I know it is the first of the year when I walk into Barnes and Noble and the main display is full, full of diet books. The second display is self-help books. The fiction is toward the back and on clearance. So it must be time for people to set their resolutions and purchase books to try to keep them going. I guess if one of your resolutions is to help the economy, then by all means, buy lots and lots. I am fascinated with resolutions. But more, I am fascinated with the commodity surrounding those resolutions. People start the new year with hopes of losing excess weight, saving their troubled marriage or even just reading more. I wonder if the bookstore will replace the diet books with coping with failure books sometime in early February. Yes, when it comes to resolutions I am quite cynical. I am also cynical when it comes to self-help books. I will admit I bought Mark Bittman's book Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating. After reading reviews in Salon and in the New York Times, I was sold. It discusses healthier eating, which not only makes a healthier person, but a healthier planet. I have to try it out. I did pass on the barrage of books by Bob Greene. He is Oprah's diet guru, and is a tad overexposed. I bought his book several years ago and saw really nothing new...so find an old one on E-Bay and save some cash.
As for the self-help books. I saw so many that just scream that people are too ashamed to get real help for their dilemmas and hide their problems in the privacy of their own bookshelves. The only one who knows is the Barnes and Noble employee, and really who will they tell? I've received books by Dr. Phil and other helpers and aside from the Dali Llama, have found them awful and useless. I've never finished one. I think this genre is overdone and actually detrimental to society. If you think you get your mental health problems solved by reading (or worse watching) Dr. Phil, then you have worse mental health problems than you thought. Here's what I say, look at your life...are you happy? Is there joy? If not, you'll need to find it. Get the help you need, if you need it. I have experience in this and have learned quite a bit. As for now, I am quite happy. My life is constantly filled with joy. Problems never seem unfixable and life seems like an exciting adventure, no a time to watch TV and let it pass me by.
I guess I kind of sound like what I am fascinated by, helpers. I shouldn't. Just be happy...life is so much better when you are!