Roger von Oech

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Stephen Denny

"We few... we happy few... we band of bloggers..."

The ones I've seen most often are the "Forgetting Ourselves on Purpose" variety which are aimed at helping us find meaning in life beyond working 70 hours a week in someone else's office.

This either signals a turning point in our personal evolution (the end of the "American Disease") or the end of the Roman Empire. Not sure which one yet.


Well, looks like Amazon is a good place to start...


I think it tells us we have lost touch with who we really are... so many of us are fooling ourselves every day, perhaps without even realizing it anymore. The people who understand this, paradoxically, are making it big.

Roger von Oech

Stephen Daedalus: Thanks for your Henry V reference, you "happy blogger!"

"The ones I've seen most often are the "Forgetting Ourselves on Purpose." Are you referring to Ferriss' "4-Hour Work Week"? And/or using some of the newer technologies to get control of our own work/life?

Roger von Oech

rzlkng: When I looked at the Amazon "self-help" list, these were the top titles:

-1- Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life by Joel Osteen

-2- The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

-3- Five Wishes: How Answering One Simple Question Can Make Your Dreams Come True by Gay Hendricks

Perhaps this says our age is quite fragmented, and these titles suggest basic self improvement done in simple (7 Keys, Five Wishes, One Secret) easily digestible form.

Roger von Oech

Otto: I think my 10:04 comment relates to what you're saying.


One pattern points to "fantasy." Not self-delusion, necessarily-- fantasy as in, "This is America; chase your dreams OR ELSE!" Or else you'll just be a fragment of what you could be, and earn a fraction of what you could earn. We are supposed to spend every waking moment reaching our potential, since we have the freedom to do so! (Reading blurb after blurb of these, however, makes me want to go lie in a hammock and watch clouds and be mediocre for the afternoon.)

I also see an odd assortment of numbers: 4hrs, 5 wishes, 1 question, 7 habits, 1 secret. Among many ways to interpret this, I'll go with "bite-size". Several books without 3s in the titles seem to be a collection of smaller works. That's probably another reason top ten lists are so popular-- people like a buffet of knowledge, knowing a little bit about everything. Makes the scads of info constantly bombarding us easier to process!

Jim Ley

I have been part of a men's small group that has been meeting weekly for about 12 years.

We are currently discussing Changes That Heal by Dr. Henry Cloud.

The author stresses that grace, truth and time are required for healthy change and growth.

Cloud discusses the nature of bonding, why some fail to bond, and learning how to bond.

He discusses how to set boundaries and the consequences of failing to set boundaries.

He discusses healthy adulthood and what happens when we fail to grow up.

Roger von Oech

Shelbey: "We are supposed to spend every waking moment reaching our potential." Good observation. Reaching one's full potential was one of the big themes of the late 60s and early 70s as well.

Jim: Sounds like Cloud's work is both informative and provocative. How have his ideas (as well as your being a member of an on-going men's group) affected how and what you photograph? [Readers: click on Jim Ley's name in his comment to go to his photography site.]


Perhaps having a balanced way of living...


The shear volume of self help books may also be enlightening-- have we lost our sense of self that we need to abdicate to the experts to find our way?

Adnohr Yak

Do I dare say what I see?

I see a gluttony of self-help books authored to help themselves to the disposable income of starving readers quest to ingest wisdom.

Over-priced cookbooks of "how to's" and "should do's".

A lot of it is junk-food for the mind.

With that half-glass empty comment (which is definitely not who I am as a person), I do want to say even crap makes things grow.

Roger von Oech

dibyadeep: Good point. I for one have picked up good points along the way from various "self-help" books. There are few among who hasn't gotten really busy with events (or been overwhelmed by them), and then forgotten what's really important. Some of these books do act like big signs reminding us of that.

Leah: "The shear volume of self help books . . . " Well, they do sell and so they (some of them at least) must be finding their market.

Adnohr: I guess you got all your bases covered!

Stephen Denny

Roger: no, actually I was really refering to a book called, "Forgetting Ourselves on Purpose," which is one of many on the general topic of "finding your calling / finding meaning / finding happiness while you do what you do for money." Looking at Amazon, we can see a slew of such titles at the present -- this is a hot topic.

Valeria Maltoni

There's also the genre around self empowerment like Byron Katie's "I need your love, is that true?" -- one of the best titles I've seen along those lines.

Cam Beck

I'm reflecting on the books I've read so far in 2007, and the ones I still plan to read before the year is up... I'm not sure any of them don't qualify as "self-help."

Of the more openly self-help books, I'd say that their omnipresence show that we are becoming even more of a self-service, ADD culture. Rather than admit our deficiencies openly, we secretly seek out and soak up books that we think are likely to tell us the secret to resolving our troubles - right now.

We have very little patience and stamina to follow through, though, which is why we keep buying books on the same topics.

"The last seven didn't work, but this next one is sure to help!"

Roger von Oech

Stephen: Thanks for pointing that out to me.

Valeria: Thanks for the heads up about Byron title. Nice to see you again.

Camster: "Rather than admit our deficiencies openly, we secretly seek out and soak up books that we think are likely to tell us the secret to resolving our troubles . . . " This is especially true for those with intimacy issues.

Also: "We have very little patience and stamina to follow through, though, which is why we keep buying books on the same topics." Maybe this is similar to why people have a hard time following through on their diets.

Cam Beck

Roger - Agreed. This is sort of why I have trouble with a narrow definition of "self-help." Every book I read helps. Or at least attempts to. Diet books certainly fall into that category, too.

Shakespeare's Fool

Thanks for suggesting we click on Jim Ley's name to see his photographs.

The variety of topics at the Amazon link rzklkng gave us reminds me of an article that described America as an Omniculture (or a term something like that). To use what is likely not the best metaphor: a stew in which parts of every culture float. Swim from chunk to chunk and take a ride, tire of that chunk? hop off and swim to another.


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