"Living Oprah" by Robyn Okrant
On January 1, 2008, Robyn Okrant began a yearlong experiment in which she followed every piece of advice dispensed by televisions most popular and influential personality, Oprah Winfrey. Taking on every suggestion made through The Oprah Winfrey Show, O, The Oprah Magazine and Oprah.com, Robyn set out to discover if one can really live their "Best Life Ever" by following someone else's ideal.
Over the year Okrant blogged about her experience of taking Oprah's advice on everything. Along the way she discovered just how far-reaching Oprah's words are. Whether you love or hate her, Oprah has the potential to influence our buying habits, our diets and even our politics, and she is a force who cannot be ignored.
Living Oprah is a funny and thought-provoking, not to mention costly, experiment. Throughout her journey, Okrant learned many valuable things about herself, but also found herself doing some silly and often contradictory things. For example, a few weeks after she signed the Best Life Diet contract, she found herself being told to try a bunch of diet wrecking treats.
Over the year, she found herself not just following Oprah's advice but asking questions like "What does it mean to be a real woman?", "What is one's Best Life?", and "Can Oprah actually answer these questions?" But she also recognizes Oprah's determination and hard work to build up her brand and make it thrive. People may not find every answer they are looking for in Oprah, but they may find some.
Living Oprah was an interesting book. It is more of a commentary on the influence that Oprah has on us as viewers and as consumers, less about the individual tasks she set out to do as given by Oprah. The charts at the end of each month are handy to show exactly how much time and money Oprah's suggestions take up.
If you are wanting to follow along with the tasks of the experiment it is better to read the blog, as the book is Okrant's reflections and commentary on the year. At the beginning of the book there is more of a feeling that this is just another attempt at becoming famous through a blog, but as it goes on that does change and you see that there are lessons that can be learned from such an experiment.