Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winget's Way

Shut Up, Stop Whining & Get A Life / Larry Winget.
Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, c2004. 229 p.

People are Idiots and I can prove it! / Larry Winget.
New York: Gotham, c2008. 224 p.

I read these two books by Larry Winget this week; Shut Up was his first, and People are Idiots is his latest. He has two other books, one on work and one on finances, but these two have the most similarities. They are both in the personal development field, but with a definite and original voice. Winget does not suffer fools gladly, as may be surmised by his titles, and reading his no-nonsense writing was quite refreshing.

He says in the introduction to his latest that his approach will help those who need a kick in the butt to get going; if you like warm fuzzies he is probably not your man. He also says that his approach won't be for everyone, but although there were a few things I didn't agree with (or should I say, that made me uncomfortable!) he comes from a place of common sense and practicality. Why isn't your life the way you'd planned it to be? Because you don't have a plan. How do you lose weight? Eat less and exercise more. Want to quit being broke? Spend less, earn more. Even though this may sound abrasive -- which he admits to being -- it is entertaining and more than that, it did give me a kick in the butt. I am not fond of many books in the self-help genre, and have a visceral reaction to the platitudes of The Secret; Winget doesn't have much patience with the idea of 'thinking' your life better, either. He says "What you think about, talk about and then get off your butt and do something about will come to be." Action is key.

There are many things I like about Larry Winget: his fearlessness, his sarcastic humour, his obvious intelligence, his wacky fashion sense, and the fact that he has a degree in Library Science! Obviously, as a librarian, I am glad to count him in even if he doesn't actually work as a librarian (if he did he certainly wouldn't be so well known or well off!) But something else I really admire is his focus, in all of his books and on his blog, on the importance of education. He consistently recommends reading as a key to success, and he reads a lot himself. He estimates he's read over 4000 books over the last 20 years which averages out to about 200 a year, and he is a very busy man. What I also like is that he does not read or recommend reading only functional books, by which I mean self-help, financial, workbook kind of books. All reading will only assist in enlarging your world and increasing the likelihood of success. Here are Larry's rules of reading (abridged) from his first book Shut Up, Stop Whining and Get a Life. To receive the full effect, read his book!

How to Read a Book

1. If at all possible, buy the book. ... If you simply cannot afford to buy the book, then go to the library and check it out.

2. If the book is yours, mark it up. Write your name in it. ... Make margin notes.

3. Tell everyone what a great book you are reading. ... It is also a great way to boost your own ego because it is doubtful they have read any books recently so you can be proud and brag that you have. Plus it might encourage them to buy a book and read it.

4. Do not loan anyone your books. probably will not get the book back. If it is a book that really has spoken to you, you will want it back.

5. Buy lots of books. ... Have a "to be read" shelf: a stack of books just waiting to be read. Always have a few books waiting on you.

6. Read several books at the same time. ... Have a variety of books available that fit the time, the place, and your mood.

7. Do not hesitate to stop when you find yourself in the midst of a bad book. You may get 25 pages into a book and decide it is not saying anything to you. Put it down and get another.

8. Read for different reasons. Read to learn. Read to lift your spirits. Read for pure entertainment. Any book is better than most television.

Do not limit your reading to one genre. Reading only self-help books will soon make you immune to the good they can do. So read books on philosophy and spirituality and read great biographies -- but also read some junk just for fun, like mysteries, how-to books, horror, humor and the rest.

For a fresh, irreverent take on personal development, from a man who can't be pigeonholed, try any of Larry Winget's books. They might annoy you, they will probably make you laugh, and they are great for stimulating discussion about nearly any topic.


  1. He looks/sounds like a very interesting man! I think I like him! I may have to give these a shot sometime. Thanks for the reviews!


  2. I think Larry would totally approve of my reading habits. :)

  3. I like Winget's rules of reading--and he's making me feel better about my reluctance to lend books :) He sounds like a no-nonsense kind of guy and I could probably use that kick in the butt I'd get from reading his books!


Thanks for stopping by ~ I always enjoy hearing your comments so please feel free to leave some!