So, I like to read. I read a lot. Maybe not as much as others, but I took to heart the old adage about wanting to be a good writer means reading as much as you write.
Plus, reading is fun. It’s good for the brain.
Of course, not everything is great, so I’m going to work my way through, from the bad to the good, over the time I spent writing The Mungk.
Choose Yourself – James Altucher
I don’t like people who are full of shit, and nothing’s more telling than when someone is trying to tell you how great they are, while trying to couch the nastiest aspects of selfishness in mock kindness, and in every example of how great they are, they’re simply telling you how great they are. In their moments of “honesty”, to show what they’ve overcome, they give you concrete, specific examples of how actually poorly behaved they are. Don’t tell me what a great boss you are (using an employee fluffing your bum as the example, which everybody knows is them kissing ass to pump your ego and get something for themselves), then give me a concrete example of how you used to call your secretary to make sure the hallway was empty so you didn’t have to interact with any of the people who worked for you. Actions speak louder. Don’t tell me how honest you are, then give repeated, specific examples of how you lied, stole and jerked people around in your never-ending greed. Am I supposed to truly believe you’re some kind of capitalist bodhisattva now? Really? Rule of thumb when it comes to personal development authors. If the author spends more time marketing themselves to you than they do trying to get their message across, then the message is look at me, look at me, not whatever bullshit they’re trying to con you in buying more of. Quite possibly the worst book I’ve ever read, and definitely the worst I read during this period.
Unlimited Power – Tony Robbins
See above. Aspirational literature is among the most damaging literature, because it’s detached from reality and consists largely of demands for more, more, more, without ever actually considering that this is entirely self-defeating. It doesn’t turn you into a lightning rod of joy; it makes you a black hole of failed perfectionism. And again, if someone spends more time selling you on themselves than the message they’re purporting to market, then the thing they’re trying to sell is the image of them, not any kind of helpful support. Beware the guru more interested in brand than character; their interest is image, not reality.
I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell – Tucker Max
Listen, I enjoy crude humour as much as the rest, and the self-deprecating parts could be kind of funny, but mostly, this is an exercise in ego and narcissism. I’m not a fan of stupid people either; but more than that, I’m not a fan of the myopic, of which this is somewhat a shrine.
A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle
I know this guy is somewhat revered in mindfulness and woo-woo circles, but to me, there’s absolutely nothing new about any of the material. It’s still all stolen from mindfulness teachers from Lao Tzu to Osho and then twisted to make it sound like the guy’s some kind of messiah. Make no mistake, this guy isn’t interested in human enlightenment; he wants to be a religious leader, a cult leader, and take all your money. Add that to the fact that there’s literally nothing new in here from his first book, and well, there’s little here to justify the cover price.
Fairy Tales – Hans Christian Andersen
Listen. I know it’s a classic, and I appreciate some of the flowery prose, but man, tedious. And pointless. I’m not even sure what the logic or meaning of these stories even are half the time. Life sucks, we’re all going to die? For a beloved teller of children’s tales, these sure are profoundly negative.
Assholes Finish First – Tucker Max
Somehow, worse than the first one. In the first, there was a touch of self-awareness; it’s completely missing now.
Sylvie And Bruno – Lewis Carroll
Listen, I’m not a huge Alice In Wonderland fan, but this, this follow-up… I’ve never been more unable to follow a story, part of which is because it’s absolutely nonsensically pointless, but also, because it’s so tediously written that it didn’t hold my interest at all. Sorry, Lewis, this one isn’t revered like Alice for a reason, I suspect.
Do The Fucking Work – Brian Biurge, Jason Bacher, Jason Richburg
A friggin’ pamphlet of uninspired, trite mediocrity, purporting to be rebellious and aspirational. Pure fucking garbage. Do the fucking trash bin.
Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
I mean, it’s a classic, right? So it should be… good, right? Yet, it spends almost seventy percent of the book either praising God or completing tedious tasks which this guy magically knows how to do. Even the ending is anti-climactic, and drawn out. Ugh, never again with this guy.
Swiss Family Robinson – Johann David Wyss
It’s like a bad movie pitch. Robinson Crusoe, but a whole family, and somehow worse, with a psychotic child that shoots every animal on sight, without thought! What do you think? Franchise potential?
This is probably all unfair, and I do try to find plusses in all things, so none of these were wholly without merit, but still… I never found that one redeeming quality, which says, okay, this isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read, unless it’s James Altucher, in which case, it is.
Target: 1200 words
Written: 326 words, poetry: Roses And Violets