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Book Review: The Plateau Effect: Getting From Stuck To Success

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Books 121

benrothke writes "One of the challenges in reading The Plateau Effect: Getting from Stuck to Success is figuring how to classify it. Amazon has it ranked mainly in applied psychology, but also time management and inexplicable personal finance. In some ways it is all of the above and more. In fewer than 300 pages, the authors reference myriad different areas of science, mathematics, psychology and more; in the effort to show the reader how they can elevate themselves from the stuff in life that glues them to the status quo." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.Full disclosure: I am friends with Hugh Thompson, one of the authors of this book.

With that, the premise of the book is that the plateau effect is something that affects everyone. We all have our ups and down in life, relationships, work and more. The book attempts to help the reader identify plateaus in their life, in order to break through them.

While a plateau is often simply flat terrain, the authors are all over the terrain in the book. They quote and reference liberally from science, statistics, life sciences, psychology, ethics, information technology and much more. From that end, the book is a fascinating and insightful read.

At the start of the book, the authors use the term acclimation to refer to the plateaus that many of us reach. This is the inability to notice changes in the environment around us. To a degree, acclimation is a critical element of our lives. If everything was brand new, life would be overwhelming; both to our senses and psyche. The downside is that this acclimation often leads us to accepting things the way they are, staying at the plateau, getting stuck and the inability to move forward.

The authors note that a real plateau means that you have stopped growing and that your mind and senses are being dulled by sameness; by a routine that sucks the life and soul out of you. Plateaus force you to make bad decisions and feel desperate. By understanding the force and tapping into it, you can get more out of life with less effort, and feel more in tune to your existence. If this scares you that the book sounds like a new-age title, relax, it is far from it, thankfully.

Chapter 3 is one of the many fascinating sections in the book where the authors detail the greedy algorithm, where the locally optimal choice is what is generally preferred. They tie this into the Gekko mantra of greed being good. But note that research has shown that long-term greed is good, but short-term greed, the type that maximizes the here and now seems to work for a while but almost always leads to a plateau. And as you realize, plateaus are bad.

Chapter 5 details flow mechanisms, step functions and choke points. Author Hugh Thompson is a mathematician and it's obvious this chapter is his baby. A choke point is a part of a system that breaks first and slows everything else down. The book notes that a common cause of plateaus is not recognizing when and where choke points will occur.

Chapter 6 is another fascinating chapter that details people's inability to effectively deal with risk. The example given is around shark attacks. While the risk of shark attack is extraordinarily low, the media often makes it seem like an epidemic, and the gullible populace overreacts. The authors give many examples of where people don't comprehend risk and statistics. The authors note that people buy lottery tickets, often described as a tax on the mathematically disinclined, despite knowing the odds. They also write that due to various factors, people and society have become overly risk-averse, not realizing how risky that is.

While not new, chapter 7 details the problems with multitasking and its illusions of productivity. The authors quote Jordon Grafman, chief of the cognitive neuroscience section of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke who states that multitasking is actually a misnomer. He terms it rapid toggling between tasks. The downside to this rapid toggling is that people become less effective and productive. The reality they show is that people can't multitask.

While the book is indeed a fascinating and valuable read, some readers may find it somewhat frustrating that the authors at times can seem like they are all over the place, quoting and integrating different facets of science and psychology. While the theme of the book is plateaus, there is not always a discernible sense of unity between all of the examples.

Another lacking is the shortage of prescriptive actions the reader can take. For the reader who may be indifferent to their need for change, the book may not be of full value to then. It would have been appreciated if the authors could have created action items and exercises for each chapter.

But perhaps the best advice is on the 3rd to the last page of the book. The authors note that if your company is stuck and has plateaued, and unable to get past some vexing problems. What should you do? Tell the type A's in the room to be quiet for a while and set out some frontline introvert an ask for their advice. Giving voice to the quietest person in the room might be the most unique exercise a firm undertakes.

With that, The Plateau Effect: Getting from Stuck to Success is an extremely stimulating read. For the reader who wants to grow and move off their plateau, this will certainly help them. The book promises to help the reader unstick themselves from the things in life that weigh them down. It certainly lives up to its promise and makes for a fascinating read.

About the reviewer: Ben Rothke.

You can purchase The Plateau Effect: Getting from Stuck to Success from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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121 comments

What Value Does Linux Advocacy Have? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43712955)

Do you benefit from coming here? Is there value in the content you read? I sincerely hope so.

It requires no more effort than what you might spend for that exotic blend of coffee first thing in the morning each day.

Take one of those five dollar bills and set it aside. Make a small donation today to help me continue this advocacy and survive.

It is both a matter of survival and the continuation of this website that are at stake.

You see, I have been unemployed for over a year now and with how the economy in the U.S. has been, finding work has been extremely difficult. Add to that the distinct possibility of 'ageism' and you have what has happened to me.

I am not afraid of work. I was working for my Grandfather and Grandmother's 'Mom and Pop' grocery store when I was 16. I caught down a chute 500 pieces of stock from a back alley delivery truck to a holding room, then moved that stock to palettes in a main cellar area of the store. Then, I worked at night carrying each of those pieces of stock up a set of stairs to the store floor and stocked shelves. It was hard work, but I was happy in the knowledge I was helping my Grandparents. It was a passion then and it made me feel really good to do it for them.

Today, Linux Advocates is what makes me feel really good. I am passionate about advocating Linux and I hope it shows in the quality of content I provide to you.

Still, I have enough money to pay one more month's rent. I am running out of cash--all of our life savings has been depleted during this terrible period of unemployment.

I pledge to continue as long as I can to run this website and make Linux Advocacy my top priority.

If you can find just five dollars $5 to make a donation, I would be most appreciative of your help.

Thank you.

Dieter Schmitz
Site Owner

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/dVMT2 [fundrazr.com]

Re:What Value Does Linux Advocacy Have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43713267)

thanks...for nothing!

Seems familiar (4, Informative)

jaygatsby27 (894445) | about a year ago | (#43712981)

This reads just like the blog post you wrote about this book.

Re:Seems familiar (1)

khasim (1285) | about a year ago | (#43713459)

The part that annoys me is:

The example given is around shark attacks. While the risk of shark attack is extraordinarily low, the media often makes it seem like an epidemic, and the gullible populace overreacts. The authors give many examples of where people don't comprehend risk and statistics. The authors note that people buy lottery tickets, often described as a tax on the mathematically disinclined, despite knowing the odds.

So if you misjudge a shark attack, you keep all your limbs and you have one fun day at the beach. Otherwise you might end up dead or crippled.

But if you misjudge the lottery, you lose the few dollars you put into it. Otherwise you end up with a lot more money than you started with.

They are not at all similar. At least not until you get into "gambling addiction" and phobias.

Re:Seems familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43714845)

that is why it is called an analogy.

Re:Seems familiar (1)

inputdev (1252080) | about a year ago | (#43714879)

While we're sharing, the part that annoys me is:

At the start of the book, the authors use the term acclimation to refer to the plateaus that many of us reach. This is the inability to notice changes in the environment around us.

No it isn't... acclimation is when something settles in to new surroundings, it has nothing to do with ability to notice changes.

Step 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43712993)

Steps to success

Step 1: Hit plateau
Step 2: Spend time on Slashdot.
Step 3: Regress

(damn, I was so close)

-- MyLongNickName

And so can you! (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#43713177)

Stephen Colbert is the only psychologist I need to tell me that I can get off my lazy ass and achieve greatness!

Re:And so can you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43713467)

Colbert is no a doctor though...

Re:And so can you! (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#43713565)

You mean no doctor is Stephen Colbert!

Re:And so can you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43713573)

The university I'm founding next week will be giving him an honorary doctorate so that he will be Dr. Colbert.

Re:And so can you! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#43713823)

No psychologist is a doctor.

