Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words
Kindle US: NO UK: NO Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: YES
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A college teacher and textbook editor, Douglas Texter prefers humor in his own writing. His work has appeared in The Door and Amityville House of Pancakes.
An anti-self-help book, subtitled 12 Steps Away from Self-Esteem and Toward a Better World.
You’re Not Very Important skewers self-help books and many of the people and organizations that purport to help make you a better, happier person. Most chapters are organized with an explanation of a particular quality encouraged by many self-improvement gurus with some stories demonstrating why this quality is bad. This is followed by a table of examples where a well known person has done as suggested and the negative consequences. The chapter ends with a list of specific items for you not to do to avoid the negative repercussions.
For example, many self-help books advise making a plan. Texter tells a story of a textbook salesperson who wanted to convince a community college to choose the book represented by her company. She makes a plan that starts with lying about how good her company’s book is and ends with cutting the brake cable on the competing sales representative’s car. Good plan. Needless to say, the ending wasn’t pretty. There is then a table with examples of “to-do” lists and their consequences. One sample list from a date in 1492 for Christopher Columbus includes saying hi to the nice short guy on the beach, which resulted in Native Americans being exposed to European diseases and twenty million deaths, and offering a ride on a boat to another short guy which started the slave trade in North America.
I found You’re Not Important to be quite funny. Most of the jokes, references, and absurd logic leading to the conclusion that a particular self-help technique was bad had the desired effect of getting a laugh or tickling my funny bone. Some of the references might be obscure for all but the older reader (40-50 and up), but I don’t think there are enough of these to ruin the book for anyone since no one will understand every reference. (An example that might be obscure for younger readers is a reference to George Wallace, not the comedian, but the right-wing politician who was the Governor of Alabama and onetime candidate for President of the United States.) If you’d like a book to lighten things up and serve as an antidote for a fast track life, this is what you’re looking for.
No significant issues.
Rating: **** Four stars