Cover image for Life is not a stress rehearsal : bringing yesterday's sane wisdom into today's insane world
Life is not a stress rehearsal : bringing yesterday's sane wisdom into today's insane world
LaRoche, Loretta, 1939-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Broadway Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
223 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF575.S75 L275 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BF575.S75 L275 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BF575.S75 L275 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BF575.S75 L275 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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For most of us, life has become such a pressure cooker of unrealistic expectations, information overload, relentless marketing, and workaholism that we spend our days stressed out over being stressed out. Guided by the timeless wisdom of her grandmother Francesca, renowned stress coach and humorist Loretta LaRoche makes us see the wisdom of a more civilized time, when no one carried a cell phone during a peaceful walk on the beach. Life Is Not a Stress Rehearsal takes an honest and hilarious look at the gizmos, self-help regimens, talking heads, comfort products, nutrition plans, and sexual freedoms that we have all come to believe will make our lives better. She shows us that in many ways, they're filling our lives with more stress and insanity and keeping us isolated from the thing that matters most in any healthy life: real human connection.
When you spend time with children or family, does it feel like you're wasting time that could be spent working? Do you spend more time preparing for the gym than exercising? Do you read about sex, but never go on dates? Do you carry a beeper or cell phone wherever you go even though you're not a trauma surgeon? Then Life Is Not a Stress Rehearsal is the book for you. With Loretta LaRoche's signature mix of lighthearted insight and cutting-edge research, it will teach you how to take a step back and see the insanity for what it really is, take lessons from the way life used to be, and find your way to becoming a calmer, saner person. Among the topics Loretta discusses are:
*Just Have Some Lasagna and Shut Up : On Living Without Guilt
*A Three-Dollar Bottle of Water : On Consumerism and Common Sense
*Edgar Allan Poe in Analysis: On Individuality and Our Culture of Self-Improvement.
*Why Watch People Talk When You Can Talk to People?: On Turning to Mass Media for Connection
With Loretta's contemporary wit and a hearty dose of Francesca's old-world wisdom, Life Is Not a Stress Rehearsal is a breath of fresh air for everyone who's suffocating in our techno-crazed, germ-phobic, go-go-go world. By teaching you to slow down, smell the roses, and even laugh at yourself again, Life Is Not a Stress Rehearsal will allow you to take a step back from the lunacy that your life has become. It will remind you of a simpler, saner time, when what matters and what doesn't was a little easier to see, and lets you separate the noise that surrounds you from the wisdom within.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Stress-management consultant LaRoche (Relax! You May Only Have a Few Minutes Left) asks us to slow down, turn off the cell phones and laugh at modern society's absurdities. She points out that sedentary Americans obsessively work out at the gym, but never take the stairs or go for a walk; we watch sitcom families on TV, but don't spend time with our own families; we buy brand names instead of generic products simply because they impart statusall part of her lament at our collective loss of perspective. Unfortunately, as these examples suggest, most of LaRoche's points will come as no surprise to even the most stressed-out and status-conscious readers. Her breezy statements about the war between the sexes are also problematic ("The brains of men and women are patterned differently, and it happened over tens of thousands of years when we lived in tribes in the wilderness"). Finally, while some readers will appreciate LaRoche's good-natured pep talk, they may find her unbridled enthusiasm for exclamation points grating, as well as her constant use of throw-away expressions like "Listen," "I mean," etc., which are better suited to the motivational speaker lecture circuit than the printed page. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Relax! This is just more advice from an expert on stress management. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



One Edgar Allan Poe and Cousin Ignatz On individuality and our culture of self-improvement I TOOK A TRIP RECENTLY to Los Angeles to give a corporate presentation, and the company I was speaking to put me up in one of the hip, trendy hotels in town. It's one of those places that is so hot, there's not even a sign outside to identify it. So if you're driving along Sunset Boulevard looking for it, you'd better know where you're going before you get there. I guess the idea is that if you're cool enough to stay there, you'll know where it is, and if not, it's the Days Inn for you. How's that for a warm welcoming attitude to start things off right? Despite that, it's actually quite a nice hotel and has a fantastic restaurant and the staff found me pretty funny and entertaining to have around. They all walked around acting as if they barely noticed when a Sophia Loren clone checked in--but I could tell that it was all an act. The staff's disaffected and elitist attitude was part of what the hotel was selling. But I wouldn't buy it. I tried desperately to make them see