Friday, 12 March 2010

Just finished reading: Affluenza by Oliver James.

Seldom have I felt such strongly opposing emotions whilst reading a book. And it seems I am not alone as, to date, Amazon has received 75 reviews for this one which cover the range from 'this is the most terrible book I've read' to 'this is the most wonderful, life changing book that I've read. I'm sure you're getting the picture.

So, I felt wholeheartedly warm and fuzzy when I read about having positive volition rather than thinking positively, replacing acquisatory motives with those are more in tune with our values and choosing work based on what we enjoy rather than the material rewards that the job provides. Helping our children think in the same way and the ideas in the book about education also had me nodding in agreeement.

But this chap's rigid recommendations for people to sort out problems arising from childhood using using his own preferred (and expensive) types of therapy got my goat. He ruled out cognitive behavioural therapy altogether on the grounds that the therapists are discouraged from investigating childhood experience (they aren't). His own strong views on child rearing in early years were laboured. After expressing the widely held view that children under three are best off being looked after by one person he then came up with his solution if the mother had to work - employing a nanny! At the end of the book he outlined his ideas for political change and at this point in the book identified his idea of someone being well off as earning over £100,000. Come to the provinces and see how many jobs there are paying this kind of loot. There was also some ranting of a personal nature about certain political and public figures that seemed a little off subject.

I came away thinking that this chap spoke from a position of privilege which blurs his perspective about what life is like for mere mortals. One section about how he described meeting a female Labour MP on the train caused me to think along the bitchy lines of 'Oh I bet you weren't travelling first class Mr Know it All Rich Guy'! Maybe I'm wrong but...

Overall not recommended. I've now got Contented Dementia: 24-hour Wraparound Care for Lifelong Well-beingby the same author to plough through as it's been mentioned so much from a work perspective and I feel duty bound to familiarise myself with it. Will let you know at a later date how that pans out.

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