Re:And so can you! (1)

rioki (1328185) | about a year ago | (#43717903)

Why can't a psychologist get a doctorate in psychology? The layman definition of doctor as "A qualified practitioner of medicine; a physician." always bugged me. So there can be a Dr. Doe, who is a practicing psychologist.

Shorter answer (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43713235)

"...in the effort to show the reader how they can elevate themselves from the stuff in life that glues them to the status quo."

I can do this in a lot fewer words than a book: If you live in the United States and aren't already rich -- Move. That's it. One word. Move.

Everyone will tell you success isn't a guarantee. But you can put yourself in a better position to take advantage of any opportunities that do come along -- thus improving your chances. Right now, there are no opportunities in our country. College is too expensive, the job market is shit, the wealth gap is growing by leaps and bounds, our government turns a blind eye to major cities getting eaten by mother nature -- Detroit, New Orleans... every year there's a major natural disaster. And every year we get to read about our total abject failure in dealing with it. Our bridges are structurally deficient, our health care is shit.

Guys; The writing is on the wall... run. Move. Leave. Don't keep inhaling self-help books that ration out hope. If you want to be successful in life... get out now. Because otherwise, your life is going to be thrown away supporting the previous generation's bad choices.

Way ahead of you! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43713273)

I can do this in a lot fewer words than a book: If you live in the United States and aren't already rich -- Move. That's it. One word. Move.

Bought my ticket to Somalia today! Success and wealth, here I come!!

Re:Way ahead of you! (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43716217)

Bought my ticket to Somalia today! Success and wealth, here I come!!

On one hand, I want to tell you that there was the implicit understanding that you think about where you want to move to, and not just close your eyes, thumb a spot on the map, and buy a ticket to that place. On the other hand, I hesitate to get between a man and his Darwin Award...

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43713283)

where do you suggest moving to?

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43713383)

Paris, the city of lovers, where the subways smell like shit soaked in piss and marinated in a slurry of decomposition.

Where opportunity flows freely, unless you are over age 40.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43713509)

LOVE IT!!

Paris is a dishpan!

Re:Shorter answer (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43718047)

Paris, the city of lovers, where the subways smell like shit soaked in piss and marinated in a slurry of decomposition.

Where opportunity flows freely, unless you are over age 40.

If you're still waiting for opportunities at 40 you're fucked in most places in the world.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719685)

And where you pay 83% in income tax!

Re:Shorter answer (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43713405)

Switzerland is nice this time of year.

There's a British author [wikipedia.org] who wrote an often quoted book [wikipedia.org] about evil tax havens. Where does he live? Switzerland.

Re:Shorter answer (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43713543)

Switzerland, where nobody can afford a full, solid block of cheese.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43714927)

Pfft. It's just got holes in because they took the bad bits out!

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715107)

"Nice this time of year" ? Ha bloomin ha. It's pissing down. Every. Day.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

ThreeKelvin (2024342) | about a year ago | (#43713409)

Scandinavia. [lse.ac.uk]

Re:Shorter answer (1, Troll)

ThreeKelvin (2024342) | about a year ago | (#43714667)

Actually, let my elaborate a bit on that. Something that really made me think about my own country in a more positive light was the talk "If Americans want to live the American dream ... they should go to Denmark", [upworthy.com] which talks about social mobility in different countries and the talk "The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class". [youtube.com]

I find that as I grow older I'm more and more in favor of free education, free health care and all the other benefits that I get from living in a country with high taxes. The alternative just doesn't look good from my perspective.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43713417)

Wouldn't you think the more problems there are the more opportunity there is? We need people to fix the bridges, infrastructure, health care, finance, etc... I think you are jumping the gun prematurely. Although you right about the gap and the slower social mobility its not doomsday yet and unless you can leave the planet, I am not sure where you can hide from it....

