The cult of self help

7 08 2002

If you’re the kind of kid who believes you can tell a lot about a person’s frame of mind by simply looking at the books they’re reading, viagra sales tadalafil then cop a load of this. I just spent my lunch hour reading a literary masterpiece to rival The Grapes of Wrath titled, cialis usa viagra I could do anything if only I knew what it was.

I picked it up in the bargain alley of the Kinokuniya bookshop for the princely sum of five smackers. When I sat down at Starbucks to flip through it, no rx I realised the reason for the dramatic price cut from $25 to $5 was because the first 30 pages are actually from a different book called The Schools We Need And Why We Don’t Have Them. But no matter.

I mean, who cares if my first step on the road to finding out what I’m supposed to be doing starts with 30 pages concerning the state of the education system in America, then switches rather dramatically to a half-written sentence stating, “…parents who thought lawyers were certain to be safe and prosperous?” Cryptic, no?

This is my first self-help book.

Now, I should state right off the bat that I hate self-help books. Always have. Still remember one guy telling me how I would be much happier if I just read that, Men are from Mars, and women are from wherever palaver. My stubbornness and youthful stupidity at the time allowed me only to rant and scowl about how it just seemed like common sense anyway. But from that day on, self-help books? Hated ‘em. They bugged me.

My cheese and who moved it? Don’t care. Roads less travelled? Not interested. Seven habits of highly effective overachievers? Why would I want to feel smaller? And as far as parachutes go, I’m not consciously wearing one and I don’t really give a fig about its colour.

But today I find myself asking this: Is my aversion to these books based on the same kind of fuzzy logic that, as a child, convinced me that I hated gravy? A hatred not based on taste at all, but entirely on a dislike of the colour brown? (Twenty years on, I can still remember the moment when the smashingness of gravy was revealed to me. Ten years old, at Belinda Disher’s house. Trying it because she liked it. And then the revelation—gravy is great! All those years I did without, what wasted time!)

So, since this whole Singapore move is about trying new things, I think I should investigate the self-help realm to get an opinion based on experience. This road to conversion—a self-help title if ever I heard one—might be long and full of me guffawing regularly. But you never know, there could be a book out there with the answer to everything. And isn’t it my duty as a student of the human condition to stumble across it?

I know. I know what you’re thinking. “Our Noodle’s growing up.”

But back to finding out what I should be doing. Skim, skim. Right, apparently I have a fear of success… ah. No, that’s wrong. I’m ready for success. Already dusted a spot on the shelf for my Pulitzer. Skim, skim.

Ok, I’ve twigged it. The self-help writing landscape is littered with guru profiteers. Now this book claims I could do anything, if I just knew what it was—well, it’s obvious to me now. I should be writing this crap. Thar be a Noodle niche and it be life enrichment! Come in suckers!

I’m just not sure which title I should start on first…

1. Hairy warts and Dimples: Harnessing the power of facial anomalies to win arguments
2. Dropdown or rollover? 10 steps to programming your life menu
3. 101 ways to harbour a grudge without damaging your career
4. Grin it to win it! Mastering the insincere smile for fun and profit
5. Pass the compression bandage: How to turn your accidents into dinner party conversation
6. You are a wobbly trolley: Learning to live with your flaws
7. The art of sulking: Making marriage work through grinding silence
8. It comes in a can? : A beginners guide to single living
9. Leave it there: How to avoid rubbish books in bargain bins


Toodle-Noo. Here endeth the missive.


PS: More photos coming soon. Doing touristy things with my parents when they arrive on Friday. Stay tuned.

©Janeen McCrae 2002



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