A Warning Concerning Self-Help Propaganda


A recent survey revealed that ninety-eight percent of all people believe everything they read in print, including the published version of said survey.  Those who enjoy reading self-help books, no doubt, fall into this ninety-eighth percentile and are at risk of parting with hard-earned schillings anytime confronted with the words “How To.”


One fundamental assumption regarding self-help books is that the would-be reader is introspective enough to know for what ailment he or she needs help.  I find this is rarely the case, and many sad souls reading to enrich their relationships would benefit more by learning how to secure stable employment or improve personal hygiene.


Another and more disturbing issue concerning self-help publications is the silly advice they dispense with utter conviction.  The first chapter of How to Make Peace with Food (I don’t agree with the war on food, but I fully support the troops fighting it) suggests that one stop thinking of their fork as a “weapon of mass destruction” and instead embrace the utensil as a stick of integrity.  This is nonsense.   Everyone knows integrity does not come in the form of a stick but rather as a gel or cream. 


An inventory of my own bookshelves reveals the occasional lack in judgment which requires specific unfavorable mention here.  


  1. How to Marry a Rich Man.  Perhaps I would have been better suited reading the earlier, but less popular, How to Love a Rich Man, seeing how I’ve only loved two men, both poor, and the first affair hardly lasted long enough to write about, which is why I bring it up now.
  2. How to Marry a Poor Man.  Being an irrepressible romantic where poor men are concerned, I read this book from cover to cover.  I found the recommendations it made on “how to hoodwink” quite distasteful.  It is not that I object to hoodwinking in general, but I am gravely opposed to any endeavor that requires so much hard work and effort. 
  3. How to Marry a Rich Man and Make Him Poor.   I never bothered to read this (I can point out many women who have) but it weighs exactly five pounds and waving it to and fro above my head makes for an excellent triceps maneuver (according to the widely read How to Have Tighter Arms in Thirty Days).


It would be ludicrous to think the secret to health, wealth and happiness may be found among the pages of a self-help book, and that is why I’ve decided to write one.  I will waste valuable time on this project as soon as I am able to muster up my courage and change the ink cartridge in my printer.  Not that I have an immediate need to print out a draft of my would-be best-seller, but when I do, I’d like the manuscript to be pleasing to the gullible eye so that its many factual inaccuracies may be overlooked.