Published in the opinion page, as a member of the Community Advisory Board of the Holland Sentinel, the newspaper of Holland Sentinel.
Holland — Oh, what a wretch I once was! Poor, ugly and unmotivated, I wandered, desperate for direction. You too dream of beauty and brilliance, purpose and power, life everlasting, believing them impossible fantasies — but behold! Help is at hand!
That’s right: In the next 580 words, I’ll reveal your personalized path to perfection — your truth, your light and your way — condensed into effortless reads after years of arduous self-improvement on my part. Prepare to be transformed.
I’ll start your makeover at the mirror. If you’re young, you may be able to squeak by with the books “I Can Make You Thin” by Paul McKenna; “The 17 Day Diet” by Michael Moreno; and “The 4-Hour Body” by Timothy Ferriss. If you’re old — say, above 18 — you’d better also consult “How Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better,” wherein Charla Krupp prescribes hair extensions, Botox shots and chemical peels to restore your looks.
On the equally crucial issue of money, you’ll need to purchase Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich,” Ramit Sethi’s “I Will Teach You to Be Rich,” the aforementioned McKenna’s “I Can Make You Rich,” Josef George’s “I Can Make You Rich Quick,” Felix Dennis’ “How to Get Rich,” J. Paul Getty’s “How to Be Rich” and Russell Simmons’ “Super Rich.” It’s not a complete list, but it will do for starters.
Pausing to acknowledge those righteous few who hold that life rests on more than looks and luxury, I direct you to titles addressing peripheral worries. You may, for instance, suffer from a phenomenon commonly referred to as “being wrong.” For this, you need Madsen Pirie’s “How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Logic” — an aim I myself would think illogical were it not splashed across such a sharp cover.
You may also lack confidence. If so, “I Can Make You Confident” (McKenna for the third time) will, per the book’s jacket, “stop fear and desperation and create massive amounts of confidence and self-belief instantly.” Plus, Amazon.com advertises an accompanying hypnosis CD “that will fill your mind with positive thoughts and feelings, so you have Paul McKenna on tap 24 hours a day!” What more could you want?
Oh yes, wisdom. Simply read “60 Minutes of Wisdom: Insights in an Instant by Derek Grier,” and your life’s deep, burning questions — Who wrote this incredible guide? How can I ever repay him? — shall be answered.
What should you take from all this?
In Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer’s “The Success Principles” the authors enumerate “64 success principles that … ‘always work.’”
In William Clement Stone’s “The Success System That Never Fails,” readers learn of “formulas, prescriptions, recipes-rules, principles, systems — even treasure maps, if you please — which… are so simple and so obvious.”
These saving authors have done your work for you. They’ve defined your needs — a perfect profile; flaunted wealth; and the general ability to perform to the whims of successful society — and they’ve shown you how to achieve them.
One final warning. In your climb to the top, be sure never to fall prey to that self-effacing practice of self-reflection, lest it spark a flame of inner security deep in your soul. Such a dark light may, with patience, burgeon into a glowing belief in your inherent self-worth, which may in turn push you to help others besides yourself — for after all, who could be more wanting than you?
Heed my warning or be forever lost: After all, mine is the only way to your true happiness.
Note: All books and quotes used in this piece are real.
[my name] at yahoo dot com