View Full Version : Secrets of the SuperOptimist by W.R. Morton and Nathaniel Whitten

02-21-2007, 02:31 AM
"Secrets of the SuperOptimist" - Vitally Important Books

I love this little book.

Somewhere falling dead center in the crazy quilt Ven Diagram of Dave Eggers, Nietsche, Stephen Covey, and Stephen Colbert, this book will be of instant use to every writer I know. It's structured as series of 'secret' ways to reframe your thinking and turn every negative into a positive. And it's hilarious. But as funny as it is, each secret has an underlying truth to it.

The book puddle jumps from one random 'truism' to another - or at least it seems to - until you realize that it is a fully fleshed out philosophy drawing on Buddhism, Objectivism, Tony Robbins-ism, Existentialism, and... something else.

It's obviously a parody of self help books, and manages to avoid becoming the very thing it parodies by balancing equal doses sincerity and irony.

Some "Secrets" (though the write-ups are where you get hooked):
#108 Compare Yourself Downwards
#14 Own and Wear a Sarong
#40 Put the Concept of "Work" into Perspective
#3 Enjoy The Side Effects
and another #108 Never be Photographed While Eating

It's part religion and part subversive attack on our culture's insatiable thirst for self fulfillmet/realization/aggrandizement.

And it's really funny. I wish I wrote it.


02-22-2007, 08:32 PM
Great, great book. Really hard to pin down; I keep struggling to do it justice when I describe it to my friends. You did pretty well though.

I would just add that in addition to SuperOptimist being really funny and subversive and satirical, it was refreshing for me to be able to read a book in a style that I just hadn't experienced before. "Equal doses of irony and sincerity" is well-put. The authors aren't going for the empty laugh.

This is the kind of book that spreads from friend to friend. It's a quick read but I've already found myself repeatedly going back to it.

03-05-2007, 11:59 PM
Turns out the authors periodically issue SuperOptimist communiqués at the book's website. There's an option there to submit your own short superoptimist piece, which they'll post on the site if it fits the bill.

Here's an example from the site, which is also a great example of the book's style: