Crap you shouldn’t “buy just to find out about it”

Crap you shouldn’t “buy just to find out about it” because that is exactly how they make their money. Train wrecks you might slow down and look at but crap just stinks.

– The Celestine Prophecy
– Medjugorje
– The Da Vinci Code

Please add to the list in comments


  1. Derek says:

    I agree about not spending your money on The Celestine Prophecy. I haven’t read the others.

    But, in my opinion, the Celestine Prophecy has some kernels of truth underneath it all. When I was reading it, I felt like he just took way too long to say a very simple idea. “Some social games that you were taught to play rob you of opportunities for genuine connection.” And then he would beat you over the head with it for a dozen or more pages, then summarize it, and on and on.

    Bottom line, it wasn’t meant for people who are accumstomed to self-reflection, self-analysis, genuinely desiring and trying for self-improvement, etc. I think that, perhaps, this book is a good INTRODUCTION to those sorts of ideas and ways of thinking for those who aren’t used to self-reflection.

    BTW, I’m not disagreeing with you at all. For anyone who’s likely to be reading this blog, judging from what I know of you, they shouldn’t bother with it.

  2. Lee says:

    It honestly depresses me to think that so many people are so generally incapable of self-reflection that this book turns out to be useful. So now I’m caught in my own judgements… I say it’s “crap” but (obviously) there are people that enjoyed it and maybe even helped by it. Am I being elitist? Belittling? Derisive? I still think it’s crap.

    And yeah, your “banging over the head” analogy is right on. If I remember correctly, each chapter boiled down to one truism, like, “Be nice” or “Don’t poke people.”

  3. TJIC says:

    4. Dianetics
    5. Cigarettes

    Am I being elitist? Belittling? Derisive?

    What’s wrong with any of that? :)

    I still think it’s crap.

    You go, girl!

  4. Derek says:

    > Am I being elitist? Belittling? Derisive? I still think it’s crap.

    It’s crap for you and the people you know and choose to spend time with. Maybe you’re belittling and derisive a little (not that there’s anything wrong with any of that :), but you’re not doing it to the faces of the people you’re talking about.

    And I don’t think you’re being elitist, because you’re not saying something silly like, “People who think this book is so great suck so much that they don’t even deserve to be shown how to be self-reflective if they have to be spoon fed.”

    The way I see it, if someone got so much out of this book and it was life-changing for them, that’s great. Here’s the sequels, go read them. Over there. Way over there. In a few years I’ve got some poetry by Lao Tzu I want you to read.

  5. powerfrau says:

    I dunno. The cigarettes are kinda nice – I have one a year with a glass of red wine. A clove, at sunset, with a merlot or shiraz.

    Self-reflection is not a taught skill (perhaps a more useful skill than high school German-sigh)… maybe people reading the books are not the folks who really need it — maybe it simply reaffirms the reader’s Weltanschauung, “don’t poke” — sorta like conspiracy theorists who primarily read conspiracy theories.

  6. Derek says:

    I agree about cloves. Once in a long while as a special treat. Everything in moderation. (Including moderation.)

    Do you really think people cannot learn to be more reflective? Do books espousing a certain way to look at and interact with the world just find their audience, who already tends to agree with them, and not change any minds?

    I do believe that people often read books that they already agree with, because it’s comforting to hear an “authority” (or at least an author) say what you already thought. In this sense they’re preaching to the converted. But I do think that exposure to new ideas at the right time in one’s life can change one’s mind and/or outlook.

  7. powerfrau says:

    People can learn to be more reflective, but they generally don’t –mostly because it challenges them to move beyond their comfort zones. Most people surround themselves with people, ideas & books that don’t challenge them too much. Exposure to new ideas does change minds, however change tends to be an incremental process -water on stone. If an idea is too challenging people will refuse it outright. An idea properly introduced–and as you say ‘at the right time,’ it can create change/growth. Sometimes people need conrete clarification of the intuitive in order to line everything up in a coherent way, and act on it. We, humans, are pretty inconsistent and learn slowly. An extreme example is the woman who always gets involved with abusive men–she is in some way broken–bad programming. She won’t be in a healthy relationship until whatever is broken gets fixed. There is risk in change. We are generally risk averse–neural nets get “wired” and the patterns are hard to change.

  8. Derek says:

    I hear you, powerfrau. Most times people change when there’s some sort of catalyst in their lives, mostly some crisis, or when they hit a low in their lives. I had a friend who rather enjoyed being a catalyst for people. She was rather impulsive, and didn’t bring out the best in people. Though she did seem to bring about change.

  9. Carlotta Sangiovese says:

    Do you know what the Zen Hotdog maker said when asked for money back from a ten dollar bill? “Child, change comes from within.” I have been surprised at the people and events which proved to be catalysts for me.
    Sometimes change is good, sometimes not. Maybe change can only be evaluated on a longer time frame.

  10. Lee says:

    Oh, by the way….

    Charlotte, meet Derek. We went to (you’ll love this…) middle school together. A while back we started talking again after I invited him to a reunion of our school Gifted and Talented program. He couldn’t make it but we realized that we had a lot in common. :-)

    Derek, meet Charlotte, AKA powerfrau, AKA Carlotta Sangiovese, AKA Bathes in Milk, AKA A lotta things. I was set up with her by a long time friend in Boston just recently. Charlotte lives in Boston. It was discovered that the secret plan was for her to lure me back to Boston. But it backfired! She is scheduled to move to SF by the end of August!

  11. Derek says:

    Greetings, fair Charlotte! I hope your move to San Francisco is all you hope for and more. I wonder, what was the catalyst for such a sudden change, or was it more of an incremental process?

  12. powerfrau says:

    “Oh no!” She gasps, “What’s a superheroine to do? Now my secret identities are known. Pretty soon my weakness will be out and that will be the end of…” Oh heck, the P on my chest can stand for Pout.

    Hi Derek! Thank you for your good wishes! My secret plan had been to check out SF (& DC) & see which would be ideal. Catalysts are sometimes rockslides started by one grain of sand, shifting and moving. In a not-quite geologic process those grains dislodged a pretty settled New Englander. Sometimes change occurs one degree at a time, in this case the difference between -10 & 70. Ahhh, SF in February : ) YES! Both. Incremental & sudden. The shift in time frame was sudden. Some catalysts catalyze faster than expected.

  13. Lee says:

    Here’s some followup from an email exchange I had with a friend…

    A major reason why I dislike the Da Vinci Code is that it markets itself as non-fiction when it throws in fiction whenever the author sees fit. You assume that the only questionable items are that thing about the Christ banging a whore and that the author is busy making his case. That is not true.

    Here’s some critisism about the movie from .

    From my email to Eric “I’m sticking to my guns in saying that it’s better to read and watch factual non-fiction than fictional non-fiction.”

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