It’s difficult to truly make a list of the “worst books ever”.
One is because there are so many poor books.
And two, because it would probably include a long list of unknown books that most people, luckily, never read because they never made a single sale.
So this list actually contains the “worst best-selling books ever”.
These books were previously summarized and reviewed on TPM.
But I removed them after I decided to only focus, review, and keep great books and courses here.
#5. The Science of Getting Rich
The Science of Getting Rich does not just feature prominently in this list of worst books ever, but would also score high in a list of “worst misnomer titles ever”.
It’s not science.
It’s the law attraction again.
Quote: A thought is a substance, producing the thing that is imagined by the thought.
So much for the “science” of getting rich (eye-rolling).
#4. The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success
I was particularly angry at wasting time on this book because I was somewhat expecting something good and, you know, actually spiritual.
Well, I was wrong.
Both in terms of spiritual and, if at all possible, also in terms of “good”.
There is nothing spiritual here.
Again the law of attraction to the service of material wealth.
Quote: I will release this list of my desires and surrender it to the womb of creation, trusting that when things don’t seem to go my way, there is a reason, and that the cosmic plan has designs for me much grander than even those that I have conceived.
#3. You Can Heal Your Life
There certainly IS a connection between mind and body. And by extension, between feelings, thoughts and body.
It’s not a new concept after all, the Romans knew it all along:
Mens sana in corpore sano (healthy mind in a healthy body)
However I feel that You Can Heal Yourself takes it a bit too far.
Saying that the cause of most issues are our thoughts and limiting beliefs is disingenuous. And saying that you can heal yourself by changing your thoughts is dishonest.
Especially in all those cases where there is actually little connection between a diseases and a state of mind (ie.: baldness)
Quote: Fear, and the tension it produces, can create things like baldness, ulcers and even sore feet.
I should spread the news to my bald pals: grow a set first and the hair will follow suit!
#2. The China Study
Apparently it’s not just bad thoughts that can kill you.
Meat can kill you too.
But don’t worry, because plants can cure you!
Indeed animal food causes cancer and a plant-based diet prevents cancer.
And plants can even revert cancer and heart diseases.
That’s what Colin Campbell, says in The China Study.
I wonder if that’s the type of cure Steve Jobs was trying to follow rather than getting immediate medical attention?
But it’s not the idea of the book I criticize, which might as well be the main result of The China Study (albeit that’s also been heavily criticized).
It’s the attitude of the author that made me dislike the book.
Campbell doesn’t refer to himself as a vegetarian, but he has the fervor of the most crazed of the them.
Instead of questioning his own theories and assumptions like every good researcher should do, he defends his theories and ideas like angry and bee defends his honey.
That’s not the attitude of a scientist.
I think it was Ayrton Senna, an iconic F1 racer, who once said: the day you see a gap and you don’t go for the overtake, you’re not a race driver anymore.
I liked that quote and I think it beautifully translate to science and research as well.
When you stop looking for the truth, you’re not a scientist anymore
And here are a couple of quotes from The China Study.
American diet was so bad for us that that it was destroying our hearts. The status quo boys didn’t like it
(…) But the powers that be didn’t let it happen
The status quo boys, that made me smile quite a bit when I first read it :).
However, it also made me queasy about the author’s motives.
Why would anyone resent the “establishment” so much? The establishment is nothing but a product of human nature.
Resenting how things are is resenting life.
And of course, as someone said, “when it’s you against the world, you are either terribly wrong, or about to make history“.
But you should at least be open to the possibility that it’s the former…
#1. The Secret
Would you be interested if I had the secret to making your dreams come true?
ALL of your dreams?
Including the ones you don’t even know you have.
Would you still be interested if I told you that you don’t even have to work hard?
Here it is: you just have to think about what you want. Believe you will get it. Then act as if you already have it.
That’s, in a nutshell, what our top worst book ever says.
It’s The Secret.
Fully based on the law of attraction.
Why N.1 Worst Book Ever
The Secret is the second most popular book on this list by sales, and it’s the most damaging of them all.
The Secret not only perpetrates the idio… eh-em… The idea of the law of attraction, but it actively advocates that you don’t work hard on your dreams and goals.
Because otherwise, you communicate to the universe that you don’t really believe in it.
And if that weren’t enough, it actively advocates that you behave as if you are already receiving what you ask for.
I suppose that if you demand to receive a lot of money, then you start spending all the little money that you do have.
I really hope it won’t turn too badly for the people putting this book into practice.
Food cannot cause you to put on weight, unless you think it can
The law of attraction is a law of nature. It is as impartial and impersonal as the law of gravity is. It is precise, and it is exact.
Sure after this list we grew a bit desensitized to BS, but The Secret still manages to take it to a whole new level, doesn’t it :).
And with these two last pearls of wisdom I believe, we can close in style this list of the worst books ever.
And let’s watch out for what we read: time is our most precious resource.
And time wasted reading cr@p is no better than time watching garbage TV.