(via In defence of self-help books | Alain de Botton | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk)
“They promise their readers eternal life, untold riches and an escape from every grubby aspect of being human, all within 300 pages of upbeat, relentlessly repetitive and patronising prose. No wonder the unstated assumption of the cultural elite is that really only stupid people read them.
What about everybody else? The assumption is that life doesn’t need to be navigated with lessons. You can just do it intuitively. After all, you only need to achieve autonomy from your parents, find a moderately satisfying job, form a relationship, perhaps raise some children, watch the onset of mortality in your parents’ generation and eventually in your own, until one day a fatal illness starts gnawing at your innards and you calmly go to the grave, shut the coffin and are done with the self-evident business of life.