On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard (Hardcover)
An inspirational memoir about how Jennifer Pastiloff's years of waitressing taught her to seek out unexpected beauty, how hearing loss taught her to listen fiercely, how being vulnerable allowed her to find love, and how imperfections can lead to a life full of wild happiness.
Centered around the touchstone stories Jen tells in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the story of how a starved person grew into the exuberant woman she was meant to be all along by battling the demons within and winning.
Jen did not intend to become a yoga teacher, but when she was given the opportunity to host her own retreats, she left her thirteen-year waitressing job and said “yes,” despite crippling fears of her inexperience and her own potential. After years of feeling depressed, anxious, and hopeless, in a life that seemed to have no escape, she healed her own heart by caring for others. She has learned to fiercely listen despite being nearly deaf, to banish shame attached to a body mass index, and to rebuild a family after the debilitating loss of her father when she was eight. Through her journey, Jen conveys the experience most of us are missing in our lives: being heard and being told, “I got you.”
Exuberant, triumphantly messy, and brave, On Being Human is a celebration of happiness and self-realization over darkness and doubt. Her complicated yet imperfectly perfect life path is an inspiration to live outside the box and to reject the all-too-common belief of “I am not enough.” Jen will help readers find, accept, and embrace their own vulnerability, bravery, and humanness.
About the Author
Jennifer Pastiloff travels the world with her unique workshop On Being Human, a hybrid of yoga-related movement, writing, sharing aloud, letting the snot fly, and the occasional dance party. Jennifer is a frequent contributor to SHAPE Magazine, including SHAPE Escape at Miraval Resort and the Women Run the World initiative, and she has been featured on Good Morning America, New York Magazine, Health Magazine, CBS News, and others for her unique style of teaching, which she has taught to thousands of women in sold-out workshops all over the world. Jen is also the guest speaker at Canyon Ranch, and she leads Writing and The Body workshops with author Lidia Yuknavitch, as well as retreats with Emily Rapp Black. Founder of the online magazine The Manifest-Station, when Jen is not traveling she is based in Los Angeles with her husband and son and a cup of coffee.
"With harrowing vulnerability and badass candor, Jen Pastiloff has written a gritty and passionate memoir."
“[A] powerful account of hearing loss and learning to communicate in a new way—through yoga, gratitude and radical honesty.”
—People, “The Best New Books”
"On Being Human is heartbreaking and triumphant. And it has plenty to teach us about listening, forgiving, and ultimately, finding peace."
“In On Being Human, Jennifer Pastiloff shares the story of how she left her 13-year waitressing job to become a yoga teacher, despite her fears about her inexperience. These days, she's a widely-regarded and beloved speaker, and in her memoir, she tracks her inspirational journey from a life of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness to one of contentment, gratitude, and bravery.”
—Bustle, “21 New Memoirs That Will Inspire, Motivate, And Captivate You This Summer.”
“Centered around touchstone stories that she shares in her workshops, Pastiloff tells the story about how one can battle their own demons to grow into the person they were always meant to be.”
—Today.com, “20 beach reads you won't want to put down”
“A searing, riveting narrative.”—Tablet Magazine
"A memoir beautifully wrapped in inspiration and self-discovery that can speak to almost anyone. . . . It's raw, real, and truly a story on 'being human.' There are universal messages revealed in this book about waking up and genuinely living your truth."
“This memoir details the author's life journey with refreshing honesty, outlining the path she took to (finally) start a fulfilling career and build a family after struggling with hearing loss and the death of her father. This is definitely worth reading if you’re in need of a bit of inspiration this summer.”
—Better Homes & Gardens, “13 New Books We Can't Wait to Read This Summer.”
“In this candid memoir, Manifest-Station blogger Pastiloff transforms from a troubled restaurant server at a celebrity haunt in Santa Monica, Calif., into a yoga teacher and maven for self-discovery...Readers feeling stuck in their lives will devour this inspiring story of a woman finding her way.”
“This book actually changed my life.”
—Lindsay Tucker, Yoga Journal
“This is an openhearted, therapeutic journey that's perhaps a little like one of Pastiloff's workshops in book form.”
“Kick off a summer of self-love with Jennifer Pastiloff's On Being Human, a treatise on the importance of embracing vulnerabilities and imperfections, and of loving deeply, bravely, and with compassion.”
—Bustle, “50 New Books Of Summer 2019 To Read By The Pool, In The Park, And On The Beach.”
