Only 3 months in the Blogosphere and I can already appreciate and benefit from the power of blogging. I started a blog because it seemed to me the most authentic way to promote my work: prospective clients could get to know me before engaging in a coaching process or coaching program and decide if working and playing with me will be of value for them. “Authentic”, here, is more a function of resonance than getting full knowledge of the facts, at this stage. Continue reading
Simplicity versus dumbing down
Everyone in the Western world knows the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, with the 3 memorable porridge bowls: not too hot, not too cold but at the just right temperature. These last few years, in the world of self-development and business/marketing, you may have encountered her tale as a metaphor for making the just right choice, finding the just right solution, client, career, level of productivity, preferences, even life-purpose and whatnot. Continue reading
“When we started Despair, we had a dream. To crush other people’s dreams. But we knew, given our goal, we’d be in for a fight. After all, the Motivation Industry has been crushing dreams for decades, selling the easy lie of success you can buy. That’s why we decided to differentiate ourselves- by crushing dreams with hard truths!”
“No industry has inflicted more suffering than the Motivational Industry. Motivational books, speakers and posters have made billions of dollars selling shortcuts to success and tools for unleashing our unlimited potential. At Despair, we know such products only raise hopes to dash them. That’s why our products go straight to the dashing! Enjoy!” Continue reading
Who can Write a Self-Help Book?
Really anyone nowadays can, given the many avenues for self-publishing. And, unfortunately, it is not always talent that is rewarded. Nonetheless, writing a self-help book, whatever the category, presupposes that you have cracked up the code of success in that category, hence the hesitation of some honest souls, or is it lack of self-confidence ?, to go down those avenues.
The hype around these books is misleading on more than one count and the industry has some good days ahead . It banks on people’s insecurity and aversion to uncertainty and greed. If you buy my book, you’ll have it all : the love, the money, the time to spend it, success, happiness, you’ll be number one and what not… provided you follow the recipe, the formula outlined in the book.
The cookie-cutter formulas are seductive with their clearly formulated bullet points but they fail to give a genuine account of the process to get “there”. These books presuppose that people want that “there” and create and perpetuate an ideal of success or happiness in one size-fits-all.
It doesn’t mean that authors of such books are phony greedy writers. I believe that most of them know about success, happiness and have found how to live a happy fulfilling life, besides writing such books. However, the imperatives of publishing and the genre, even when one self-publishes, are such that the writers’s hand over mouth moments are edited to fit the formula, as if it followed a straight line. Deep inside though, they know that life is a journey full of turns and coils and recoils, blind alleys and booby traps. It’s bloody hard to write a book, even a formulaic self-help. And they did it. However, persuasion is the name of the game, not authenticity. The later is found in heartfelt poetry, novels, biographies, memoirs and essays of all kinds. Books after my own heart. The good news is that some self-help authors have caught up with the essay discourse.
The “Been there, done that” genre, more often than not turns into self-promotion. There’s nothing wrong with that : if you have something of value to share, by all means, people should know. It’s all heuristics! Each according to her own journey, but one has to take the risk of the journey and venture a little further than Self-Help County.
This being said, I don’t throw the baby with the bath water, as they say. As long as I remember that it’s success, happiness on somebody else’s terms, how successful that one may be, I find some use to these books: after reading and experimenting with countless of them, I am relieved to find that “The Secret” is safe.