Sunday 23 July 2017

Mid-life crisis: Embracing shame with my pal Niamh

Self-help books are like carbs, the more you consume, the more you find yourself wanting
Self-help books are like carbs, the more you consume, the more you find yourself wanting
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

My colleague Niamh Horan has been turning me on to some vaguely spiritual Ted Talks. I know, I know. That's not what you expected to hear is it? But in between arguing, Niamh and I share a taste for self-improvement, or healing your inner child, or whatever the current phrase is.

My interest is probably a little mercenary in that, as some of you will know, I have long been nursing the notion that I should write a self-help book. It's not that I'm any good at helping myself, but I think I could be good at telling other people, specifically Americans, how to help themselves. I have toyed with the notion for years, even going so far as coming up with titles now and then. One system of self-healing and self-actualisation was ENBY which stands for Expect Nothing; Be Yourself. I became convinced one evening in a drunken conversation that this was the key to a happy life. I didn't get beyond the title, but then again, there isn't much more to it. If you get the right title, that's half the battle.

The great thing about self-help books is that they are one of those products that aren't required to do what they say on the tin. Self-help books are like carbs, the ultimate consumer product in that the more you consume the more you want, which goes against all the rules of economics and consumer behaviour and has more in common with addiction.

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