a world that need good leadership. It is a quick read. I love this kind of humour because it has a point beyond being entertaining.
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  • John of Canada
    January 1, 1970
    Hiassen jumped from being a clever satirist to a political opportunist.He was one of my favourite authors but has decided to go the foul-mouthed,Trump hating route.I never expected someone as talented as him to go the rabble expedient easy humour route.Pity.
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  • Michael Rudzki
    January 1, 1970
    Some good, practical advice, accompanied by the amazing illustrations of Roz Chast.
  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    A rather short essay, illustrated. Neither the writing nor illustrations are much to get excited about. It's OK.
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Cute! True and to the point. We've been doing it all wrong.
  • Jeri Gabrielson
    January 1, 1970
    The honest graduation speech without platitudes or much hope, frankly. This is a short book you can finish in a half hour but unlikely to forget.
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Fun and irreverent, with black-and-white cartoon illustrations by Roz Chast (I especially liked "Oh, boy! GRUEL!!!" on p. 37).Favorite quotes:"Self-delusion is no virtue. Anyone who tells you the sky's the limit is blowing smoke up your ass. That's not to say you can't achieve something remarkable and enduring. But doing that will be impossible if you fail to grasp your own strengths and weaknesses. In other words, work with what you've got." "Today, in the absence of feral predators, the unfitt Fun and irreverent, with black-and-white cartoon illustrations by Roz Chast (I especially liked "Oh, boy! GRUEL!!!" on p. 37).Favorite quotes:"Self-delusion is no virtue. Anyone who tells you the sky's the limit is blowing smoke up your ass. That's not to say you can't achieve something remarkable and enduring. But doing that will be impossible if you fail to grasp your own strengths and weaknesses. In other words, work with what you've got." "Today, in the absence of feral predators, the unfittest survive longer and cause more damage."
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  • Barb Keltner
    January 1, 1970
    A short, entertaining read with some truth in what he says. One of favorite lines was when he says in his day, there weren't such terms as "active shooter," "ISIS-inspired," and "viral cat video."
  • Robert Yokoyama
    January 1, 1970
    I agree with many of the beliefs that Carl Hiassen writes about in this book. This book may seem negative to some people, but I think this is realistic advice not just people who are graduating, but for anyone. I will strive to be a quick judge of character when I meet someone. This will save me a lot of time trying to figure out if a person is sincere and honest. Another belief that Hiassen dispels is that a person can become anything they want to become in life. This hasn't always been true in I agree with many of the beliefs that Carl Hiassen writes about in this book. This book may seem negative to some people, but I think this is realistic advice not just people who are graduating, but for anyone. I will strive to be a quick judge of character when I meet someone. This will save me a lot of time trying to figure out if a person is sincere and honest. Another belief that Hiassen dispels is that a person can become anything they want to become in life. This hasn't always been true in my life. I studied to become a social worker in my younger years, but I could not pass the classes to become one. The author advises to find something I am good at and work hard to develop it. I started working in theater a few years ago, and I am working toward become a skilled actor and playwright. Another thing I agree with is the importance of worrying. Worrying about things keep my guard up and helps me to pay attention and to prepare for obstacles that come my way. The cartoon illustrations by Roz Chast are fun to read and look at. The cartoon illustrations add to the enjoyment of this book for me.
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  • Dhali
    January 1, 1970
    Takes about 15 mins to read and is charming, funny and honest. I hope he gets to give the speech often.
  • Kathryn Scott
    January 1, 1970
    This...is the truth.The truth. Unvarnished. Ugly, and yet beautiful. Absurd and profound. Tear inducing and belly laugh causing. All at once. Read it. Absorb it. Live it.
  • Lauren Buchanan
    January 1, 1970
    Every graduate should read this. It is real as real gets for expectations for the future. It may sound a little negative at the beginning but the end is a positive message. Quick read, only takes about 15 min.
  • Luella Lee
    January 1, 1970
    Pretty funny and some very wise words.
  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    Snarky, yet brimming with excellent advice. “Live each day as if your rent is due tomorrow.” Put that on a coffee mug. 😉
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Carl Hiaasen is very funny and honest in this graduation speech that will never be given. Realistic and not all together pessimistic.
  • David
    January 1, 1970
    Perhaps the graduation speech you'll never hear, but one that everyone certainly should hear. Hiaasen withholds the usual absurdist humor you'd find in his novels, but does not withhold his acerbic yet witty observations. It's pragmatic and it's fun, even more so due to Roz Chast's illustrations. Students about to graduate, take note. Adults can mostly just nod their head or say "amen", whichever you prefer.
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  • Brittani
    January 1, 1970
    Pragmatic, sincere, and straight to the point in no-nonsense language. This truly is the graduation speech you SHOULD hear instead of the one you usually get!
  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    Hiassen is wonderful and extremely funny.And right!A quick, laugh out loud read.
  • Susannah
    January 1, 1970
    Hell Yeah. The graduation speech we all needed.
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