Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Terrible Book

How to Ruin Your Life is one of the few terrible books I've read. Even poorly written books usually have something redeemable, not this. It's a waste of paper.

By Ben Stein, who can be too conservative for my tastes, this slim book is just mean spirited and misses the humor mark by a mile. It consists of 35 short essays on how to ruin one's life. Topics include: Don't Clean Up After Yourself, Be a Perfectionist (Right like Martha Stewart has ruined her life), Don't Learn Any Self-Discipline, Don't Learn Any Useful Skills.

The book's problems are many. I'll list a few:
  1. It's not funny and a humorous book should be. This just comes off as smug and obvious. There were no surprises or insights into human nature, which one expects from even mediocre humor.
  2. It preaches to the choir. There's no way anyone with one of these chronic bad habits would read this book.
  3. It's mean-spirited. Stein just comes across as condescending, as someone who's looking down at people with problems from some Mt. Olympus vantage point.
I'm glad I didn't waste my money on this and decided not to waste more than a half hour reading and hoping it would get better.

No comments: