Monday, April 2, 2018

B is for By the Book

Welcome to Day 2 of the A-Z Challenge. This year I am reviewing podcasts. Day 2 is the letter B, and the podcast I will be reviewing is By the Book, one of my all time favorite podcasts.

By the Book is hosted by Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer. The premise is simple. They follow the rules of popular self-help books for two weeks. They record some real-time audio with the help of their long suffering husbands and friends, and then they get together to discuss how their weeks went and whether or not they would recommend that particular self-help book to their listeners.

iTunes categorizes this podcast under Comedy. It absolutely is hilarious, but I would categorize it as Self-help with a comedic twist.

What's my time commitment here?
Episodes run every week. The episodes follow a 2 week cycle. In week 1 they discuss how the book went and give it a thumbs up or down. This lasts about 40-50 minutes. In week 2 (which they call the Epilogue) they do a shorter episode where they read messages from their listeners and announce what the next week's book will be. These last approximately 25 minutes. 

There is occasional language in this podcast. There might be episodes where the language is fine, but sometimes the F-word will appear from out of the blue, right when you decided it was a perfectly acceptable episode to listen to with your children in the room. Their second season just ended with two episodes so blue that it hurt me to listen to them. If language bugs you, skip those for sure (you'll know which ones I'm talking about the minute you see them. I believe they were a one-time thing.)

My Review:
I love Jolenta and Kristen and their husbands. They allow themselves to be super vulnerable in this show, and they have earned a place in my heart. I have found some amazing books by listening to them, and I have also found the holes in other books that I might not otherwise have noticed--mainly this--that many of us live lives of privilege and cannot always speak to what would work in the lives of people who don't. And did I mention that they do all this while being completely hilarious?  Sometimes I look like a crazy person driving down the road laughing hysterically while tears stream down my cheeks.

You can listen to By the Book here or where ever you listen to podcasts.


  1. I can just imagine how this would sound. Good one. I can't stick with self-help ideas for 2 days let alone 2 weeks.

    Susanne Living the Dream

  2. Visiting from the A-Z. Humour is the only way to go with self help books I find.


  3. Definitely! They can be hilarious or heartbreaking, depending on your attitude.

  4. This sounds like it's right up my alley. I love funny & real, and these gals sound like they do it well. Another good post! Thanks!

  5. I think that you need humour with self-help books otherwise they can be difficult to read or you just tune out.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

  6. What a fun podcast and great way to decide if a self-help book is worth the purchase. Weekends In Maine

  7. This sounds like a podcast that would be really enjoyable - and a good laugh. I like that some things must work if you are interested in buying some of the books they recommend. I might have a look at it when I come up for air after the AtoZ!

    Leanne |
    C for Consider Every Angle

  8. I am definitely going to listen to this one. Thanks for the recommendation.
    C at Kohl Eyed Me
    C at Something's Cooking

  9. I am thunderstruck by the idea of basing a podcast on self-help books AND they got their husbands to go along with it! LOL..Very clever.
    JQ Rose

  10. As a Life Coach (with a sense of humour) this sounds bang on target for me. Thanks Melanie :)

    A-Zing this year at:
    Normally found at:

  11. I confess to never having heard a podcast and still am unsure whether I would want to! I am trying to get away from as much social media and its various analogues to switch off into a me-zone!

  12. This podcast sounds super interesting. Thank you for the in depth review. You chose a neat theme for the A to Z Challenge.

  13. I'm going to look for this online - it sounds super interesting. Never liked the self-help genre.

  14. I've heard good things about these ladies (didn't realize they were a bit sweary though) and it would be good to hear some humour attached to all the intensity of self-help books.

    Leanne |
    Q for Quality not Quantity