Before we start, don’t even suggest you don’t read them. You do, because I see you sneaking through the aisles at Borders and B & N, hoping nobody will spot you. You think you are clever placing the book face down on the counter? The clerk turns it over, and gives you THAT look–oh so sorry to know that you have an alcohol problem.
Whenever life delivers us a blow, knocking us to our knees, we rush off to find a book to give us a cure, answers, and hopefully the proper resilient armor not to fall victim to it again. Sometimes, we just give up on every other possibility and go to shuffle through the endless stacks, hoping that a “new” technique has been developed to solve our weight issues.
Every B-D actor finds a way to write about something that you can supposedly learn from. We can trim our thighs with Jane Fonda (I know, that’s 30 years old, but then I haven’t fallen for that exercise scam for, well, 30 years.), or we can learn how to craft toys for our babies with Gwenyth Paltrow.
There are any number of doctors, psychologists, and other professionals who have just the answer to our perennial problems with weight, exercise, divorce, relationship problems, alcohol, parents, mothers-in-law, bosses, phobias, spiritual stagnation, drugs, self-esteem, depression, anxieties, and compulsions.
We buy ’em we read ’em and we pitch them. Actually we put them in yard sales and try to recoup some of our money back. In 2005 we spent around 668 million for this junk, by 2008, we were up to 11 billion. Do we learn anything? Nope, we go and buy more. Actually what we need is a book to help us get off our addiction to self-help books.
I have had my fair share. I’ll not bore you, or embarrass myself by telling you the categories, but suffice it to say, I’m well represented in the yearly accumulation of third world debt in the guise of “helping myself get out of whatever issue, I’m embroiled in.” The good news is that I buy less with age, and I have tended to limit my area to spirituality, which I have declared as “more refined” and having a “higher” goal, thus still okay.
It’s not, I would argue that all these things are purely trash. Some are of course nothing but that. They are written by people who have lost the public eye, are running short of cash to carry the mortgage, and hope to resurrect a career by getting a bit of free publicity on GMA and other such feel good morning shows. Nobody is on Jay Leno much who isn’t hawking a book after all. Who knows what producer just might be watching. “Hey, get me Madonna Lohan on the phone, she might be right for this part.” At least I guess they hope that might happen.
But fairly, as I said, some of these things are written by legitimate doctors and other professionals. I guess one could quibble that the truly legitimate doctor is a tad too busy to be writing a self-help book, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. I’d except Dr. Phil, who probably is better off writing books than actually treating anyone based on what I see.
The problem is that no problem is subject to being limited to a set of 10 steps. Self-help books, as you know are in love with 10 steps. “Lose all that weight for good with my fool proof 10 steps to a thinner you.” “Break that shopping addiction in just ten easy steps.” “Turn your husband into that Latin lover in 10 weeks!”
Rather, we are complex human beings and what motivates me to be fat is not what motivates you to be fat, and what will motivate me to be thin, won’t work for you. Sure we share some points of commonality, but not enough for any book to set out a plan that will work for most of us. And the key word here is MOST.
Sure, most of the books work for a small percentage of persons. When a person hits on a method that works for them, they are ecstatic to share it with others. Mores the better, somebody may pay them as well. And a small number of people will have the unique group of indicators that you had, and thus your plan will work for them. But most won’t. They’ll try, they really will, and they will fail, because some other hidden trigger has not been addressed for them. They will try again, with another book, and another, and eventually, they will either get lucky and magically find the right one, or they will give up. Mostly it will be the latter.
I’m not sure what the answer is. I can clearly understand that when someone has solved a major life issue and has gone on to happiness, that they can legitimately want to share that wonder with the world. I truly can, but there must be some caveat like –this probably won’t work for you, but if you have disposable income, you can take a chance. It might!
At least that’s what I want to put on the book jacket of my new book when I write it. As soon as I find something wrong in my life that I have successfully corrected that is. But then again, I wouldn’t want that to hamper my book sales. Just fawgetaboutit. I got your answer! In just 10 easy steps!