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43713561)

Hence the qualifier - "aren't already rich." The opportunities for making things right exist for those with the resources to do so. For anyone else, attempting to fix things during after-hours of a 60-hour-a-week job will be like tilting at windmills. For example, not only is fixing a bridge practically impossible without owning expensive tools, but it's not even your bridge, and most bridge-owners don't look kindly upon random people fiddling with their bridges.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43713497)

And every year, the looters need more rich folks to milk. So please, stay put. Live fat, dumb and happy until we come after you to fund our habit.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43714327)

This habit you speak of; its food, isn't it? More addictive than drugs and very few people will sit idle and watch others feast while their children starve... Which brings us to the next point on the agenda: The disarming of the plebs.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43714797)

Judging by the size of the po' folks, yes.

I remember when poor people used to be skinny.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43718325)

i guess you have been supersized?

Re:Shorter answer (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43713519)

Right now, there are no opportunities in our country.

So you're expecting that someone is just going to hand you an opportunity?

College is too expensive,

Doesn't that mean there's an opportunity to make college affordable?

the job market is shit,

You expect to elevate yourself with a 9 to 5 job? Isn't there an opportunity to find people jobs?

the wealth gap is growing by leaps and bounds,

How does how much others make affect your success?

our government turns a blind eye to major cities getting eaten by mother nature -- Detroit, New Orleans...

Bullshit.

every year there's a major natural disaster.

You don't suppose there's someway to elevate yourself by finding a way to help people respond to natural disasters?

And every year we get to read about our total abject failure in dealing with it.

And will continue to read about that until someone comes up with a way to fix it.

Our bridges are structurally deficient, our health care is shit.

You don't suppose there's someway to elevate yourself by fixing bridges? By improving health care?

Move. That's it. One word. Move.

Yes, please do.

Re:Shorter answer (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43713769)

So you're expecting that someone is just going to hand you an opportunity?

I'm suggesting that if you're armed with a stick, going up against an aircraft carrier will probably end badly for you. Likewise, the difference in wealth between the rich 1% and the poor 99% in this country.

Doesn't that mean there's an opportunity to make college affordable?

Yeah, if you own the college. Perhaps less so if you're a poor student just starting out in life and have to pick out a college and discover... there aren't any in your price range.

You expect to elevate yourself with a 9 to 5 job? Isn't there an opportunity to find people jobs?

We work the longest work days and have the fewest vacation days of any industrialized country on the planet. I'm not saying working a 9 to 5 job is the fastest way, but if I'm going to work a 9 to 5 job... it'll be better rewarded anywhere I move to but here.

How does how much others make affect your success?

It's called the production possibilities curve. You probably learned about it in Macroeconomics, before they started catering to the very rich, but self-involved, slashdot pundit. It goes something like this: There's a finite amount of pie available. If others take more of the pie, that means there's less for you.

Bullshit.

So... a shallow response to every one of my other points, and then a handwave on this one. You couldn't find anything to support your position -- could you? Large tracts of New Orleans taken over by aggressive wildlife, all curiously located in the traditionally "poor" parts of the city. Detroit, rotting from the inside out to the point they're demolishing entire blocks at a time and have called in emergency managers to stabilize the city's finances amid a mass exodus of the populace. To all this, you reply "Bullshit"? You could have just said "You win," it would have been both correct, and more dignified.

You don't suppose there's someway to elevate yourself by finding a way to help people respond to natural disasters?

You were asleep in statistics class, weren't you? If there's a 99% probability of failure, and a 1% chance of success, you don't charge forward on the notion that there's "some way to elevate yourself". And besides, you're ignoring the point: Which is that it shouldn't be your job, as a private citizen, to do that. It's the government's job. That's how it is in the other industrialized countries that haven't had their government taken over by a rich, self-absorbed elite class. When bad shit happens, everybody pitches in a few sheckles and the bad shit goes away. That's how civilization does it... not this degenerate version of it where we throw people to the wolves while screaming "Elevate yourself, mother fucker!"

And will continue to read about that until someone comes up with a way to fix it.

(reads previous comment) Yeah. Though we're probably thinking about fixing it in different ways: You're thinking if we just throw enough poor people under the bus, it'll "elevate itself". I'm thinking, why not put everyone IN the bus and then figure out how to move it?

Yes, please do.

