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Fake Book Titles

Fake Book Titles III: Self-Help Suggestions

Boredpanda.com discusses a bunch of actual fake covers you can use to cover your boring copy of Plato’s Republic or Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. Many of these titles are in the self-help genre, and are sure to attract attention.

Passengers all moved away from this person when they saw the cover.

For example, why publically show your preference for Tess of the D’ubervilles, or War and Peace, when you can show off your interest in Hiding Your Erection from God? Covers like these have been shown to give you much more room on that rush hour subway ride, according to studies.

Boredpanda.com also had many titles below, that are too long, and don’t appear to satirize any existing covers. Some examples are below:

The self-help genre is a deep well, with titles that speak deeply about human angst and ennui. Harrowing tales! Horror! Suspicion! And who can resist a book describing in scientific detail a video about a puppy with the hiccups (the video in this link has 18 million views, but this one is closer to 7 minutes)?

Boris wants to mess with your coiff’. BTW, his hair is not this nice in real life.

And in case you need to know How to be Incompetent from the experts, here is a easy to read book with a very familiar British Prime Minister on the cover for those needing a mentor by which they can model their incompetent behaviour.

You get to learn the meaning of big words like anosognosia. While that word has medical connotations, the generally incompetent can interpret it in the sense of “not knowing that you don’t know”. That is, you are actually incompetent, yet not aware that you are incompetent. This is not to be confused with denial. Oh no, my dear reader! This is just incompetence raised to a new dimension: you are too incompetent to know that you are incompetent. It would be as if Boris Johnson styled his own hair, and was so impressed with the results that he opened a salon, charging top dollar.

Of course, we don’t want to give Donald Trump short shrift here, so we have two books which are the most likely titles to not have been ghostwritten by someone else with his name on the cover. And because they are likely to have been written by Trump, both books are 50 pages, tops! Free copies will distributed in the Trump hotel rooms alongside the Gideons’ Bible.

These are parodies of covers of classic titles put out by Penguin Books. In a sudden fit of “FTFY“, I see its category is “Mystery and Crime”. But really, I’ve Seen the Future: I Can’t Afford It should be “self-help”, as we all like to know how to cope.

But also another possibility is that it is part of a futuristic dystopia, which makes it, maybe science fiction or fantasy. But I do prefer to think of this as self-help. What are the choices we have as a species going into a future we can’t afford? The scary part is that it may involve sharing resources, rent, food and generally getting along together. It potentially could be a subversive book in today’s neocon climate.

The Weirdo Always Sits Next To Me is a classic problem plaguing certain passengers using public transit. Now, I know about all of the talk that we can all be a little, shall we say, “different”, and some of us dye our hair strange colors, wear strange clothes, makeup and tattoos. Maybe some of us have strange piercings or whatnot. But that is a normal weird. All that is is “different”, really.

What I have in mind is more of the kind of weirdo that comes on the bus, pays his fare, and on his head is a paper hat which has printed on it what he feels to be “The Seven Commandments“. He wears a shirt made of newspaper whose characters are in Hebrew, and clutches in both hands inkjet-printed and hand-folded pamphlets describing the end of the world. And he thinks to himself, ‘you seem like a nice person to sit next to’, and he does, uninvited. His smell is a mixture of schnapps and body odour, and you can’t figure out if there is something crawling under his beard. You begin to itch. You try to stare out the window. It will be a long bus ride. And it happens the next day and the next.

And this makes the book the basis for self-help. You begin to wonder what the hell is it about you that attracts weirdos on the bus? What signals do you give off that make you a choice for weirdos to sit next to? Is the character in this anecdote the only one that attracts weirdos? What scientific studies discussing what proportion of the population attract weirdos on public transit? Are certain personality types more likely to attract weirdos on the bus than others? Should you seek help? Is there a remedy? Are weirdos contagious? So many questions.

The last title in this article is what we all feel. Let’s face it. Youth, with all of its brash confidence, bravado, and disrespect for authority, is wasted on the young, since it lacks worldly wisdom. A title such as this one really sums up what any self-help book ever written has ever been about. And that is, when you combine your wisdom with confidence, you become a tour de force. But the perennial problem has nearly always been that we usually have way more of one than the other. It is one of the paradoxes of a life lived: You can only gain wisdom by making mistakes and learning from them — that is, you gain wisdom by having previously failed at something. But failing at something saps confidence and your motivation decreases. To regain our confidence and motivation is a purely psychological effort, and a difficult one for us as we get older. The humbling feeling we get by making mistakes should not be mistaken for a “reason” to lose confidence in ourselves, since no reason exists or can exist. There is only learning, and with learning there can only be future success, but that means we need to keep trying. This particular book doesn’t exist, but if it did, I just saved you the trouble of having to buy it. You’re welcome.

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Crappy Album Covers 37 — Self-help for the helpless

The first time I saw this album cover by Jimmy Jenson, I thought it was some kind of self-help manual on the care and maintenance of your household Swede. First and foremost, is the obvious crisis depicted on the album cover. There are nine chilren there, and I would imagine that either she is going to need her tubes tied, or he is going to need a vasectomy. The hatchet and the medical kit bag (which might just be a bottle of scotch) appear to suggest the manner by which this procedure is to be carried out.

But alas, there is no help in this album about living with your resident Swede. Jimmy Jenson is a singer who has had a number of albums in English.

Problem is, his English is apparently not very good. “Your” shouldn’t have an apostrophe. If the apostrophe were placed properly, the contracted “you’re” expands to “you are”, making the title into “Understand You Are Swede”. I think Jimbo meant to title it “Understand Your Swede.” It would appear as though he sings folk tunes, and has sung enough of them to produce three “Greatest Hits” compilations.

Napoleon Hill, this time, really was a self-help expert from way back, in the same league as Andrew Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale.

When I was growing up, I have seen more of these little statuettes in more bathrooms of more homes than I care to mention. All variations of these statues invariably had some smart-alecky message carved into the bottom part. Such as: “Near this point is where the most important decisions are made.” or the poem that begins “Here I sit broken-hearted …”.

Nowadays we are suspcious of these kinds of records. And since no one really believes you can become anything you can conceive of, nowadays we attach it to mysticism and call it “The Secret”, and blame our bad luck on bad thoughts which bring on bad energy. And once they start bringing in String Theory and theories on atomic energy, you know it is time to find something else to read (or watch if you got the DVD).

Now how do you like this…? Stop smoking without using your willpower…? It is a misinterpretation of the concept of willpower.

We need a will to live. There must be at least that. It is records like these that have contributed to a consciousness among the public that we can overcome any obstacle without the need for concentrated effort or mental exertion. This “easy way out” mentality has ruined a lot of lives and have contributed to increasing hopelessness and despair among people who sincerely wish to stop smoking, or to just give up bad habits in general.

All bad habits require determination and effort to break. Even the modern solution of “going on the patch” is only 7% effective without an accompanying willpower after you stop using the patch.