The Self-Help section is one of the largest at Barnes and Noble, and without a doubt high on the profitability scale. The idea of an accessible and simple formula for lifetime success has now even seeped into the biography section. There was a time when one read biographies to view from the long end of history how a life had been formed by experience, choice and belief. Not today. Today, the majority of “biographies” more accurately stand as mid-life memoirs (some earlier than that) and they don’t intent to map out the story of life so far, but instead to manipulate the events of an unfinished life into the few short platitudes which can create tips for a ravenous public.
Our new ways of defining human thriving have so denigrated our ability to stand in our own skin and to relate to each other with love and respect that anyone with an objective view would jettison these views in an instant. But without a meaningful alternative, an attainable counter-narrative to the way to life, the deep and addictive rut of the status-quo will continue to hold us in its sway. Thankfully this counter-narrative is not far off. There are signs for optimism.