Book review - 4/5 stars: “101 Things ALL Young Adults Should Know”

Hot Air readers will surely remember the wit and wisdom of John Hawkins, founder of and a number of other websites, who used to contribute to the Green Room. A staple at the Conservative Political Action Conference and an entrepreneur with over 3.5 million Facebook followers for Right Wing News, John decided earlier this year to translate his forty-plus years on this Earth into a book aimed to teach young adults the 101 things Hawkins says they need to know.

John asked me to read and review his book, which I was happy to do. He was one of the first people to welcome me into the conservative movement in 2009, helping me get my start in writing and providing his expertise, partnership, and guidance – as well as, briefly, some part-time employment – right up until I partially moved out of the political scene in January of this year.

In “101 Things ALL Young Adults Should Know,” John deals with young adults in his own unique yet direct and succinct fashion. In 158 easily readable pages, John takes on the traditional realm – Point 9 advises that “Women and men are looking for different reactions when they tell you their problems” – as well as things relevant in the new age – “Pornography is physiologically bad for you” and “Don’t put anything on social media that you would be uncomfortable with the whole world seeing.”

Whether you’re looking for advice on physical health, relationship advice, why working hard and self-forgiveness are key to the future, or why you should have a will, John’s book is sound advice on everyday aspects of American life. There’s even a short chapter on remembering that turning to the right tightens things, and turning to the left loosens the same things back up, and a reminder to love yourself before trying to love someone else.

One of the most impressive things about the book is John’s frankness in using his own life to provide examples for the lessons he wants to get across. Whether related to sex, weight loss, finance, working the best available job instead of the ideal one, or spending smart instead of fast, John lets every reader know that his lessons were often learned the hard way.”

Regretfully, John is forced, by the nature of his target audience, to spend time addressing things that should never need explaining. “Don’t take naked pictures of yourself” and “Nobody owes you a living” are just two of the chapters that leave one hoping and praying that the old adage “if you need an explanation, no explanation will do” doesn’t apply.

I gave this book four out of five stars because it is in many ways the off-color explanation of many truths of life that almost has to be a bit edgy – especially when discussing issues of dating and sex – in order to shock its audience into paying attention. However, there are a lot of references to sex-related topics that were more off-color than necessary.

More importantly, the book barely addressed what every person, young or old, needs to know most of all: Christianity. While largely avoiding religion may make the book less “preachy” to younger Americans, without a religious and spiritual life no person can effectively apply the rest of the book’s advice. And given that the book is dedicated to preaching truth to power for young adults, not preaching on religion means most young adults will miss the most important truths of all.

Hot Air readers will probably appreciate that John told me he viewed the book as a way to introduce Christian and conservative values in a way that would appeal to people of all stripes – not just Christians and conservatives. I tackled this important question in a piece at The Stream that will be up in the near future. Look for it here.