Cool, Calm & Contentious

By Merrill Markoe

Book Cover: Cool, Calm & ContentiousI did not know who Merrill Markoe was when I first saw her touting this book on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but she was so funny on the show and the excerpts from the book were so funny that I immediately put my name on the waiting list at the library. Apparently along with everyone else in Boulder, too, because it took several months for the book to come to me.

Then, I mentioned the book to my office-mate, and she caught me up that Markoe was a comedy writer for David Letterman and dated him for several years, which was good information to have for several of the essays which discuss her love life in satirically veiled terms.

I expected the book to be really funny; what I didn’t expect was for it to be so insightful. At least three different points she makes were directly applicable to my life, and at least one has already made an improvement in my life. How many books can you say that about? Especially ones that are already sidesplitting.

I have to warn that one of the essays, about two-thirds of the way through the book, starts funny like all the others, but then veers into pretty dark territory. After that, it is all comedy again, but it threw me for a bit of a loop.


2 comments on “Cool, Calm & Contentious

  1. Rebecca says:

    What kind of insightful and how were they applicable?

    One of my classes keeps assigning self-help books but I really do prefer the kind that this book sounds like, where the author comes at various issues from an angle rather than directly and with a large serving of humor.

    • Anna says:

      It’s true, I think it is much more successful to give advice by having the author tell stories about what worked in their own life, as opposed to just telling the reader what to do. I want to avoid specific spoilers, but Markoe describes figuring out how to deal with her very difficult mother, and it gave me some very successful techniques for dealing with some of the difficult people in my life.

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