Everything Harder Than Everyone Else: Why Some of Us Push Our Bodies to Extremes

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It’s part of human nature to test our limits. But what happens when this part comes to define us?

When Jenny Valentish wrote a memoir about addiction, she noticed that people who treated drug-taking like an Olympic sport would often hurl themselves into a pursuit such as marathon running upon getting sober. What stayed constant was the need to push their boundaries.

Everything Harder Than Everyone Else follows people doing the things that most couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t. Their insights lead Jenny on a compulsive, sometimes reckless journey through psychology, endurance and the power of obsession, revealing what we can learn about the human condition.

There’s the neuroscientist violating his brain to override his disgust response. The athlete using childhood adversity as grist for the mill. The wrestler turning restlessness into curated ultraviolence. The designer who hangs from hooks in her flesh to get out of her head. The performance artist seeking erasure by manipulating his body. The BDSM dominant helping people flirt with death to feel more alive. The bare-knuckle boxer whose gnarliest opponent was once her ego. And the porn-star-turned-fighter for whom sex and violence are two sides of the same coin.

Darkly funny and vividly penetrating, Everything Harder Than Everyone Else explores our deeper selves and asks: what are your limits?

'Like a Louis Theroux documentary, Everything Harder Than Everyone Else is an eye-opening exploration of unconventional lifestyles and the people who live them. It is a rollicking and insightful read for both enthusiasts and the simply curious.’ — Books+Publishing