Monday, June 30, 2008

Self-Help in Iran and at Vroman's

The Secret is a big hit in Iran, thanks to a growing "self-help" movement that's very popular with Iran's young and largely unemployed populace:
In other Middle East countries with similar demographics, like Egypt and Turkey, young people are increasingly turning back to their Muslim identity for solace. But Iran's mostly well-educated youth are more likely to seek other remedies -- such as self-help seminars, New Age theories, meditation and yoga.
Apropos of the "self-help" theme, I was looking at Po Bronson's book What Should I Do With My Life? when I noticed that it looked pretty much exactly like the cover of a certain edition of Lorrie Moore's collection of short stories, Self-Help. This particular edition of Moore's was published in 1995, while the Bronson's opus didn't appear until 2002, with the paperback pictured at left coming in 2003. Is this a case of the real self-help book imitating fiction or are both covers evoking an earlier, seminal self-help book? I did a bit of preliminary legwork, and I don't see a cover of either The Power of Positive Thinking, How to Win Friends and Influence People, or I'm OK, You're OK that looks remotely similar. What gives?

The crappy JPEGs really don't adequately show just how similar these two covers are. Anybody have any thoughts? Maybe I should send this to Lawrence Weschler as a convergence.

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2 Comments:

At 5:45 PM, OpenID julieklam said...

They kind of reminded me of Miranda July's cover but then that doesn't really help anyone.

 
At 10:22 AM, Blogger Cory said...

After hearing Seymore M. Hersh talk about his latest New Yorker article on Fresh Air last night (while sipping my latte in my Prius and toasting gay marriage), I'd say the youth of Iran should read Lorrie Moore first, to see that there are in fact some thoughtful, witty Americans. Then they should find a book along the lines of What Should I Do With My Life When There's a Rampaging, Lame-Duck American President Who Hasn't Learned From His Mistakes and Wants to Drop Bombs on Us? I wonder what that cover would look like?

 

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