Book notes: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling book review summary and key ideas.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Synopsis:

“Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.” -Audible

Opening thoughts:

I knew of Mindy because I knew she was an actress on some shows. But after watching The Office, and finding out she was one of the writers, I gained much more respect for her and her work. I think this came up under recommended books in Audible, but hopefully this is just as entertaining as her comedy style.

Key notes:

  • One lesson she will impart to her children is if you are scared of something, that isn’t a sign you have to do it
    • It probably means you shouldn’t do it
    • Call dad or call mom immediately
  • In high school, don’t be so worried about being the most popular or pretty or best athlete or anything
    • Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but referencing your high school successes later in life makes you seem pitiful
  • It’s okay to be a quiet, observant kid
    • You’ll have plenty of time later in life to catch up
    • It’s okay to be overlooked in high school
  • When she picks songs for karaoke, she has 3 concerns:
    1. What will this song say about her?
    2. How will she sound singing it?
    3. How will it make people feel?
      • The key is that the third one matters the most by a factor of 100
  • She’s the type of person who would rather get her hopes up really high and watch them get dashed to pieces than wisely keep her expectations at bay and hope they are exceeded
  • Stress is always a terrible topic for conversation because nobody wants to hear about how stressed you are
    • Most of the time, everyone else is stressed as well
  • Advice: Write your own part
    • It is the only way she’s gotten anywhere
    • It is much harder work but sometimes you have to take destiny into your own hands
Her Favorite Comedy Moments
  • Will Ferrell in Anchorman
  • “Racial Draft Pick” on Chapelle Show
  • Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights
  • Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids
  • Michael Scott hitting Meredith with his car on The Office
  • Writing at its heart is a solitary pursuit
  • An Irish Exit is when you leave a party without telling anyone, presumably it is because you are too drunk to form words
  • A French Exit is when you leave a party early without saying goodbye to anyone and not paying your share of the bill
Her Guide to Being an Awesome Guy
  1. Buy a well-fitting peacoat from J.Crew or a designer one on sale Black looks good on everyone and matches everything. Charcoal gray also works
  2. Have a signature drink like James Bond
  3. Own several pairs of dark washed straight leg jeans. Not boot cut or skinny, just a nice pair of Levi’s with no embellishments
  4. Wait until all the women have gotten on or off an elevator before you get on or off
  5. When you think a girl looks pretty, say it but don’t reference a thing that might reveal you know the backstage process
    • Ex: “You look gorgeous tonight” vs “I like how you did your make up
    • Also, a complement means less if you complement the thing and not te way the girl is carrying it off
      • Ex: “You look so sexy in those boots” vs “Those boots are really cool
  6. Avoid asking if someone needs help in the kitchen at a party and just start helping. Same goes with dishes.
  7. Have one great cologne that’s not from the drugstore. Wear very little of it all of the time
  8. Your girlfriends siblings or parents may be totally nuts, but always defend them
  9. Kiehls for your skin, Bumble and Bumble for your hair
    1. Maybe a comb, that is all you need
  10. She thinks guys only need two pairs of shoes. A nice pair of black shoes and A pair of Chuck Taylors
    • The key is to replace your chuck Taylor’s every single year
  11. Bring wine or chocolate to everything
  12. Get a little jealous now and again, even if you’re not strictly a jealous guy
  • Her mom has said that when one person in a relationship is unhappy, it usually means two people are unhappy but one hasn’t come to terms with it yet
  • Like her parents as an example, she thinks a good marriage is between two pals, not necessarily best friends
  • Any marriage is work, but you might as well pick work that you like

Main ideas / Themes:

  • It’s okay to be a quiet, observant kid. You’ll catch up later in life
  • Write your own part. Take destiny into your own hands
  • Being an “Awesome Guy” is mostly about simplicity in fashion and taking care of yourself the right ways
  • A good marriage is between two pals
  • Any marriage is work, so be sure to pick the work you like

Closing thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book and how entertaining it was to follow Mindy’s stories. I can tell she is definitely a writer in how she tells stories and and actress by how she reads and brings life to her stories.

I can totally see her style of comedy in The Office, and it shows. It’s also really cool how she had all of this inside scoop on the show’s production, as well as stories about working as a writer in Hollywood. So far, this is my only autobiography about a TV show comedy writer.

While there might not be many takeaways to this book, it was definitely a hilarious and very enjoyable read.

One Takeaway / Putting into practice:

There are a couple of good takeaways from this book but my selection for the ONE takeaway I’ll put into practice is:

  • Write your own part!

I think this comes in handy as I move into the creative field and want to make a name for myself as a social media influencer / content creator. If I want to play in the funny and comedic roles, I’d better write them!

Also in general, it’s great advice that nothing happens without taking initiative.

Nutshell:

Mindy Kaling details her life growing up and her rise to stardom after being on The Office, along with some life lessons.

Rating:

3/5

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