Review – Erwachsenwerden für Anfänger – Avoiding Adulthood by Paul Hawkins


A few weeks ago, Paul Hawkins, author of How to Operate a Human (English title available now), sent me a nice e-mail asking if I’d be interested in reading his new book “Erwachsenwerden für Anfänger”, Avoiding Adulthood. As someone with slight Peter-Pan-syndrome, I was instantly intrigued.

Erwachsenwerden für Anfänger
Image provided by C.H. Beck¹

Do you think your life would be better if you were allowed to spend your days catching snowflakes and licking cookie dough off a spoon? Maybe you’ve already reached your thirties and you freak out every time someone calls you ma’am or sir. Do you keep asking yourself when and how you should start to act like an adult? Yes? Good, then read on.

Unfortunately, Paul Hawkins can not tell you when to start acting like an adult, but in his book “Erwachsenwerden für Anfänger” he shares lots of tricks to facilitate your life among adults. In the main chapters “Wohnen”, “Leben”, “Lieben”, “Arbeiten” and “Etc.” (E: Work, Spare Time, Relationships, Home and Admin), you will find helpful information to guide you through all kinds of difficult situations. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a new apartment (have you noticed that you lower your expectations with every rejection?) or trying to find out if you and your partner are compatible sleeping partners (and I’m not talking about sex), there is a solution for your problem and it comes with a laugh.

And laugh I did. More than once, I found myself wondering if there was a slight chance that Paul Hawkins had been studying me when he wrote this book. Did he watch me grocery shopping when I was on holiday – a very important skill to acquire -, or is it simply because we’re very close in age? Anyway, if you just can’t part with your inner child and have to find a way to deal with this cruel world out there, go on and read “Erwachsenwerden für Anfänger”. It’s laughing-out-loud funny, I swear!

Update April 2019: An English-language edition called Avoiding Adulthood is now available.

4 Star Rating: Recommended

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Review – Gebrauchsanleitung Mensch – How to Operate a Human by Paul Hawkins


Have you finished your Christmas shopping? No? Do you still need a gift for that friend who’s already got everything, or your brother who doesn’t have a single hobby? I might have the perfect gift for you: How about “Gebrauchsanleitung Mensch” (English title How to Operate a Human) by Paul Hawkins?

Gebrauchsanleitung Mensch
Image provided by C. H. Beck¹

“Gebrauchsanleitung Mensch” is a manual for those who want to find out about all those hidden features the human body holds and for those who already know about them but want to have a good laugh anyways.

The book is divided into chapters like “Hardware” and “Software”, “Recharging”, or “Compatibility” that tell us more about the human body’s physique, needs, emotions, communication and relationships.

“Gebrauchsanleitung Mensch” looks very colorful on the outside, but it’s quite basic on the inside. The various shades of red that color the pages remind me of a dictionary or a lexicon, but they don’t look very pretty. If I had to save ink, I would have chosen to go all black and white instead. Overall, however, the book is fun to read with charts and drawings to break up the text.

While “Gebrauchsanweisung Mensch” follows an original idea and Paul Hawkins has a great sense of humor, I advise you to read in tiny dosages. I overdosed just a little and the book seemed to get less fun the more I read. If you stick to my advice, I’m sure you, your friend, brother, or even your dog will be very happy with this manual.

3 Star Rating: Recommended

Thank you Paul for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.