Whether you're a writer, an athlete, a musician, an artist, or just a person trying to get by, rejection happens. And it sucks big time.
From auditions to job applications to asking people out, a huge part of life is putting yourself out there. Just being a person in this world risks that you may not succeed at whatever you're doing. But, remember, rejection does not equal failure. There are infinite reasons for why you didn't make the cut, many of them banal and out of your control. It just means that this particular opportunity wasn't the right fit for you at the moment.
The thing is, rejection happens to everyone. Marlon James' first book was rejected 78 times, and now he's won the Man Booker Prize. J.K. Rowling had Harry Potter turned down numerous times (Boy, do those editors have egg on their face now.) And we've all heard the legend of how even Michael Jordan was rejected from his high school basketball team, and that dude was in Space Jam.
I know, it's hard not to take it personally, and it may just flat out feel terrible for a while. But these books will empower you, uplift you, give you advice, and remind you that you're not alone. So take a swig of that special stuff that makes you who you are and get back out there.
1. I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloan Crosley
This beloved collection follows a character who "aims for the stars but hits the ceiling." Hilariously filled with lovable mishaps, painting a dazzlingly wild portrait of NYC, this book is a fun way to celebrate all the things in life that don't go quite as planned.
2. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
This book is a great reminder to be confident in who you are. A collection of essays written by the creator of the Awkward Black Girl web series, Issa Rae reflects on her experiences as an introverted black girl in a culture where black is glorified as "cool." Funny, charming, and relatable, this book will pick you up, even when you feel like you don't belong.
3. Almost Famous Women: Stories by Megan Mayhew Bergman
The stories of remarkable, badass women who gave it all, made difficult choices, and (until now) have been forgotten. From Lord Byron's illegitimate daughter Allegra to West With the Night author Beryl Markham, each of these women will resonate with anyone who's given it their all.
4. Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
This practical guide will help you formulate your plan for what's next. A how-to for creatives on getting yourself known. Austin Kleon is a master at channeling the creative spirit and celebrating the uniqueness of your hard work. This is a book that will help you make things happen.
5. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
This memoir is, in a word, energizing. When Amanda Palmer was fresh out of college, she began making money by being a living statue of a bride, putting out a hat for change. While she went on to become an internationally adored musician, her experience as The Bride has gone on to inform and inspire Palmer's brilliant work philosophy. As Palmer takes you through her artistic biography, you'll feel like you can make your own success.
6. Tenth of December by George Saunders
These short stories by celebrated author George Saunders are fantastic reminders of how remarkable humankind is. Filled with tales of heroic feats, hard work, and the ultimate goodness in people, Tenth of December will remind you of all that you can achieve.
7. How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
This book is both a meditation and a journey, diving into the artistic life and the trials that come with it. Asking the question of how a person should be in this world, this book will give you some solidarity, help you think about your own journey as a creative individual, and lead you to new ways of thinking about what you want to make out of your life.
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