#36 – Self-Help Books

30 11 2009

The bogan will tell you it likes to read. Having the means to attend university and briefly flirt with academic theories of psychology and fulfillment (see Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory) it will also loudly claim that it aspires to self-actualisation; a state of being everything it could ever hope to be.

Stubbornly impeding the progress towards this lofty goal is the fact that bogans LOVE shortcuts. Be it get-rich quick schemes, examining a limited number of habits of “highly effective” individuals, or simply seeking an effortless strategy to living superbly, the bogan cannot wait for the next quick fix to a better life. However, lacking the patience and introspective ability to actually better itself, the bogan hungrily seeks out the next bestseller that shamelessly adorns the gift shop in the Tiger Airways terminal.

Proudly bearing claims such as “the ultimate guide to spiritual enlightenment in 7 days” or “a practical guide to personal and financial freedom”, the bogan, it would seem, simply cannot resist the allure of potentially getting rich and achieving inner peace for a paltry $29.95 (in heady moments of either enthusiasm or guilt).  Thus, the bogan is effectively a prime culprit for creating the burgeoning self-help publishing industry and the baffling popularity of intellectual cretins/life coaches/gurus such as Anthony Robbins.

Ostensibly rooted in psychological theory, the “self help” pandemic has infected a staggering number of unsuspecting and gullible bogans nationwide. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to low quality home-spun advice, the bogan is tricked into thinking it’s helping itself, while blindly digesting a stranger’s manipulative swill neatly condensed into a 100 pages. Filled with pearls of wisdom such as “If you can’t, you must, If you must, you can” and “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”, it is little wonder that the helplessly malleable bogan mind takes to this drivel like a pensioner to a poker machine.

While the bogan is unlikely to read more than 10% of the self-improvement products it purchases, the mere presence of these brightly coloured, excitedly titled tomes on the bookshelf are hopefully sufficient to impress visitors, and transfer their wisdom to all occupants of the room via a mysterious process of osmosis. Like one of those air fresheners that the bogan plugs into a power point.

It is sadly only a matter of time until titles such as Get confident, stupid or Kidneys for Sale: How to maximise your body’s potential” become the next big thing. Ultimately, the bogan realises that self-help is not adequate to solve its flawed self of self. Which leads to tomorrow’s entry…


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56 responses

30 11 2009
njp

Sorry guys, you have jumped the shark
1. Bogans do not read.
2. The self-help books noted are read by the time-wasting execs who ended up giving us the global financial crisis.
3. True bogan self-help books are colloquially known as stick magazines.

30 11 2009
Tone

When was the last time you saw a copy of ‘The Secret’ on the bookshelf in a time-wasting exec’s office?

30 11 2009
Dee

Are you kidding? Every bogan I know reads – Twilight, the latest Jodi Picoult novel, He’s Just Not That Into You, The Da Vinci Code, etc. etc.

30 11 2009
Anonymous Bosch

Wrong. ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, (‘Get rich quick via real estate speculation’), is still a Female Bogan favourite. The trick is to read it without asking any logical questions about the possible negative income drain property ownership sometimes entails: the quasi-self-help drivel inside helpfully ignores that aspect completely.

If you’re wondering why housing prices took a huge jump in the 2002-2004 period, I more than suspect it was the huge Bogan popularity of that book at the same time.

30 11 2009
Tone

I’ve read ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ (I know, for shame) and one of the big things Mr Miyagi or whatever the dude’s name that wrote it said was that property investment isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Of course, most bogans brushed this off as being irrelevant to Australia, but there you go.

30 11 2009
Jasper

They buy the self help books on CD and listen to someone else read it to them.

30 11 2009
6655321

Njp

You’ve just fallen into the biggest hogan trap of all.

You believe the hype of tabloid journalists by thinking that the GFC was the product of execs and bankers.

The GFC was the result of an unregulated financial system with little controls in place advocated by the Friedmanites and accelerated under Reagan.

In effect, it is not a crisis as such, but a natural response of an economic system over-inflated with easy finance stemming from the US govt stimulus packages after the tech wreck and Sept 11.

