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on 22 May 2011
When he met a man on the bus that told him to say `yes' more, Danny Wallace decided to embark on a project. If you've read Are You Dave Gorman? or Join Me then you will be well acquainted with the obsessive extent that Danny applies himself to such projects as well as his excellent ability to tell a good tale. Yes Man is no different: one hell of an inspirational tale of a remarkably silly yet brilliant idea.

He had been stuck in a rut, his girlfriend had left him and he was becoming a recluse. Persistent nay-saying had started to impact on his health, happiness and friendships; his life fast becoming a cycle or work, television and tea. The man on the bus had sparked a change and had inspired Danny to write The Yes Manifesto: say `yes' to every suggestion, proposal and invitation until the end of the year. That's yes to everything, no matter how ridiculous a yes may be.

With only a single friend holding knowledge of his plans, and a cruel forfeit looming should he fail, a farcical tale ensues to the point where the reader knows not whether to laugh, cringe or cry. Ranging from the innocent extra pints in the pub to a rather sinister trip to Amsterdam to meet a Nigerian bank scammer; Danny's life soon becomes consumed by the lack of power over his decisions.

One dimensional this tale is not. Like every good story, there is a bad guy on the scene. A third-party who becomes aware of his tactics and, in the guise of The Challenger, sets him on quests which he must say `yes' to. Unrelenting, Danny sticks to the manifesto and aims to see his task through several months until the stroke of midnight at New Year.

This is a hugely inspirational read and, despite being written from a comic angle, makes a serious point about the decisions that we take in our lives day in and day out. The thesis being that saying `yes' more will enrich our lives, a thesis that proved by Danny time and time again. Unfortunately for him however, saying `yes' without exception is predictably going to get you in trouble sooner or later.

It is impossible to read this and not admire Danny's resolve. As with the majority of elaborate plans, his endeavours are initially exciting but soon appear pointless and destructive. Whilst his life benefits from some of his yeses, not giving himself the opportunity to say `no' soon begins to impact on his personal relationships and also seriously on his finances. It is hilarious to observe Danny awkwardly share dinner with his ex-girlfriend and her new lover or to watch him say `yes' to an angry bloke in a club who poses the question, "are you looking at my girlfriend?" It is however equally despairing, car-crash stuff. At the point where he should really be saying to himself that enough is enough, he just keeps on saying `yes'.

The story sells itself and propelled in whichever direction the yeses take it but the fact that it comes from Danny Wallace gives it that extra edge. The abandon with which he throws himself into his task creates the extra drama that would no-way exist had another person come up with this idea. There is also the fact that Danny is eminently likeable. Not only is the story told in the simple and jovial way as though it could be a tale told down the pub, the reader is likely to end up wanting to buy him a beer if they ever bump into him down the pub. Danny throws his wit and character into this book in a remarkably honest way that is wholly endearing.

The emotion in this tale runs so high in the closing stages that hairs stand up on the back of the neck. Remember, this is a true story about one man's life and a word that changes his life in more ways than he could ever have imagined. Take from it what you will, be that inspiration, a light laugh of the opportunity to shake your head and tut. I guarantee you that you'll be glad that you read this however and that you learned about the crazy life owned by Danny Wallace.
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on 21 August 2006
This book is great! its starts off with danny. our hero of this tale. however at the start, he is rather dull, and seems to lost his love for life, while taking a bus home, a strange man tells him to " say yes more" and in true danny wallace fashion, he does exactly that, which leads him all around the world. and leads to some very funny situations!
In danny's "yess manifesto" it says he has to say yes to everything, including all invites and requests etc.

so when danny has ges a span email from " the son of a murdered sultan" danny see's the positive side of it, and ends up trying to help him out! eventually he ends up in amsterdam, and I wont spoil that escapade for you!

this is a highly enjoyable book, which is easy going, and makes great light reading! it also ends up giving you a whole new outlook on life, and renember! si a Todo!
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on 1 August 2006
I cannot express how much i loved reading this book and am now passing it on to every friend, member of my family, co-worker, aquaintance and passer by who will take it!

