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  • Writer's picturePodcast Librarian

By the Book: Part self-help, part reality show--and all hilarity

The premise (from Apple Podcasts): 

By The Book is half reality show, half self-help podcast, and one wild social experiment. Join comedian Jolenta Greenberg and her skeptical friend Kristen Meinzer as they live by the rules of a different self-help book each episode to figure out which ones might actually be life changing.

Series or standalone:

Standalone (though there are two episodes for each book)

Begin listening to:

Any episode that isn't an epilogue. You don’t need to have read the book. I’ve only read two books they ever covered, and it’s actually more fun if you don’t have familiarity with the books going into it.


Two episodes per book: one that outlines its major tenets and talks about the first part of the hosts living by the book, and another that wraps up in an epilogue. The hosts are chatting together most of the time, but they also include interviews and sound bytes of their husbands and/or other people in their lives as it relates to the book they’re living by.


Two hilarious ladies, Jolenta Greenberg (comedian) and Kristen Meinzer (royals enthusiast and serial podcaster; also hosted When Meghan Met Harry)

Sound/production quality: 

Great! They are professionally produced.

Rating/age suitability: 

There is “barnyard language” as stated at the top of each episode, so it’s best not to listen with young children around. Most episodes would be fine to share with older teens, but you’ll want to listen first to decide, since the conversation sometimes turn sexy.

Approximate length of episodes: 

Around 40 minutes

Curricular ties: 

Nada! This is just for fun.

The Podcast Librarian’s Review:

By the Book is a comedy podcast centered around self-help books. Hosts Kristen and Jolenta live (literally) by the book they choose for 2 weeks, without really knowing what they’re getting into each time. Each new book episode begins with the “rules” or guidelines that the book sets forth. For the first week, they get acclimated to the rules (getting their husbands involved, too) and report on how it’s going. During the second week, they continue living by the book and ultimately deliver their verdict. Sometimes, they end up enjoying living by the book and even adopting those habits and strategies after the experiment ends. More often, they find that the book is too rigid, judgmental, sexist, or unrealistic in its rules—and that’s awesome because those are typically the most hilarious episodes. Kristen is an eternal optimist and finds joy in the little things (but also gets fired up about some of the books). Bonus: Her husband Dean has the most lovely accent. Jolenta is a little more self-deprecating and sarcastic, which I appreciate. They have incredible chemistry and banter, but they also open up about personal issues when the books get a little more serious. This is one of my favorite podcasts—one that I listen to as soon as a new episode drops. You can start anywhere, but here are a few favorites:

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

  • How to Write an Ebook in Less Than 7-14 Days That Will You Money Forever (this one is just as ridiculous as you would expect) 

  • The Five Love Languages

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