02 August 2006

You're Not Very Important by Douglas W. Texter (Liason Press, 2003)

If you've ever thought that maybe you could be President, an American Idol, or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company then you should stop everything and read You're Not Very Important. Inside you will learn about the dangerous potential of everything from education to diversity to self-actualization.

Douglas W. Texter pokes fun at self-help, self-improvement, and everything else self-centred in the space of just over 200 pages. Texter has a gift for taking any situation and following it through to the most outrageous conclusion imaginable -- in fact, many conclusions are unimaginable. The gag runs thin before the subjects run out, and there are a few too many references to European dictators, but the book as a whole is entertaining. There were many passages which made me laugh out loud:
  • on how to judge the effectiveness of a wedgie, "It is wildly successful if the said undergarment tears off completely."
  • on identifying philosophers,"In a sense, philosophers greatly resemble street people, except that the latter aren't able to apply for MacArthur Grants."
  • on changing the world, "When people ask you to embark on an adventure that promises to make the world a better place, you should do your part for humanity by running away screaming."
Each chapter takes on a Myth -- the Myth of Religion, for example -- by introducing a scenario, blowing it out of proportion, and closing with suggestions for how to avoid getting caught in the same trap. It's clever satire and would make a great gift for your manager, the coworker who talked you into attending that pyramid scheme meeting, or that in-law with visions of grandeur.

*** 1/2

Buy You Aren't Very Important at Amazon.com
Buy the eBook through Fictionwise

tags: self-improvement, humour

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