In the Spirit of Christmas?

Posted on December 22, 2006. Filed under: Blog--All categories, Unofficial Musings |

I heard a news story on our local all-news radio station yesterday about a book that promised “insights” into the effects of gift giving. The subject of the story was book whose author describes how giving gifts benefits the givers. In this supposedly research-based book, the author “discovered” that people who gave gifts … and here’s the key … without expecting anything in return receive great benefit from the act of giving. Duh.

Okay, what are most people after? Quick ways to improve their lives. This author is a slick marketer–either that or he’s paying a slick marketer. What better way to sell a book than to promise great returns to the readers in terms of getting something they want. And what better timing than at Christmas–the season of giving.

The commercialism of Christmas offends me. Sure, I like getting gifts. And I like giving gifts, too. But when the focus is on giving in order to get, well that’s just wrong.

Okay, back to the book. What really bugs me about it is that the author is supposedly telling us something we didn’t already know. And he’s saying his book is based on research, which is a major selling point for many readers. It’s this kind of publicity–air time on the radio and probably some television stations–that sends books to the bestsellers lists without the book having any right to be there. I’m thinking of another book I read some time back that was a total waste of time: Blink. That book got so much hype in the media; so people like me bought the book because it promised such insightful information. Ugh. It was a total waste of my time. I shared it with a colleague of mine, and he had the same opinion.

So, is it just me? What books have you gotten sucked into because of the hype and then discovered the book was a total waste of your time?

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