The whole world jumped on the easy money bandwagon and is now paying for it. What goes up must come down

30 11 2009
Kylie

NJP – two points with your comment.

1. The post clearly mentioned that the average bogan is likely to read barely 10% of the self-help book in question, so, they’re still hardly reading (although I agree with Dee that many a bogan loves a “good” book – preferably that’s already a bestseller or has been made into a film. Even better if both those boxes are ticked).

And 2. Who says those time-wasting execs aren’t bogans? I’m sure the two aren’t mutually exclusive

30 11 2009
Tone

Whilst this might only be anecdotal evidence backed up with absolutely no research whatsoever, is it just me or does there appear to be some sort of correlation between the rise of the Cashed Up Bogan and the increase in self-help book sales?

Could this be used to prove that the books DO work? Or that when CUBs have more disposable income, they spend part of their new found wealth on these books?

30 11 2009
Dee

These books are much loved by a sub-species of Bogans, the Faux-Hippies. The ones who have that giant Time Life hardcover book of astrology that tells you all about yourself based on the day you were born, and a house full of cheap candles from Dusk sitting in cheap black fake wrought iron candlesticks from Copperart. Favourite book: The Secret. Or Tuesdays With Morrie.

30 11 2009
Kat

I agree the Secret might feature, but not so sure about financial self-help and other such. I think that’s a wider trait. While the true bogan is certainly into ideas such as espoused in the Secret (the easy way), the bogan who is seeking knowledge of how to better oneself is in fact moving outside the bogan realm.

Most of the bogans I know do not own these books. They own books such as “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Clitorus” or “The Home Brewers Guide”. Sex and beer are appropriate pursuits but the pursuit of wealth is quite unecessary when you are paid a ton to drive a truck and have access to credit cards.

30 11 2009
Fiona of Toorak

LOL. Bogans have bookshelves?

30 11 2009
Kat

Yes, some do, though most of the shelves are occupied by vases, polished stones and figurines.

30 11 2009
Fiona of Toorak

LOL. And the “bookshelves” are formica lined chipboard planks propped up with cinder blocks.

30 11 2009
Nagob the Anti-Bogan

Me thinks you are paying Ikea and Fantastic Furniture a disservice with that description…

30 11 2009
Shandarleeer

Tea-towell wisdom has been a mainstay of boganism for a long time. Remember the twee prayers for strength and understanding that adorned toilets, kitchens and hallways since the 70’s.

30 11 2009
WordNerd

I hope to one day get past my own self of self. Now, if only I could figure out what that is…

30 11 2009
Fitzroyalty

Bogans pretend to read, and publishers are publishing more books to line the shelves of bogans – gangster memoirs, sporting autobiographies, etc

30 11 2009
JimC

Why would bogans read when they can get the same kind of drivel in an episode of DR. PHIL? A show where basic common sense is seem as life-changing profundity.

30 11 2009
Simon

I’m hoping this leads to Hillsong. Most people who read this stuff also seem to have Jesus as their other crutch. Hands in the air, swaying out of time to the music, dopey, devoted look on their uncomprehending faces as money is hoovered out of their pocket.

30 11 2009
Indi

The consumerist attitude to everything, including faith and spirituality is the bigger vehicle. Buddhism, because the statues are so nice in your garden, Kabbala cause McDonna does it, and a wedding in your local Anglican or Catholic church. I have a couple of friends who are clergy, who have to deal with young couples who treat the local church as a ‘venue’, and don’t see the need to be in active communion before planning a wedding.

30 11 2009
spootle

Things Goths Hate is way better than this rubbish blog

Haha! Bravo. – TBL

30 11 2009
yelkr

I once worked in a place where the boss had plastered the walls with those annoying ‘motivational’ posters… things like “If it is to be, then it’s up to me” and “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.
Ugh! It was so nauseating.

30 11 2009
yelkr

The E-Myth is one of the books favoured by bogans who think they’re entrepreneurs. I was given a copy of it once and read the first 2 chapters, before I realised what I was doing and threw it down.
I couldn’t quite believe that an author could make money on selling a book that was completely full of nonsense and written in such a patronising tone – like explaining business basics to a toddler.

30 11 2009
Kat

I read the e-myth. I thought it was interesting at the time but now, sadly, I don’t remember any of it except for one quote about working your way up the ladder for years so that you can work a 15 hour day for less money … hang on, maybe that was in that other book.

30 11 2009
Wolfgang

The explosion of cashed up Bogans is due to none of this self help stuff.

Blame the mines!! Offering brainless drop kicks the opportunity to earn 6 figure salaries for sweeping floors has transformed the Bogan and their tastes. Maybe that is another topic….

30 11 2009
Samantha

Yeah, true. Do not only blame the mines though, also blame the surge in the need for city infrastructure to handle the ever-increasing population. Bogans are getting rich from the huge need for labourers on these projects (as you know, labour jobs are key to the bogans survival). This is especially true in the capital cities.

Yet, I predict that today’s cashed-up-bogans are tomorrow’s debt-ridden brothel dwellers.

30 11 2009
Samantha

Another ridiculously accurate entry from a brilliant website! How do you guys manage to be so spot-on in your observations of the bogan?

I’m looking forward to future posts on fake tans, rugby league, randomly shouting “woo!” and “yeeah! from a balcony and/or verandah at 3 AM and masking overt racism with pseudo-patriotism.

Keep up the awesome work! x

1 12 2009
Right and proud

Yeah, because bogans don’t follow cricket or AFL, do they? I love it how Victorian/ South Australian bogans think bogans don’t follow anything but NRL and V8 Supercars.

1 12 2009
Samantha

Hmm, just because I didn’t mention AFL or cricket this does not mean I don’t consider them bogan activities. In fact, if pressed, I could compile a list of 101 things I think bogans like. I merely provided a few examples in a casual post on a casual blog.
Lighten up, man.

1 12 2009
Kat

I would definitely add ‘team sports’ to this list. Also ‘xtreme sports’.
If I was making this list, both of these would be on it. Motor sports goes without saying.

1 12 2009
Sam

What about croquet and polo. Are they bogan?

How do you keep fit Kat?

1 12 2009
Right and proud

I just find it strange that you singled out Rugby League, rather than calling it ‘footy’ (which includes Aussie Rules and Rugby Union, although Union is more the territory of GPS private schools and the lower North Shore set).

As somebody who regularly attends matches in the NRL, the A-League (soccer) and occasionally goes to see the cricket or the V8’s, I can assure you they all have pretty much the same amount of bogans. Unless you go to watch the Newcastle Jets or Cronulla Sharks play at their home grounds!

4 12 2009
r.jett

huh? cricket has always been the major bastion of bogan. Same goes for all codes of vying for the title of ‘football’. It’s just that here in victoria the people that like rugby tend to be the ‘bogan loud and proud’ variety……

30 11 2009
toony

“ridiculously accurate”? You just have to be a hairdresser….
Oh, be a dear and get up off your knees.
Thanks Sammie.

30 11 2009
Samantha

I have no idea what your point is here, Toony. I am not a hairdresser. Are you implying I am stupid? The words, “ridiculously accurate” are quite legitimate. Would you like me to provide you with their respective definitions? Or, would you prefer it if I pointed out the plethora of grammatical errors in your accusatory post?

Let me know 🙂

However, if you are too busy watching pornography in order to validate your squandered masculinity, I will understand.

p.s. Should I have dumbed-down my post for you, “Toony”?

30 11 2009
toony

It’s toony, not Toony ya daft twat.

30 11 2009
Richard

You have just proved Samantha’s point right there Toony. lol. Get a life you, you troll.

30 11 2009
FT

hmmm, self-help books – I’ve only ever read part of one.

It was the part of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” that led up to a chapter that had something to do with the ludicrous notion that nobody ever wins an argument. I think that chapter was going to tell me that regardless of who is right and who is wrong during an argument, nobody ever comes out ‘winning’….

It was at that point, I threw the book down in disgust and vowed never to read another self-help book ever again.

That was when I was about 15yrs old.

I’m now a lawyer, and I get paid to win arguments. Take that, Dale Carnegie!!

