Where’s the Self-Help Section?


Just reminded of an encounter with a young woman at the information desk at Barnes & Noble a few years ago.  I wanted to pick up another copy of M. Scott Peck’s “The Road Less Travelled” for a friend in need. The bookstore at Triangle Town Center is huge, so I stopped to ask her where I could find the self-help section. With a straight face she said: “If I told you it would defeat the purpose.”

She admitted she stole that line from George Carlin, but I told her it was a good one and asked how long she had been waiting to use it. “A long time,” she said, then pointed me in the right direction.

My great friends Pete and Lynn Hampton gave me a copy of that book when I was going through one of life’s exasperating transitions back in the 1970’s.  Over the years I’ve tried to pay that gift forward by giving the book to family and friends when it seemed appropriate.  If the book helped them a small fraction of how much it helped me, no price was too great.

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