A lively philosophical exploration of what it means to be awesome and not suck, and a plea for more awesomeness in our personal, social, and public lives

In this engaging, fun, and astute investigation of a thoroughly contemporary condition, philosopher and former pro skater Nick Riggle argues that our collective interest in being awesome (and not sucking) marks a new era in American culture, one that is shaped by relatively recent social, political, and technological shifts.

At the core of his work is the idea that awesome people are exemplars of social creativity. We suck when we foil their attempts at creative community building. To be down, game, chill, basic, wack, or a preference dictator are just a handful of ways we can create, respond to, or fail to take up social openings in the office, in public, or with our friends and loved ones.

What can the invention of the high five and the history of “cool” tell us about the origins of awesome? Can introverts be awesome? How do our expectations of awesome relate to race, gender, and sexuality? How is our desire for awesomeness shaping our cultural landscape—art, altruism, athletics, and public life? These are just a few of the questions Riggle explores in this accessible, philosophical road trip through the ethos of our time.

On Being Awesome articulates a singular and gripping cultural ideal and provides a new and inspiring framework for understanding friendship, success, and happiness in our everyday lives.

*Bonus PDF Included with Awesomeness/Suckiness Chart
“What is the opposite of an asshole?  It’s the ‘awesome’ person who goes off script in the usual interactions, creating new opportunities for creative expression and social communion. Nick Riggle’s fun book is ‘awesome’ by its own definition. But don’t miss its profound ambition, which is to show how philosophy unearths the structure of ordinary language, defines the meaning of life in routine business, and poses the question of how best to live.”
—Aaron James, author of Assholes: A Theory

“It’s…hard to imagine that anyone else has thought so deeply about the nature of awesomeness: its meaning, its importance, and the ways that true awesomeness is under threat. In On Being Awesome, Riggle offers a careful dissection of the psycho-philosophical categories of sucking…but the book also works as a practical, and surprisingly inspiring, guide to better living.”
Scientific American Mind 

“A deceptively fun-loving tour of philosophy’s most ancient question: how best to live. Riggle uses modern jargon to apply timeless philosophical truths to today’s problems.”
Success Magazine

“Nick Riggle’s new book is a roadmap to achieving awesomeness.”
Entrepreneur Magazine

On Being Awesome is a sweet, irreverent little book. It does the good work of taking the vernacular seriously, and makes gamesome use of analytic philosophy’s central tools to have a little fun. It would make for a great introduction to analytic philosophy for young people, and place to start thinking about what it means to be good citizens of their social worlds. It also stands as a good reminder to those of us who have been at it for a while that we could probably stand to loosen up a little.”
—The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

“Nick Riggle quickly and convincingly makes the case for the pursuit of awesomeness (and the avoidance of suckiness, its mortal enemy) as a legitimate social aim. . . . In a pluralistic world that fractures further by the minute, being awesome might be the only viable model for the future of our society.”
Flood Magazine

“Riggle’s book is a welcome addition to the trend of philosophy pitched to the public. Like Aaron James’s Assholes: A Theory and Harry Frankfurt’s On Bullshit, Riggle’s On Being Awesome shows the promise of employing the tools of analytic philosophy to address the nuances of contemporary culture. The book on the whole is written in a clear, vernacular style that’s accessible to a general audience, but at the same time it doesn’t pull its philosophical punches. It’s also loaded with thought-provoking examples drawn from pop culture, civic life, sports, and the arts. More significantly, Riggle aims to craft the very sort of social opening that his book describes. In creating a rich theory of awesomeness, Riggle invites us to play along by adopting his lingo . . . but more importantly by looking at our lives as opportunities to do awesome things. The only question that remains is whether, you, the reader, are down. In short, it’s an awesome book—and, upon reading it, you’ll know exactly what that means.”
The Philosphers’ Magazine

“Want to bring a little awesomeness into your life? Check out Dr. Riggle’s hilariously insightful book On Being Awesome.”

“[On Being Awesome] might be the most entertaining study of linguistics taxonomy in philosophy.”
—Big Think