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Secrets of the Superoptimist Paperback – November 1, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The brainchild of Morton and Whitten, a pair of "seekers of higher truth and optimal sensation" who claim to have received this book's 116 "wisdom transmissions" from a mysterious source called the SuperOptimist, this volume could become the self-help of choice for people who don't read self-help. This quirky, unique primer, categorized on its back cover as "Psychology/ Philosophy/ Great Religious Texts of the World/ Humor," provides more than 100 points of advice for achieving SuperOptimism, defined as "the mental discipline to reframe any situation into a favorable outcome." Centered around three central principles-believing in the preeminence of your own fortune, considering pain a kind of informative "sensation," and removing one's shoes whenever possible-specific "secrets" include: drink caffeine, "compare yourself downward," wear wool, "skip therapy," engage strangers and "tip everybody." The book also includes exercises and appendixes, as well as a handy, all-purpose slogan for 2007: "I can handle it." Whether or not one can, in fact, handle it, Morton and Whitten provide plenty of fresh perspective from way out in left field.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

W.R. Morton and Nathaniel Whitten, the transmitters of SuperOptimism, have been seekers of higher truth and optimal sensation for over 30 years. Individually and collectively, they've studied shamanistic meta-psychology, Zen, wabi-sabi, neuro-muscular sciences, tai chi, literary deconstruction, and various foreign languages.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Vitally Important; 1st edition (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977480704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977480708
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,941,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

The walls push the air against your eyes. Even a quiet destiny seems swallowed by the very earth. Every friend is a memory of casual betrayal. And yet there is Amazon. The debris of cardboard boxes around me are a childish fort of novelty and hope. From one of them, I pull out...

SECRETS OF THE SUPEROPTMIST

Gee. I didn't even remember ordering that one.

The falling flaming man on the cover reminded me of everything. It is Truth and any certain truth, just by itself, is vaguely comforting.

Really this book is about escape. Every hint/suggestion/trope/ideal/goal/aphorism in here is a key to escaping from the cage every man has built for himself.

"Focus on the Previous Small Thing."

"Set no Goals, then marvel as you exceed them."

"Take Advantage of Free Electrical Outlets."

They are all truth and all put the lie to the canned phrases and quips that fuel Dr. Phil/et. al.

The graphics are elegant and clever. The font highly readable. I have only one thumb left(an advantage, I now see) but it is so far up for this book I can't pull it out.
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Very smart book about how to turn absolutely any negative into a positive. Great tongue-in-cheek writing that reminded me of the Colbert Report.

Especially love the exercises at the end, like the tips for dealing with the death of a loved one that include chanting "I am not a wizard", and the memory exercises that help you remember your sexual experiences by having you write a very complimentary and detailed letter from your lover to yourself.

Clever and funny, but with an air of real intelligence and truth, and damned if it won't actually make you think about things a little differently.
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First time I picked up this little book I thought it was a joke. I thought that because of the cover - a human fireball falling through the air. I read it, because I thought it would be a funny parody of all the stupidity you find in self-help books.

Turns out I was right! And wrong. It's a very funny parody, but it also happens to have a fully fleshed-out philosophy that has elements of Buddhism, Existentialism and plain old Daily Show irreverence. Smart stuff.

The book's structured as a series of "Secrets" handed down to the author from a divine being. They have names like "#14 Own and Wear a Sarong" and "#108 Never Be Photographed While Eating".

It's sort of like Tony Robbins meets Jon Stewart - and if you're at all intrigued to see what that would look like, open this book.
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What kinds of minds could possibly have created this book? Brilliant minds, I should say. The book is clever, informative, sensible, witty, and downright laugh-out-loud funny. Whitten and Morton should go to the head of the class and take a well-deserved bow. And Jon Stewart would be doing himself a big favor by buying the book, and immediately hiring Morton and Whitten as writers for his TV show. David Letterman would be well-served to follow suit. Kudos to the authors for looking at the positive side of life and writing about it so well, and in such an entertaining manner. Why isn't this book on The New York Times best-seller list, and why haven't Oprah and her best friend Gayle included "The SuperOptimist" as a "book club" selection? Readers: Boggle your mind and get this book!
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I'm not a total cynic. I'm open to reading about new philosophies, new ideas and original ways of thinking about the world. But most of the tripe that gets published under the banner of "self-help" treats you like a child and talks down to you.

This book makes fun of that whole phenomenon and the entire idea that self-help books have a secret that they're generous enough to bestow on you. The "Secrets" in the book include "Set No Goals", "Boredom is Power" and "Respect the Pineapple".

Not that the authors don't have something to say. Ultimately the book has a compelling message at its core, a pseudo-hybrid philosophy made up of Objectivism and Buddhism and...some other stuff. It's funny, but the stuff rings true. And they trust you to get it, instead of spoon-feeding it to you.

All in all a totally unique book. Well done.
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This book will inevitably be categorized as "humor," and humorous it certainly is, with its spot-on and very funny parodic takes on idiotic self-help tomes. The amazing part is that it actually has more to say about life choices than most "serious" books in the same area. Morton and Whitten have clearly done their homework by slogging through the usual bromides, cliches, and platitudes. They have been there, read this, been nauseated by that, and had it up to here, but luckily haven't lost their sense of comedic absurdity in the process. And we are the beneficiaries. Their disillusion is our gain. All we need to do now is listen a little, learn a little more, and laugh a whole lot.
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Confession: opening this book I felt like I was getting mixed signals. I couldn't decide if it was supposed to be funny or serious. But fortunately I wised up soon enough.

One of the main things this book is making fun of is the idea that a book like this has to be either funny or serious, that a philosophy or self-help or whatever book can't be funny and irreverent and at times dumb in the service of making a serious point.

That legitimate point is that any, absolutely any negative can be turned 180 degrees around if your head's in the right place. "Love your worst problem best," the authors suggest, and while you're at it, "refer to pain as 'sensation.'"

"Secrets of the SuperOptimist" is funny, but isn't comedy. It's help.
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