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Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

Currently reading

The Death of Chaos (saga of recluce Book 5)
L.E. Modesitt Jr.
The Stainless Steel Rat Sings the Blues
Harry Harrison

Good Advice from Bad People / Zac Bissonnette

Good Advice from Bad People: Selected Wisdom from Murderers, Stock Swindlers, and Lance Armstrong - Zac Bissonnette

Bestselling author Zac Bissonnette has gathered more than seventy-five jaw-dropping gems, including risk-management advice from the man who triggered the world’s largest hedge fund collapse and tips from gay-prostitute-patronizing pastor Ted Haggard on how to build a marriage that lasts a lifetime. The result will keep you smiling while you glean all the wisdom you need to build the life you want . . . if only you can follow it better than the people who gave it.


It was the title that attracted my attention—the potential was obvious. As it turns out, the book was less than I expected. There is a certain amount of humour in a book where Donald Trump gives advice on staying humble, Tiger Woods describes how to be a role model, and O.J. Simpson recommends taking responsibility for your actions. But the humour stayed at the gentle irony stage, where I had expected the author to take a bit more advantage of the incongruousness of the set-up. He limits himself to giving a quote from the bad person and then pointing out how far that individual has deviated from said advice. Once I determined that there was not going to be an emphasis on the ridiculous, I anticipated getting a bit more useful advice for identifying and avoiding the narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths of the world. This information was added, apparently as an afterthought, very briefly in the last two pages of the book. Summary: they are mostly men, they preach obvious things that we already know, people celebrate them without knowing very much about them and these folks milk their status for everything they can. Basically, narcissists and psychopaths dazzle us with charisma while taking advantage of our bedazzlement. Easy to say, hard to recognize when you are under the spell of the perpetrator in question. These are realizations that come with hindsight.

At least the book does not take too much time to read—the text is not dense, with many white spaces on the page and frequent portraits of the bad people in question. The format was to provide a quote and sometimes a photo on one or two pages, following by a page to a page and half of comments by the author. I was easily able to read the book while waiting in medical offices for blood tests, scans, etc. As it was easily interruptible, it was the perfect book to take as a time-passer during those waiting periods.

Neither very humourous nor very wise, this is a “self help” book that I would advise you to leave on the shelf. If you feel you must read it, borrow it from a library, as I did, rather than spending your own hard earned money on it.