the scene as I did: as a Fellini rerun. I'd make funny bored faces at them and grab my head with mock dismay and say things like, "Oh, God, no! Not another sunny day," or look disdainfully at a magnificent plate of calamari fritti and say, "How dull to have to eat like this day in and day out." I think another reason they liked me is that just about every other guest I saw come and go in the lobby of that hotel looked and acted exactly the same. It was a little scary, as if I was watching a year 2000 version of The Stepford Wives. Everyone wore black t-shirts with black-framed narrow sunglasses and a white linen jacket and talked into a cell phone and carried a black leather shoulder bag out of which popped a bottle of mineral water. They all looked and acted as if this was the most boring place they'd ever been, and that they were totally unimpressed with the surroundings and the other people. Not a single eye looked around the room as if it were interested in what might be there, not a single voice said nice things to the staff, like "we're glad to be here!" Or "what a nice place you have here!" No, everyone was disinterested in everyone else and made it clear that they were so jaded that being in this lovely hotel meant nothing to them. I guess being bored to tears has become a status symbol. For me, the whole experience was stifling! The vitality, the energy, the joy, was totally missing. I was surrounded by people whose body language and temperament were like zombies, and the way they dressed was so incredibly dull that they might as well have been wearing a school uniform from 1957. No one looked eccentric, unusual, or interesting. Rather than standing out as individuals, they disappeared as if part of a huge ant farm. This phenomenon worries me, and I think it's something that can be seen across our entire culture. We're becoming a very bland, vanilla society in which "fitting in" is critically important to people. It makes sense, of course, given the mass media and constant marketing that is now such an inherent part of our society. After all, we are all constantly presented with the same models of perfection. We all look at photos of the same beautiful people in magazines, we all watch the same talking heads on television, we all go to see movies starring the same movie stars with the same disaffected personas. We all shop in malls that are so cookie-cutter that we can't tell if we're in our own town or in Outer Mongolia. We all listen to the same talk-show hosts and the same radio shows, so we're all constantly being given the same advice. So before you know it, everybody wants the same clothes and strives to look like a model for J. Crew or Banana Republic or The Gap. Everybody goes to the same exercise classes fighting for the same body fat percentage. Everybody wants the same haircut and the same bone structure and the same nose. Everybody strives to have the same psychologically even temperament and the same balance of aggressiveness, empathy, cynicism and responsibility. Social critic Bill McKibben states that "Boomers are the first generation born into the TV world--and thus conceived in the full-blown consumer society that has gotten more intense with every year. They're the first generation, for instance, to have watched something like 400,000 television commercials before age 20." What this leads to is a world in which we all are trying to fit a very narrow model of what's deemed by the media as acceptable in our society. And what's "in" is someone who is fit with washboard abs, who is well groomed, who wears clothes that look like they come from a chain store with wood paneling (or who may have a tattoo and a pierced navel to be edgy and hip, which is also "in"), who earns a respectable amount of money, who lives in a home in an upscale neighborhood, who has an even temper, who isn't in any way depressed or obsessive or manic or eccentric, who drives the proper car (or sport-utility vehicle) and who smells like something from the Body Shop. Anybody who doesn't fit within maybe a narrow 10% range of what the society considers "normal" today is seen as some sort of deviant. Do you doubt that we're pressured to "fit in?" Think for a minute about the massive industry today devoted to "self help." There seems to be no limit to the stuff that people will write books about. Something like three thousand new self-help books get published every year. Who would have guessed that we could have so many things wrong with us? The subjects just get more and more narrow: books for adults with depression. Books for women on running with the wolves. Books for people with borderline personality disorder. I really saw a book the other day that promised to cure people of attention deficit disorder. Excuse me, but how are you going to get someone who has attention deficit disorder to SIT STILL LONG ENOUGH TO READ A BOOK? The issue for me is this: these books, and the other media that produce endless self-help material--the magazines and talk shows and websites and newspaper columns--all contribute to a world in which we are constantly assaulted with the message that we have to fit a perfect mold, or else we're screwed up. How could people not feel this way? These days, if you read a magazine or watch television or look at bookstore shelves or read the newspapers, you can be damn sure you'll find some malady being discussed that will sound a little bit like something that affects you. Excerpted from Life Is Not a Stress Rehearsal: Bringing Yesterday's Sane Lifestyle into Today's Insane World by Loretta LaRoche All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.