Sunday, August 07, 2011

Book Review: Today's Most Un-Political, Un-Productive and Totally Hilarious Self-Help Book

Reviewed by William Fisher

If you happen to be one of those hopeful people who believe that the next
"how-to" book you buy will be your silver bullet, do not read this column.

You will not only be disappointed. It will cost you. And you could end up
broke and homeless.

I'm not clear on whether these were Brian Foley's goals when he wrote his
latest (actually his first) book, "A New Financial You in 28 Days – a 37-day
plan." I should have known that this was the most un-Kosher self-help book
ever conceived when I read its "Lifetime Guarantee," to wit:

If at the end of the life of the purchaser of A New Financial You in
28 Days! A 37-Day Plan! ("purchaser"), purchaser has not
achieved a "new financial you," purchaser is entitled to a full
refund. This guarantee does not apply to purchaser's successors,
heirs, or assigns. This guarantee may be void in the State of
Minnesota and in North Korea.

I should have known that author of Foley's Follies was a lawyer, in fact a
Law Professor. I should also have guessed he was a comedian, a stand-up
comic to be precise.

Only a lawyer would know how to write such a totally unenforceable
Lifetime Guarantee. And only a Stand-Up Comic would know how to con us
into buying this e-book by stringing together the world's funniest non-
sequiturs and laying them end to end around the globe.

It is only rumor, but I hear on pretty good authority that the last guy to
actually get through this modest volume threw himself off a bridge when he
failed to find logic in any single sentence of the book.

The note he left behind, written on a bunch of shriveled-up Confederate
banknotes, said he now knew how it felt to be James Joyce on steroids. He
noted that Finnegan's Wake was also considered a work of comic fiction
based on free association.

If you're determined to associate yourself with Brian Foley (and I strongly
recommend against it) here is a sampling of some of the comic fiction you
will find in "A New Financial You in 28 Days – a 37-day plan:"

Foley starts off Day One with a poem (a very versatile scribe, he):


The roaches aren't dead.
The violets are through.
From this dank one-bedroom
Sprouts A New Financial You.

"Look around! What you see is Your Financial You. If you want A New
Financial You, you have to do something different. But you can't do that
until you know what you are doing now. Are there roaches in your
apartment? Are they dead? Is your apartment a dank, one-bedroom
apartment? If so, then you are ... probably living in my apartment. Get out!
Now! This is MY apartment!

"Now you are homeless. I have allowed you to put some things in a trash
bag and leave. I have called the police, so you are racing against time. If you
are caught, you will have a home in a jail cell, because I will press charges. I
have let you into my life in this book, sure, but I did not let you into my
apartment. So please leave. The police are on their way. I don't like
uncomfortable scenes, and I don't like handcuffs and Tasers.

"You are homeless. You are starting off worse than I did. I hope I can help

"But for those of you who answered, "No," then, be happy. Although you
missed out on the "hitting rock bottom" experience that I just created for
some of your fellow Readers, you should be happy because either you don't
have roaches, or they're dead. Or you don't have dead violets (that is my
interpretation of "violets are through" -- your own interpretation of that line
might differ). Or you don't have a one-bedroom; or, if you do, it's not dank.
Maybe it's uncomfortably dry? If so, get a humidifier. Your nasal passages
are taking an unnecessary beating.

"I am using the Merriam-Webster definition of "dank" as "unpleasantly
moist or wet." But the Urban Dictionary
describes "dank"
as slang for "sticky, hairy, stinky, and highly potent marijuana."

"That raises an interesting point: Did I create A New Financial Me by selling
marijuana? The highly sticky and potent kind? Perhaps, too, the poet (let's
not assume anymore that the "I" of the poem is I) is reflecting this by using
"sprouts" as a verb, a word that is commonly associated with plants. Is Brian
J. Foley advocating that his Readers become pot dealers? No, I am not. But
given that marijuana possession of less than one ounce has been
decriminalized in Massachusetts, where I am writing this book, mostly in the
nude, that is a fair assumption. (I am done writing it now, of course, but I am
probably still nude.)

