BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

Hard advice ...

This was, as one might expect, yet another dollar store find. While I don't mind reading “motivational” books every now and again, and I occasionally like a “humor” book, it's a rare thing when I'd go search this sort of thing out at full price. However, the other day I was in a dollar store and went to check the book section and there this was. As you might guess from the title, this is one of those “calendar” sorts of books, intended to be read one “day” at a time (although the author does “give his permission” to just read it straight through). No Time for Tact: 365 Days of the Wit, Words, and Wisdom of Larry Winget is by “New York Times bestselling author” Larry Winget, who I must admit I'd never heard of … but he appears to have cornered the market on “ornery, sarcastic cuss” motivational books, with a series of titles (such as Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life) which aren't exactly the touchy-feely new-age pile of platitudes that is typical of the genre.

Now, folks who know what a cynical, bitter, kind of guy I can be would think that I'd love this book, but after 3.5 years of unsuccessfully looking for permanent employ, a lot of Mr. Winget's “get up off your ass” kind of approach is less amusing that it would have been in happier economic times. While I certainly agree with him on most of his general points, I found myself cringing a lot and spinning out excuses as to why things weren't working out. So, having blown through the 365 sections (it's set up with daily “thoughts”, some being a few words, the longest being a page and a half) in three days or so, I'm feeling a bit beat up by him.

Frankly, he and I went in opposing directions in the introduction, where he says: “I know the first thing each of you will do is go to your birthday and see what I said on 'your' day. That's how people are.” … honestly, doing that would not have even occurred to me had he not made a point of suggesting it, so there was a disconnect here from the get-go between his assumptions and my thinking!

Oh, one other thing is odd with this book … it has a red ribbon bound into the book to use as a bookmark, like a bible or something … a pretty fancy conceit for the “Pitbull of Personal Development” hailing from Muskogee, Oklahoma, but I suppose that it sort of fits with moving through the book day-by-day.

Since there's really no story line here, I figured what I'd do was bring you a few choice bits that struck me as notable while reading through this:

January 21 – Sometimes you lose. When that happens, don't be a jerk about it. Then again, sometimes you win. When it happens, don't be a jerk about it.

March 29 – Whining about your problem only prolongs the problem.

April 26 – Never say anything stupid like “It can't get any worse than this!” That is a challenge you do not want to issue. If there's one thing I have learned, it can always get worse!

June 24 – The ideal plan for your money:
                    Save 10 percent.
                    Invest 10 percent.
                    Give away 10 percent.
                    Live on the remaining 70 percent.

August 22 – Don't deny that a problem is a problem. People who say “I don't have problems; I only have opportunities” are idiots. Some problems are not opportunities – they are problems. Recognize them as problems and deal with them appropriately. Denial is stupid, and it doesn't do anything but prolong the pain of the problem.

September 1 – The truth hurts; that's how you know it's the truth. If someone comes up to you and says something really nice, they're probably lying to you!

November 16 – On average, people spend twenty hours per week watching television and less than two hours per week reading. Fifty-eight percent of Americans won't read a nonfiction book after high school. Forty-two percent of university graduates never read another book after college. Only 20 percent will buy or read a book this year. Seventy percent have not been in a library or bookstore in the past five years. I guess these folks think they have all the information necessary to be successful, prosperous, happy, and healthy.
Needless to say, I find that last one (although I've seen similar stats in other contexts) horrifying … it's hard for me to imagine what sort of an intellectual wasteland those non-readers live in. Obviously, that's a “pet peeve” for me (thus making this list), you get an idea from the others up there what the tone of the book is. I'm surprised that Winget hadn't ever made it onto my radar before now (he has over a dozen books out and has done a bunch of media), although (as noted), I don't suppose that I go in search for much in the “personal development” niche.

I really can't say that I liked No Time for Tact ... it's abrasive, pushy, and, frankly, hits way too close to home in various points … but there was a certain Schadenfreude in reading this with its being 180° from the endless platitudes of books like The Secret, and imagining how the enthusiasts for that sort of “self-help” book would handle Larry Winget's approach. While I got my copy at the dollar store, it's only been out a couple of years and seems to still be in print. However, if you can't find a copy for a buck, the on-line new/used guys have copies of the hardcover for as little as a penny (plus the $3.99 shipping, of course), which would likely be your best bet if this sounds like the sort of snark that you want to start your day with.

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Tags: book review
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