“The year’s uplifting memoir has arrived. Jennifer Pastiloff shares her unusual life story, from growing up deaf in a broken home to working as a waitress in L.A. for decades to creating On Being Human, a now-famous yoga workshop and retreat. Pastiloff is a self-professed ‘beauty hunter.’ In this honest and vulnerable book, she’ll show you her way.”
“The book is constructed as a memoir of Pastiloff's earlier life waitressing, but it's much more than that: a love letter to yoga, a self-help book, a spiritual how-to guide, and more. Fans of Cheryl Strayed will flock to the raw, earned healing and personal growth.”
“I devoured On Being Human in one sitting—nodding, laughing and connecting from the first word to the last. Jen Pastiloff is a brave and vulnerable leader whose book will help people take a deep breath, recognize themselves, and understand each other. What more can we ask of a book?”
—Glennon Doyle, author of #1 New York Times Bestseller Love Warrior and founder of Together Rising
“On Being Human is beautiful and tender, profound and absorbing. I never wanted to put it down. In writing with such clarity and honesty about her jagged path to becoming, Jennifer Pastiloff has told the story of not only herself, but so many of us. I was consoled by this book and also inspired. On every page I felt the presence and the power of Pastiloff’s brave and gigantic heart. This is a book friends will tell friends they have to read for years to come. It’s an important, enthralling debut.”
—Cheryl Strayed, author of #1 New York Times Bestseller Wild
“This is a memoir at once strong and vulnerable, an absorbing account of Jennifer Pastiloff’s inner life, filled with humor and inspiration and sincerity.”
—Andrew Solomon, National Book Award-winning author of Far from the Tree
“Jen Pastiloff is the only human ray of sunshine who could ever make me earnestly consider incorporating unpalatable things like ‘manifesting joy’ and ‘listening’ (UGH) into my life. This book is a treasure.”
—Samantha Irby, author of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life and Meaty
“This book is a beacon of hope from someone who’s been VERY far away from that beacon but managed to find her way back.”
“Read this f*cking book. Jen is very much part of the light and the balance that is needed in this world right now. I don't even know her but I love her. Read this book.”
“Forget everything you know about memoir. Of course this is about the comet that is Jen Pastiloff and how she grew up struggling with deafness, depression, and a wrecked body image to go on and crack open the world’s heart with yoga/writing retreats, a website named The Manifest-Station, and pure love—but honestly, it’s really the memoir of all of us, every single one of us who ever felt I’m not enough, I’m not loved, I’m falling apart, I don’t’ belong here. I was reading this moving memoir while crying, scribbling down sentences and holding onto them like life lines. I’ve got you, Jen says, but the true message of this radiant memoir is nothing short that revolutionary love: we’ve got each other.”
—Caroline Leavitt, author of Pictures of You and Is This Tomorrow
“This darkly funny, deeply personal and powerful memoir will speak to anyone who has ever felt outcast: from their bodies, their minds, the world. A must read for human beings.”
—Emily Rapp Black, author of The Still Point of the Turning World and Poster Child: A Memoir
“For self-help fans and seekers of self-empowerment, this is an inspiring memoir with tips for overcoming and maybe prospering from the chaotic or disappointing elements that comprise an imperfect life.”
“Jen Pastiloff is the anti-guru. Rarely will you meet anyone more humble, compassionate and ready to learn. She's the kind of leader we need.”
—Rene Denfeld, author of The Child Finder
“Listen to me: you’re going to think Jen Pastiloff is your BFF after you read this book because when you’re done reading it you will feel known. No one is better qualified to write a book called On Being Human than this particular human. Having long struggled to accept her own imperfections and struggles, Jen manages to bring these to the page with a humor, heart and generosity that makes room for all of us to be a little kinder to ourselves.”
—Elizabeth Crane, author of Turf and The History of Great Things
“Jen Pastiloff is the authentic voice women need right now. By challenging us to embrace our imperfections she teaches that 'wellness' is the process of letting go of ideas that don't serve us-- as well as a radical act of joy. The On Being Human workshop is a radical reset for anyone struggling to become herself.”
—Lori Leibovich, Editor-in-Chief of Health
“Especially in these dark times for women, there is actually nothing 'simple' about Pastiloff’s radical alchemy. Read this book and feel yourself expand.”
—Gina Frangello, author of A Life in Men and Every Kind of Wanting
“Jen Pastiloff is a rejuvenating supernova! A life force of primal extravagant delight! Frank and funny, she'll boss herself around and change the rest of us in the meantime. I'd want to listen to anything she has to say.”
—Naomi Shihab Nye, Pushcart Prize-winning poet and author of Fuel and 19 Varieties of Gazelle