This is the funniest book I have read in a very long time and any book that makes me laugh out loud on nearly every page is a definite winner!

Danny has a unique and self-depricating style of writing with fantastic dry humour. Every chapter brought a new adventure - my personal favourite must be the Amsterdam adventure due to Danny's little canine friend! haha Although i loved Barcelona & Marc too!

I challenge anyone not to smile whilst reading this book - it is such a breath of fresh air. Get hold of a copy now!

Si A Todo!
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on 9 September 2014
i have just started reading this for the 2nd time (the first being a number of years ago), and although i dont remember the specific moments of the book, i am already reminded of the brilliance of it. its constantly funny, well written, and above all, a fun read.
in my opinion, the preface of a book is one of the worst parts (just beaten by the waste of ink that is the "acknowledgements" section) but i read the prefaces anyway. and this one was an example of the greatness of the narrative your about to read. the first preface ive ever enjoyed. and the book has already got me by the mangos, and i cant wait to read on.
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on 2 June 2015
I've just rediscovered this book after it got buried on a bookcase for, according to the receipt I used as a bookmark, 9 years! I remember absolutely belly-laughing to bits of this the first time round and I'm pleased to report I enjoyed it every bit as much the second - OK, some of it is a tiny bit dated (self-rewinding VHS tapes anyone?), but the general themes and narrative are pretty timeless. I love Danny's style of writing (see, I'm on first name terms with him such is his friendly, chatty way!) and found it really easy to get swept along with his adventures. He always seems like quite a genuine bloke and you do get quite invested in things working out well for Danny the narrator/character. While it's not claiming to be a modern work of philosophy, the idea / encouragement to act positively and see life as a series of opportunities is attractive, and it's nice to see he included some of the bad results as well as the good to give the book a fairly rounded and realistic feel. The episode with the street artists portrait of him in Amsterdam had me giggling like an idiot to myself on the train home, which sums up the book really - don't take yourself, or it, too seriously, just enjoy it!
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on 6 June 2015
You'll find that pretty much every customer review raves about the positivity of the message. And it is a good message. The trouble is, though, that you're probably already very familiar with it by now. Indeed, you may well have watched the film (which I rate as better than this book).

The execution of the book's neat idea is pretty average. Wallace's misadventures are underwhelming and on at least one occasion (when he sits in on an ex-girlfriend's date) really painful to read. Wallace tries to get around the predictably tedious disappointments that come from skipping down rabbit holes of scam email offers and unappealing social invitations by trying very, very hard to be funny. And that's pretty much as grating as it sounds. Do you have a friend who loves to tell boring anecdotes because he thinks his observations and enthusiasm are enough to make them entertaining? He's that guy. I recommend reading just the introduction, though, and seeing if you agree with me.

The part I probably liked best was when, faced with the tube not running, he decided to embark on a long walk home from work and in doing so had a rich experience of being present and taking in stuff he normally took for granted. He doesn't try to make jokes about it (if I recall correctly) and he describes it plainly and earnestly. It's a vignette that perfectly sums up the book's whole purpose of "saying 'yes' to life". Between that moment (and its admittedly uplifting ending) is, to my tastes, a lot of tedium made worse by desperate efforts to dress it up as whimsy.
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on 6 February 2015
As a fan of Tony Hawks, it was probably only a matter of time before I ended up delving into the strange world of Danny Wallace. I'd heard of the rather strange things he'd got up to with his friend Dave Gorman without ever seeing the TV series or reading the books and thought that they would be an ideal way of filling the time before the next Tony Hawks book.

The set up for "Yes Man" is a bit more random than with Tony Hawks' adventures, as the latter tends to accept a bet from his friends. Danny Wallace, however, happened to end up sitting next to some random guy on a bus who advised him to "Say Yes More". Danny, realising that his life had become less exciting in recent times thanks to his ability to turn down invites to more or less anything, took him at face value.

