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All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Crown Archetype, an imprint of the
Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
Crown Archetype with colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available upon request.
Printed in the United States of America
Book design by Ralph Fowler/RLF Design
Jacket design by
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INTRODUCTION: Have You Heard?
I’m best known as the “peacekeeper,” the “voice of reason,” and the
most “level-headed, drama-free” guido on MTV’s Jersey Shore, yet
there’s more to Vinny G than meets the eye.
What most people don’t know about me—including, until recently, not even my own mother—is that my head is not often that
level. The truth is, I suffer from chronic anxiety. I can work myself up
into a fearful, paralyzing state of mind that can last for days, weeks,
and even months where I feel mad scared, totally isolated and alone,
overwhelmed, and completely out of control. Imagine being stuck in
a bad dream you can’t wake up from. This is how I often feel—except
it’s not a dream, but the relentless voice in my own head I can’t shake.
There have been many times in my life when my anxious mind
has spun so out of control that I’ve simply had to bail. Packing my
bags and walking off the set of Jersey Shore is one example. Leaving
college is another. I’m talking anxiety that causes night sweats, insomnia, extreme weight loss, headaches, and a mind that won’t shut
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the ’eff up! For real, I can get low, and when I’m in my low-down
dark and scary place, I feel crazy.
It turns out that the real Vinny Guadagnino has a pretty serious condition—generalized anxiety disorder. I share my struggle
with more than forty million people in the United States alone who
are living with some sort of anxiety disorder. But what separates
me from most adults and teens who suffer from anxiety, stress, and
feeling overwhelmed with what life is throwing them is that I’ve
spent the past three years taking charge of my mental challenge by
developing a step-by-step program that not only has helped me get
a handle on my anxious mind but has also fi lled me with a sense of
personal power and control that has rocked every area of my life,
from building a dream team of friends and colleagues to meeting
super cool girls, getting in the best physical shape I’ve ever been in,
and landing awesome career opportunities.
Sounds good, right? You want a piece of the action? If you can
relate to the kind of “crazy” mind I’m describing here, you picked up
the right book. Or if you’re someone who only occasionally feels low,
what I offer in the pages ahead can help you, too.
Check it: the book you hold in your hands isn’t just for people
who struggle with a generalized anxiety disorder like I do. You don’t
have to have something “serious” or diagnosable to learn a few tricks
from me. Having a mind that sometimes takes a run on you is more
normal than you might think. The truth is that from time to time,
most people let their thoughts get them down and allow their emotions to stand in their way. The program I developed is for anyone
who gets generally stressed, nervous, frustrated, pissed off, sad, and
occasionally feels knocked around by life. (I can’t speak for you, but
that about covers everyone I know.) Work pressure, family conflict,
financial baggage, relationship drama, academic trouble, poor body
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image, and low self-esteem—on any given day these challenges can
get the best of us. Any and all of them can make us feel crazy.
When I was at my lowest point, I had a hard time finding the
right book to help me control my crazy, one that spoke to me on
my level. Much of the self-help mumbo jumbo on the shelves, books
you’d find in a doctor’s office with titles like It’s Gonna Get Worse
Before It Gets Better, left me feeling more messed up and confused
than I had before I opened the cover. I felt the doctor, expert, professor, or whoever didn’t understand my experience or really get where
I was coming from.
That’s when I started reading a different type of book—titles that
were more “spiritual” in nature (as in written by hard-core Buddhist
monks, not psychologists); and I’m not kidding—as soon as I started
reading them, my life began to change. The more I learned about the
mind-body-spirit “triple-threat” approach to mental health, the better I felt and the faster I regained control of my life. Then it hit me.
What if I tried to fi ll the void? Since I hadn’t easily found the right
motivational message to guide me when I needed it most, others who
were suffering might be coming up empty too. Maybe there was a
way I could pass on what I’d learned in one easy-to-read guidebook,
one that kids and adults I knew could relate to and understand.
Control the Crazy is my no-bullshit program for doing just that—
getting a handle on the everyday challenges that mentally, physically,
and spiritually trip us up. It includes my adaptation and translation
of many key teachings and techniques by some of the most popular
and influential spiritual teachers, philosophers, and masters in the
field of personal growth today. To keep it interesting, I’ve included
my own stories, insights, and mental workouts for kicking anxiety’s
ass and overcoming everyday high-stress situations.
My program is specifically designed so you can apply it to your
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own life, whoever you are. You see, Control the Crazy doesn’t dwell
so much on what stresses you out or what you struggle with. No matter. We’ve all got something. What’s most important is that whatever’s got you down, you have a set of simple, kick-ass tools that you
can pull out of your back pocket and put to use right away.
Control the Crazy will specifically help you:
• Deal with drama and life’s little annoyances without
• Manage haters, bullies, and negative people in your life
• Bounce back from benders, binges, and hangovers
• Boost your confidence so you kill it at work or in school
• Give you focus and mad game with the opposite sex
• Develop stronger relationships with your peeps
• Maintain your inner cool when you’re on the verge of feeling
How does it work? When I went looking for the tools to beat
back my anxiety and my low-down, dark and scary moods, I discovered that if I could simply master my mind, I could control my bad
days rather than let them control me. Whether you realize it or not,
it’s the critical and self-defeating voice in your own head that often
spins a crappy situation to a whole new level of crazy. Said a different way—you’ve got the power. You can handle anything and anyone
when you simply change how you think.
Maybe you’re wondering—What gives Vinny Guadagnino of
Jersey Shore—a show famous for fist pumping, hooking up, and de-
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livering at least one good punch in the face in every episode—the
credibility to write a book like this? I mean, who do I think I am?
How can I be taken seriously?
Believe me, I’ve heard it all before. I’ve read blogs that are
“shocked” I even know how to put a sentence together. If you’re confused by what you thought I was all about and what you’re reading
here, let me clear something up for you—yes, I like to party, and I
also have a brain. Not only that, I’ve got the best credibility of all:
I’ve been there and I’ve come out on the other side. It’s true, I’m not
a shrink or a doctor, an expert, or a priest. I’m just a twenty-fouryear-old kid who’s made a name for himself on a reality TV show. In
many ways, my life and career are just getting started. Still, I’ve been
through a lot for my age, so what I do have is life experience. I get it
on a personal level. I’ve struggled. I still struggle, and I’ve discovered
that there’s a way to get through it. I want you to know you aren’t
You see—it doesn’t matter who you are—life is hard. Every day, I
meet kids and adults, either at the club, on set, or in my favorite barbershop on Staten Island, who are stressed out, unhappy, and caught
up in their own negative drama and who I think could benefit from
the same tools that have helped me.
While I may be most recognized for my T-shirts, tattoos, and
manicured eyebrows, I believe that the most important role you
can play in life is to be of service to other people. I know—awww,
shucks—but it’s the truth. Nothing makes me happier and gives me
a sense of purpose more than helping people who need a hand. Sure,
the “me-me-me” celebrity lifestyle is a rush, I’m not gonna lie. But
fame and a loaded bank account don’t mean a thing if you’re suffering. I know better than anyone that you can’t enjoy the good life if
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you’re operating from a dark place. I’ve struggled with anxiety for
most of my young adult life, and I consider myself extremely blessed
that whenever life trips me up and I stumble and fall, I have the tools
in my back pocket to pick myself back up.
Now it’s your turn. Is life getting you down? Do you need a hand?
Then take mine and let me help you.
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