Sunday, February 10, 2013

SHAM in the news.

UPDATE, Monday, Feb. 11. Nice quote from the piece (below) got recycled in The New Yorker this morning.* That's always fun.

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A nice mention on page 2 of this piece in the Sacramento Bee. And yet I still wonder why so many who write on self-help, even in today's era of postmodern revisionism (which we helped kick off right here on this blog), seem to want to work so hard to give the topic a happy ending or at least a face-saving coda. Like the author here, Pierleoni, gives the last word to some Indiana U. prof, who avers that "Reading [self-help books] is like going to a trusted friend to ask for advice, and listening to them tell you what they think you should do and why it would be a good thing."

Is that so? A "trusted friend"? Is that really the nature of the bargain in self-help publishing? You think millions of women would queue up to pay $29.95 for Dr. Phil's latest, or Rhonda Byrne's theories on the Beneficent Universe, if they saw McGraw or Byrne merely as a trusted friend? And do McGraw and Byrne merely offer their advice as "friends"? Or do they set themselves up as experts/gurus who have all the answers? And in any case, would you make life-changing decisions based solely on a friend's offhand opinions? If so, I feel for you, and those who count on you.

* click through and scroll down.

1 comment:

Your PR Guy said...


First, I really wish you would upgrade from Blogger to Wordpress and host your own blog. The aesthetics would be much better, and so would the fonts. Makes for easier reading. (Nuff said, done gripping.)

Man, I see so many self-help books come across my desk. These are so bad, Steve, they have to be self-published their self-help. And then they grip when when our social media services don't make them the next guru to grace a best seller list.