What follows is Danny's story of events over the months following that decision. Danny decides to become the Yes Man and say yes to anything that requires a yes or no answer. This is a pretty simple thing to do if the question to hand is "Are you coming down the pub tonight?" or, once there, "Would you like another drink?" At first, Danny's friend Ian thinks this is as far as he's going to take things and is horrified that Danny is not only going to say "yes" to everything, but plans to keep it up for a number of months.

This leads Danny all over the world and into all kinds of strange situations. He finds himself having to accept when offered the opportunity to buy "The Amazing Penis Patch" and putting himself in any number of uncomfortable and embarrassing situations. However, it's not all bad, as Danny also gets ahead at work and gets to travel to lots of exciting new places and try things he never thought he would. He gets to expand his mind as well as his horizons and nearly makes large amounts of money, which is probably just as well, as saying yes to everything does get pretty expensive.

Much like Tony Hawks, Danny Wallace's writing style is quite relaxed and chatty and at the same time, brutally honest. There is only a single incident which he fails to reveal the full details of, although even here he does return to fill in the gaps a little later on. Generally, however, we get to hear even the events that would have caused him the greatest embarrassment, which mostly involve his dealings with his ex-girlfriend Hanne and his friend Wag, who inadvertently end up being on the receiving end of some of Danny's stranger acceptances.

The result of this is that we end up laughing at Danny nearly as much as we end up laughing with him. Whilst this isn't a comedy book as such, it is filled with strange situations that you can barely help but find humour in. There were a lot of moments I found myself laughing out loud at something Danny had just done, or when I realised what was about to happen to him. As I tend to do a lot of my reading on the London Underground or on buses, this can be an embarrassing situation for me as well, but I couldn't help myself.

Part of the beauty of "Yes Man" is that many of the things Danny gets to say yes to are the things that might come up in our every day lives. Virtually all of us will have had the spam E-Mails that offer to sell him the "Amazing Penis Patch" and the offers for credit cards. Many of us will have been accosted in the street by people seeking donations to one charity or another and there are very few of us who have ever picked up the phone at home and found a telesales person on the other end, although I doubt that any of us have confused them to the extent that Danny Wallace does. In so many of the situations, we can relate to what Danny is saying yes to. This isn't a strange idea plucked from thin air, this is simply real life taken to the extremes and recounted in a pretty amusing way.

The book isn't perfect, though. One downside is that Danny meets a group who believe there could be more to the man on the bus than just a random encounter and this becomes a minor preoccupation for Danny for a little while. This may not be a distraction for someone who gives rein to their spiritual side, but as my interests don't lean in that direction, it didn't sit quite right for me. The other down side is that the book seems to fade towards the ending and there are moments of pithy sentimentality which do let it down slightly.

These are really minor concerns, however. For any fan of the slightly silly challenges and subsequent books undertaken by the likes of Tony Hawks and Dave Gorman, Danny Wallace is a decent addition to the genre. Even allowing for the slightly less effective moments, you have nothing to lose by saying yes.

This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
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on 2 July 2008
honestly one of my favourite books of all time. Really changed my attitude to be even more positive, and do things that you may not particularly feel like doing, cos it will usually be brilliant. inspiring, and all round brilliant. can't recommend it enough.
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on 10 January 2016
A brilliant book with a serious message. How would our lives change if we just said 'yes' more? Danny Wallace writes of his experience of doing just that. Funny and strangely inspiring. I read this years ago and still remember it and still find myself thinking about it when I am inclined to say 'no'.

Should you buy it? What would Danny say?
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on 2 February 2008
This book is something special. It will make you laugh out loud, it might even make you cry, and what's probably more important, it can teach you, as it taught me, something very important about life.

I don't think most people know or ever think about how a decision they make today can impact on their lives in 2 or 3 months time. I know I've never thought about life in those terms before.

It's a very enjoyable read and a real adventure, so no wonder it's being made into a film starring Jim Carrey. I only hope the film does the book justice. According to Danny, who's already read the script, it does. So I can't wait to see it.

Something else: after you've read this book, you'll become incredibly self conscious of saying "no" to things.

As well as entertaining me for many hours, I think this book has probably affected me to an extent I won't know of for several months or years.

I'm glad I said yes to buying it and I eagerly await the movie!
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