One Habit of the Rich and Penniless

It wasn't there. I suppose I shouldn't have been too surprised. I mean you've got to wonder what does spur them on, these super-rich empire-building types. Once you've got enough money to buy a house, a car, a trophy wife and that really expensive lettuce that they only sell in 100 gram sachets in Waitrose do you really need any more money? But then again, I expect super-rich empire-building types have schedules and are focussed on their goals and rarely find themselves staring at the self-help books in some bewilderment wondering where the coffee shop went. You could probably put that down as a habit of the rich and successful - they don't absent-mindedly wander on to the wrong floor of the bookshop. And even if they did, they certainly wouldn't start absent-mindedly browsing through the self-help books. That's not on their schedule! But "Not absent-mindedly wandering onto the wrong floor of the bookshop," isn't the sort of definite useful advice you get in "Seven Habits of the Obscenely Rich" or whatever it was called. No. The sort of habits that the obscenely rich indulge in are things like "touching their inner otter" or "congruenting their minima." I don't know either, but it goes through the spell checker, so it must be English right?

And I've got off on the wrong floor again, because this isn't what I mean to talk about at all. This is not what I meant to say at all (get thee behind me Prufrock). We can do self-help books some other time, for this is simply another example of the many and varied ways you can make enormous amounts of money by talking and writing rubbish with sufficient aplomb, panache and bare-faced cheek. Yes, I'm still hopeful. I thought mine could be called "Talk the Bollocks and Get Paid Anyway."

What an encyclopaedia of human misery stared out at me from this set of titles. Is there any significance that they lay between the children's section and the magic and astrology sections - I'm sure the Feng Shui books would say there is. Dozens of diet books. Dozens of how to get more girls, how to keep your man, how to have better sex books. Books on how to start conversations and make friends - do you think on the first page of such a book in big letters it says, "Right, first things first, if you're ever to have a chance at making friends with anybody, nobody should ever see you reading this book ever, ever, ever. We know this has never happened, but were you to have visitors and they spotted this on your bookshelves they would probably get up and leave immediately. They would also probably call the cops because only psychotic weirdoes read this kind of book (nothing personal). We suggest you hide it under your porn mags."

Ah here we are at last. What I really wanted to talk about. The one thing that's free, fun, hurts nobody and costs nothing (unless you count the dry-cleaning). What? What do you mean there's no time? What do you mean the self-help books took up all the space?