30 11 2009
toony

FT,
With the respect that your alleged profession is accorded, did you actually throw the book down? Was there a ‘bah humbug’?

Why were you reading Dale Carnegie in the first place?

As a 15yo??

FT, have you ever lived away from your parents house?

I suspect you are actually a lawyer……

30 11 2009
Samantha

Now, “Toony”, my dear, this post just doesn’t make sense. Perhaps dropping out of school at grade 10 wasn’t such a good idea for you?

Might I suggest a remedial English language course? Just throwing it out there.

30 11 2009
Samantha

Let us be honest with each other; you own a self-help book don’t you “Toony”? And, as a consequence, you are taking your shame out upon us innocent commentors.

The first step of recovering from boganism is to admit that you are, indeed, a bogan.

At the risk of bowing to pop psychology: Let it out, “Toony”….let it all out.

30 11 2009
toony

4 or 5 posts on this site and I already have a maladjusted troll (as opposed to the other grammatical fascists/ twits that take time out from Schoolies to point out that I don’t have enough time to ensure I can construct a proper sentence that fits the criteria that suits the Board representing their state and has to have an enormous whinge about it to justify…their existence?) stalking me.

Stalking me won’t achieve anything Sameesha. Go grab another fizzy pop, enjoy, and let the anal retention just wash away. No, seriously.

30 11 2009
FT

toony, actually, I have lived away from my parents house. Given that I’m almost 30, it seems rather appropriate. If you want a count, I’m currently in my fourth house out of home. which happens to be the second which I’ve owned personally.

Now, to answer your much more relevant question: I was reading Dale Carnegie as a 15yo because my father apparently thought I was too pig-headed and argumentative, and therefore thought that a book such as “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, with all it’s focus on mediation and avoiding arguments, might ‘change me’. Obviously, it did just the opposite.

Thus (drawing your attention back to my statement in my first paragraph) the stupidity of these so-called “self-help” books is not lost on me.

30 11 2009
toony

FT, your father is a weirdo. I could not imagine a guardian giving that sort of stuff to a wee lad? Is he catholic?
Regardless, you sound normal. Good on you too – the bible is a far worse fate. Just look at Sammeela… she’s a unit!

30 11 2009
FT

toony, thanks for the vote of confidence. For the record, my father is not a catholic, and he didn’t give that sort of stuff to a wee lad. He gave it to a wee lass.

1 12 2009
Simon

Toony? I think that should just be Tool.

1 12 2009
Right and proud

I think all self-help books are being tarred with the same brush. There are self-help books (like ‘The Secret’) that are just about how to accumulate more stuff and more money to buy more stuff with. Then there are self-help books that are about bettering yourself as a person and being more content. I prefer the latter, and have read several of them.

1 12 2009
Samantha

..which is why you sound like a w*nker. lol

1 12 2009
Right and proud

What is a w*nker? A winker perhaps? I’ll go and get my hair-cut somewhere else from now on!

4 12 2009
r.jett

priceless!

4 12 2009
r.jett

They’re all psuedo-religious bullshit. Are you that helpless???

24 12 2009
Big Jamie

Track down Steve Salernos excellent book S.H.A.M. if you want a well written and researched book on how self help merely exploits those too ignorant to think for themselves.

25 12 2009
Tim

In defense of Right and Proud, what’s wrong with a genuine attempt at bettering oneself, regardless of the means used?

Sure, we all love to sneer down our noses at stupid or “lesser” people here (discovering this site has been one of the highlights of my year!) but why jealously guard our priveleged intellect/contentness/position by belittling those aspiring to a more meaningful existence?

21 04 2012
Vanilla Skin

Unfair and untrue post. Self help books are usually awful, cheesy and unrealistic but they embody an ethos that is the very antithesis of bogandom; That of self realisation and perpetual personal evolution. This post needs to go…

30 06 2012
Right and proud

Unfortunately, we can’t all be born with an immediate understanding of what we need to do to find success in our personal or our professional lives. Forgive us mere mortals for wanting to better ourselves, we’re not worthy! A thousand pardons…

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