Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
How to Be a Bawse:  A Guide to Conquering Life Book Poster Image
Honest, inspiring advice from popular YouTuber.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Motivational advice and examples from author's own life provide some insight into how to achieve your goals and what it takes to become a successful YouTuber.

Positive Messages

Advice book full of positive, motivational messages. The strongest is that long-term success comes from a solid foundation of hard work and that there are no shortcuts. Strong positive messages about avoiding negativity, about not bashing others, and against bullying. Some iffy messages like getting things done "by any means necessary," that doing what's good or right may benefit you later, and a few side remarks that glamorize alcohol.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lilly works hard to achieve her goals and stay successful. She knows that she won't achieve lasting success by taking shortcuts and that success is built on a solid foundation laid one step at a time. She's not afraid to do whatever it takes to reach her goals, including scary things like moving far from family and friends. She never stops learning, by staying informed and by closely observing those she admires.


Sex-ed class teaches that intercourse leads to getting pregnant and carrying a baby for nine months. Joking mention that nipples would get in the way of a certain big tattoo. Brief mention of animal procreation says they "get jiggy with it." Several mentions of feeling sexy and powerful. A same-sex example of a friend's breakup story. Kissing mentioned as part of a movie scene.


Frequently uses shortcuts such as "eff," "mother effing," "BS," and "AF." "Dammit," "pissed," "hell," "pee," "butt," "crap" (including in a chapter title), "holy crap," "poop," and "ballin'." Middle-finger gesture mentioned a few times. A cartoon shows a person in a unicorn costume pooping out a rainbow.


Lots and lots of TV shows, movies, and entertainment figures such as singers and actors, popular songs; McDonald's and many specific menu items, Chipotle, Coke, Sprite, Skittles, Nutella, Cheetos; social media, especially YouTube; Forever 21; Uber; several Apple products; Spanx; partnership with Coca-Cola and Smashbox; and several Nintendo games.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several mentions of drinking vodka in a joking but glamorizing context -- for example, that alcohol may have a positive influence on coming up with ideas, that narrator once stayed in a luxury rental home stocked with alcohol, and that a few vodka and Sprites helped her write a song on a tight deadline and coated her vocal chords. Drinking champagne at an awards show. Martinis on the beach. Doesn't like whiskey but drank some anyway. It's common knowledge that Seth Rogen enjoys marijuana; Lilly says she felt high from kissing him in a movie scene. Felt high on painkillers after wisdom teeth were removed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life is a collection of motivational essays that show how popular YouTuber Lilly Singh, aka !!superwoman!!, became a big success with millions of followers. She shows how to apply the strategies and lessons of professional success to personal aspects of life, too. Messages are mostly positive about how it takes a ton of hard work to succeed and that there are no shortcuts. She's a good role model for taking charge of your life and doing whatever it takes to make things happen. Frequent strong language uses shortcuts such as "eff" and "BS" and includes "holy crap," "hell," and "damn." A few references to alcohol, especially vodka, may glamorize it for teen readers. Lots of consumer products, especially entertainment, social, tech, and food products, are mentioned by name, and her bio says she has deals with Coca-Cola and a line of lipstick with Smashbox.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 and 13 year old Written byAnna F. February 1, 2018

A Pretty PG Book

I let both of my daughters read this book after I took a look at it. They love watching this YouTuber! The book and the author are very PG. No explicit words ar... Continue reading
Parent of a 13 year old Written byLaura M. February 1, 2018

My daughter loved it!

My daughter loved this so much! She said it really inspired her to work harder in school. For that, I have to give it 5 stars! I read over the book myself, and... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byAmandaL99 February 1, 2018

A good book for middle schoolers

This book is filled with inspirational messages, PG humour, and great stories! I love Lilly Singh and her book is sooo great! Not sure why CommonSenseMedia rate... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byForever_anusha December 29, 2017

What's the story?

HOW TO BE A BAWSE: A GUIDE TO CONQUERING LIFE takes the lessons popular YouTuber Lilly Singh, aka !!superwoman!!, has learned from earning millions of followers on YouTube and offers examples and advice about how to apply those lessons to other areas of life. The series of essays covers a lot of ground, including bad breakups, how to be inspired, how to be the best version of yourself you can, how and when to take the first step, and more. Whether your goal is to land that big account, be more outgoing socially, or land a big recording contract, Singh shows how to give it your all, every step of the way.

Is it any good?

Popular YouTuber Lilly Singh's motivational advice book is refreshingly honest in the way she lays it out on the line:  There are no shortcuts; put in the work. Older teens and young adults who are motivated self-starters and who already have some goals they're working toward will get a lot out of How to Be a Bawse. Colorfully illustrated, filled with wisecracks, and not sugarcoating the process, the book can be a big inspiration for goal-oriented readers of any age.

Singh takes on a lot, and the essays are surprisingly dense, so it might be best appreciated a few sections at a time. If your biggest stumbling block is that you're too shy at parties or don't speak up in meetings, for example, feel free to start with Part 3, read what's relevant, and save the rest for another time. Taken all at once it can seem like a pretty big dose of Lilly, which is understandable from someone whose livelihood and product is herself. But taken one or two steps at a time, and carefully absorbed and implemented, Singh's advice can really inspire and motivate anyone to become more confident and powerful in many situations. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the strongest messages in How to Be a Bawse. The book covers so much; is there an overall takeaway for you? If so, what?

  • What's the difference between invoking a swear word with "eff" or "BS" and using the actual word? Why do you think the author is OK with using "holy crap" but not the spelled-out "eff" word? What makes one worse than the other?

  • Why do you think so many YouTubers are writing books? Do they need the money? Do they genuinely want to help others? Why do you think Lilly Singh wrote this particular book?

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love YouTube stars and strong females

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate