You’re raising a a good point. I write chiefly as a historian but also as a self-helper. The problem with these kinds of pieces is that they (too cleverly) reduce the search for the good life into click bait. I don’t ever wanna catch myself writing “The Nine Things I Learned About Management from Fidel Castro.” Unless I really mean it. Right now I am abridging Alcoholics Anonymous which, to me, is a huge privilege because there’s not a cheap word in that book. No “10 Easy This…” this or “5 Incredible That…” But just hardcore steps to living better and not dying from an o.d. At its best, self-help is a noble pursuit. But it shouldn’t degenerate into a philosophy of “tips.”

"Treats esoteric ideas & movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness"-Washington Post | PEN Award-winning historian | Censored in China

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