Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Path of Least Resistance

1989, but revised from 1984 edition, yet with a URL on the back, Random House
Robert Fritz
The Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life
Possibly bought newish for very over-priced $12.00
Slightly worn paperback

I don't find self-help books helpful.  I'm not even sure when, where, why, or possibly from whom I got this book.  I think I (slowly) read it once before, and remembered the message as finding out what you want and focusing on that goal.  Rereading it now, the premise is both more complex and more confusing than that.  Fritz doesn't address, for instance, what to do when you want two things equally and they seem to be in opposition, other than to pick one and hope that the other will come to you in some form.  While I do appreciate that Fritz is trying to get away from the "problem-solving" personal growth field, he doesn't really explain how to get where you're going.  And while he's right that dwelling too much on the past (whether infancy or this morning) is crippling, you can't really just live in the moment, with no baggage.  If we're to learn from experience, as he recommends, that includes the negatives.

The book is actually most interesting in that it's a product of its time (although he did come out with a 2011 edition, for managers).  Unlike Alexander Cockburn's wariness about the personal computer a couple years earlier, Fritz sees this invention as a tool for creativity, and I think for the most part he's been proven more right than Cockburn.  Also, Fritz has a point about people like Helen Caldicott sometimes scaring people further into passivity, rather than motivating them.  Fritz himself seems to want to be both Yuppie inspirational speaker (much of the book is an ad for his Technologies for Creating), and '60s idealist who thinks that what JFK said counts for more than what he did.

The path of least resistance turns out to be a tough slog.

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