BTT: It's in the Manual

Following up last week’s question about reading writing/grammar guides, this week, we’re expanding the question….

Scenario: You’ve just bought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not?

Do you ever read manuals?

How-to books?

Self-help guides?

Anything at all?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

Manuals: Ah, no. I don't read the manuals for electronics, appliances, etc. I try but I find they send me spinning in circles. "Plug A goes where?" I'm a hands-on, learn as I'm using the thing kind of gal. The result sometimes works, sometimes it looks a lot like Homer's BBQ grill (see above). My hubby, the engineer, will read a manual front to back.

How-to books: It depends on what it is. I have gardening books, cookbooks and craft books. I suppose they count. I use my crochet books all the time for reference.

Self-help guides: I'm not a great believer in these books. I don't believe in catch-all solutions. If they worked, why isn't the whole world happy? Take The Secret. "Just think happy thoughts and all your dreams will come true." Admittedly, I didn't read it, but it sounds pretty sketchy to me. If your dreams don't come true, well, I guess you just didn't think hard enough. My Secret? Write a self-help book and have Oprah endorse. Shh, don't tell anyone.


  1. OMG, I'm totally with you about The Secret. I couldn't believe people were taking that book seriously! I had one girl explain it to me this way, 'If you're boyfriend hasn't proposed and you want him to, just start thinking about it and concentrating on it and eventually he will propose!' Umm, somehow I don't think that thinking positive thoughts can make anyone do anything. LAME!

  2. I haven't heard of 'The Secret' but from what you say i haven't missed anything. I do object to books like this that make money out of people's unhappiness.

  3. I agree with you about self-help books. So do we collaborate to weite one?!


    My BTT post!

  4. LoL - yup, engineers and electronic's in their make-up!!

  5. Even worse then the self-help books are self-help books that pretend to be something else (a la The Celestine Prophecy).

  6. I haven' read The Secret but I did watch (and enjoyed) the movie. I agree with you that if this works why aren't we all happy? But I also did change my thought patterns according to their suggestions a little bit and it just made me feel better having a more positive outlook on my own life.

  7. Trish- Didn't they used to burn people for trying that? lol

    Table- It's all too common.

    Gautami- We'll have to brainstorm.

    Mo- *sigh* Yes.

    John- I haven't read that either.

    Megan- I agree that we're all better off thinking positively. It's not healthy to be negative all the time. But I don't think it's going to solve all my problems.

  8. I've heard raves about 'The Secret', although I'm curious about it I didn't pick it up. I've several books of those kind and it seems they're almost the same to me. ;P

  9. Oy... I missed ANOTHER BTT. lol. I definitely read how-to books, partially because I love learning how to do new things, and partially because I'm on Alpha Books's reviewer list, so I review a number of the Complete Idiot's Guides.

  10. From what I've heard of The Secret, it's a book I probably won't ever pick up. I do think that some self-help books are worthwhile, depending on the reader and the book. The one I am reading right now deals specifically with a chronic health problem I suffer from, and I am finding it very useful, not to mention validating. Like you though, I tend to dismiss the majority of self-help books for their generalities--but I think that there are some gems out there that do a world of good if the right person is reading them.

  11. LF- When I think self-help, I automatically think of the guru type. Now that I've read some answers, I see that it can mean different things. I did have a book on Parenting that I liked. Is that self-help?

  12. Parenting books could fall under self-help or maybe even how to books. :-) This isn't quite the same thing, but it just popped in my head so I thought I'd share. I remember that one of our fellow bloggers considered The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho as a self-help book, which really surprised me. I'd never thought of it that way. A fable maybe, but not a self-help book. It goes to show that sometimes we don't always define books the same way either.


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