"If you have some dank, please send it my way (less than an ounce). It is not
a criminal act. You may incur civil liability (a mere fine, and the police
might take away your dank, worth the risk of getting stoned senseless), but
you are not a criminal if you smoke dank. You are a pothead.

I think it would be hard to be a pot dealer if you can only have less than an
ounce on hand. You would have to keep running back to other dealers who
have less than an ounce to get your less than an ounce to sell to people. That
starts sounding like a pain. So if you want to be efficient, don't do that.
Instead, just break the law, and don't get caught.

"Can you make lots of Money selling drugs? My best source on this is the
1983 movie, Scarface, starring Al Pacino as Tony Montana. That Cuban
refugee definitely created A New Financial [Him] when he came to the
United States and became a drug dealer.

"Remember, my journey is not your journey. Nor is Tony Montana's journey
your journey. So it is irrelevant what "dank" means in the poem. We are
talking about your journey here.

"I have kicked you out of my apartment, just for being there, and out of your
apartment, possibly for smoking pot. That is one way to interpret today's
first step."

Did you get all that?

If you've really applied yourself and followed all the detours and crooked
roads to princely wealth set forth in this tome, you're probably hungry and
homeless, and precisely in the right frame of mind to consider the plight of
the world's billionaires.

Guru Foley starts off Day 37 (A "Special Bonus" For The Children) with a
discussion of "a Forbes article about what sort of parents rear financially
successful children."

" ran a story that talked about what the world's billionaires have
in common. We already know one thing: they have a lot of Money.
"But this Special Bonus! is for the children who may be reading A New
Financial You in 28 Days! A 37-Day Plan. If you are a child and reading
this, you are precocious. You are impatient, too impatient to wait for my
forthcoming A New Financial You in 28 Days! -- For the Children.
"Well, the early bird gets the worm. But who wants a worm? You want

"The story, "A Recipe for Riches," by Duncan Greenberg
forriches.html?mod=career-leadership> talked about some common traits
among billionaires. One had to do with dropping out of college (good), and
another had to do with going to a top business school (Harvard, Penn,
Columbia) to receive an M.B.A. (good). That means, "Master of Business
Administration." I am not sure how you can get an M.B.A. without going to
college. Were the billionaires able to buy their degrees directly and avoid
college? Were the degrees honorary? These billionaires are, after all,

"But I decided to write this Special Report! (# 4, to be exact) "for the
children," because an important factor in whether a person becomes a
billionaire is that his parents have "math-related" careers. Here's what the
article says:

"First, a significant percentage of them [billionaires] had parents with
a high aptitude for math. The ability to crunch numbers is crucial to
becoming a billionaire, and mathematical prowess is hereditary. Some
of the most common professions among the parents of Forbes 400
members (for whom we could find the information) were engineer,
accountant and small-business owner.

"So, I have advice to you -- advice that seemed unwilling or too
ignorant to give you, the children: Make sure your parents have "math-
related" careers. If your parents are unemployed, encourage them to go back
to school to learn one of these math careers. If any parent refuses, or simply
lacks the aptitude, you know what you have to do: Put yourself into foster
care with parents who have math careers.

"The following Web site will show you some of the forms that you will
need, legally, to get yourself into foster care. These forms are for the state of
California, but they are a start. Odds are, you are in California, because it's a
pretty big state: Care/California/index.html>.

"If your parents become upset, just share with them the link from They will understand. If they do not, then they do not "share
your values," and there is no reason for you to be with them. We are living,
after all, in the twenty-first century. We can choose our own destinies. We
can choose our own parents. You should also tell your foster parents to-be
that you plan not to go to college. When they realize that adopting you will
be "cost-free," and that you will be a thankful billionaire, their math minds, I
am sure, will quickly calculate that this is a good bet. This is better than
"humanities" parents, who will sit and wring their hands over vague things
such as love, parental ties, their own "experience" in raising you, and the

"Let me know how it turns out. Of course, purchase a copy of A New
Financial You in 28 Days! -- For the Children when it is published. If you
contact me and let me know that you took my advice and moved into foster
care, I will give you a ten percent discount. Use code # 2498KJW."

Anybody rather have the worm?

A Kindle E-Book. 2011, Gegensatz Press, North Syracuse, New York.