Home Come, How To Books, Don’t Work?


I’d like to have more friends, money, sex, power, strength, sleep, intelligence, and feelings. In addition, I’d like to improve my tennis, skiing, jogging, fishing, and cooking. Furthermore, I’d like to learn to speak Spanish, sail a sloop, throw a pot, snorkel, and do macramé.

All of the above are possible my making a trip to the local paperback bookstand. There is a “How-to-Book” for each of my desires. For a couple of dollars, I can purchase the means to gain a skill, a friend, a job, a lover, or even a new personality. For another two dollars, I can buy a “How-to-Lose” book which can undo all that I have gained.

Now that I’ve purchase the book, my life gets complicated. I don’t read!! Well, I do know how to read, but rather slowly. No problem! On the rack above “How-to-Peel Onions and Eat Garlic without Coming Apart”, is a “How-to-Improve Your Reading Speed in 10 Minutes per Day.”

I purchase the speed reading book and head home. It is now time to make life worth living! I am not really interested in reading faster, so I will skim the reading book. Skimming a book is a skill in itself, like skimming milk. How does one skim milk, let alone a book designed to improve your reading speed?

I read the authors’ notes on the front and rear covers; then I read any book reviews extolling the virtues of the book; then I read the chapter contents. Sounds good! Just 10 minutes per day for 300 days. That’s 3000 minutes of training or fifty hours. Why not one hour per day for fifty days, or perhaps a marathon of 50 hours? I wonder if you can adjust the training schedule and still improve? If I fail, I know it will be due to my modifying the training schedule. I am anxious to see exactly what is involved in the program.

I light up a cigarette and sit in my reading chair, a stool in the kitchen. I wish I had a comfortable reading chair, and proper reading lamp. Maybe I’ll read in bed? Maybe I’ll go to sleep.

But what about the improvements? What about my friends, money, sex, power, Spanish, and macramé? Oh well, I saw a book entitled, “How-to-Procrastinate and Enjoy it.”

Copyright, Thomas Golden, 1981



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