… well that is how we feel when we open and skim through the self-help, diet, positive thinking, inspiring success kinda books.
My favourite people have been bringing these books to me and sometimes, I pick them up as part of my reading experiments.
When my favourite professor gifted me M Scott Peck’s Road Less Travelled, it had the same old format, people in trouble, getting over it all through positive spirits, determination and all the ingredients you need to be firm and successful. I learnt a few lessons, or so I thought.
Mum and Dad, over many many years, have got me Zig Ziglar to Secret to lots of other useful bestsellers which have been very handy in knowing why these things are so popular.
Often when one is in a soup, A Chicken Soup for whatever Soul might not be the way to cop through any of it. But the thing is, these book are like instant gratification for the troubled souls. I’m starting to feel that the self-help books are the junk-f00d or dark chocolate for these souls which gives instant pleasure while you are in pain, but the effect lasts till the next trouble comes along. And if these books are helping you cop with them, trust me, you will need another book for the next problem.
To think of it, the genre has a varied target audience which is constantly going to be hungry. I wouldn’t mind keeping some of those inspiring diet books (not the really useful ones) into the same category where they almost make you believe that eating the book is going to help you lose weight. Ironically, their target audience is also confused about religion and faith. Some self-help books disguise themselves as mini-biographies, describing lives of successful people (business, art cinema, corporate, sports, politics et el). The overfed, success and confidence starved readers are all game for it.
A frustrated journalist friend of mine wondered with a lot of ‘fake positivity’ floating around, aren’t we just nurturing fake ego into a young generation which believes in positive thoughts but would read about them than act on them. It is just like praying to a God to solve your problems and do nothing about them.
Some are so addicted to the genre that they start believing as they’ve recovered from their fall, they can advise more people. I once came across an insurance agent who told me he had published a ‘positive thinking’ book and when I asked him to show it to me. He pulled out a spiral bound book printed on his computer where mainly, he had compiled list of hopefully positive words starting from each letter of alphabet.
I recently became member of the Bookmark library (ironically the franchise owner’s son sits at the counter watching episodes of Friends loudly, calling the place a library), I was browsing through the titles. And half of the library is occupied by Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts, the rest is all self help with some occasional classics thrown in.
Well, a rampant generalisation of the genre through a blog doesn’t seem like a good idea either. The genre does have some rare few really inspiring books as well. But I’ve been bugged by the ‘fake positivism’ for a very long time now. I want to see more reality. I want to see more fiction, more wit, more fun, more poetry and thinking.
Gawd, I’m asking for too much. I am gonna need to find a self-help book on how to get over that. Perhaps I should write one too.