Maybe you haven't noticed... but the only people moving to this country are from the 3rd world. Nobody in the industrialized world wants to come here. That tells me we're worse than any of the industrialized countries everyone is fleeing to, but better than the third world these people are coming from.

So, rest assured... you'll still continue to have plenty of people to leech off of to continue your self-indulgent lifestyle. But America as we knew it is dead, plain and simple. And anyone who's still hoping for class mobility is going to start by mobilizing themselves away from exploitative assholes like you, that destroyed it.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715009)

exploitative assholes like you

Awesome post and then ... epic fail.

You don't need to insult someone to get your point across, nor are you entitled to assume that his opinion implies any particular personal traits. If you do either of those things you are part of the problem.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715329)

///You don't need to insult someone to get your point across,

On slashdot you do....

Re:Shorter answer (2)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43717909)

You don't need to insult someone to get your point across

Some people and opinions deserve to be insulted.

"If Adolf Hitler was here today // they'd send a limousine anyway".

Re:Shorter answer (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#43715077)

A sure sign that your life will never improve is spending all your time saying "the system is rigged! the man is keeping me down! it's not my fault I'm not successful! I can't do anything!". If you want to make your life better, that's on you: it won't be handed to you. You can make your life better, but only if you're willing to change. You have to change you, not the world. Moving to where the jobs are in your field is often a great start - and for most fields, America has such places.

I grew up in a trailer park in the Appalachians, couldn't afford to finish college, did very stupid things with money even when I did have a job; then I got my shit together, started doing smart things with money, and now I'm quite successful, thanks. And at no point did this require initiation into the "secret club of people allowed to be successful", just being smart with my career choices and my money. But keep telling me it's impossible to do what I did over the past 15 years - you're only fooling yourself.

Every success I've had to get here has required more than one attempt - you have to work past failure and rejection. Moving my career forward required changing who I am again and again - if you ever stop growing as a person, you'll get stuck for sure. It also required following my career across the country - success didn't come to me, I went to it, geographically speaking.

We are wonderfully well off in America in the 21st century. We're surrounded by amazing technology, most of which is quite cheap. If you're upset because you're in your 20s and can't have the stuff that people in their 40s have - well, of course not, but after working for 20 years you'll have more too! At least, if you invest instead of going farther into debt, you will.

Re:Shorter answer (3, Informative)

skids (119237) | about a year ago | (#43715301)

If you want to make your life better, that's on you: it won't be handed to you.

Absolutely on target. The very first step to doing this, of course, is realizing theat "the system is rigged and the man is keeping you down", and the second is figuring out how to do something about that.

OR, you could buy into the idea that if you just stick your neck out far enough, some Donald Trump's next pyramid scheme won't milk you from what little cash or manpower you have at your disposal and instead will make you magnificently wealthy. But I would not recommend that.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#43716151)

Working at jobs where you actually make stuff that other people want or need, and investing in companies that do likewise is the key. Holding a professional job is not a scam - and believing that it is, that regular full time employment is some trick invented by the man to keep you down, is a sure recipe for poverty.

Re:Shorter answer (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43715345)

A sure sign that your life will never improve is spending all your time saying "the system is rigged! the man is keeping me down! it's not my fault I'm not successful! I can't do anything!". If you want to make your life better, that's on you: it won't be handed to you. You can make your life better, but only if you're willing to change. You have to change you, not the world. Moving to where the jobs are in your field is often a great start - and for most fields, America has such places.

So I see you've read the book The Secret, wherein it says that all you need to be successful is a positive attitude to the point of self-delusion on a scale that doctors usually order medication for. Sir, let me clue you in on reality -- thousands of newspaper articles, research papers, and bits on the evening news have pointed out that our generation will be the first generation of Americans ever to have less than our parents. This is established economic fact. The economy isn't expected to recover to its pre-2003 levels until sometime after 2021, making this the longest depression this country has ever seen. And make no mistake, it's a depression. Ask anyone under the age of 25 how their job hunt is going. You don't need to ask them whether they have a job, because odds are better than not, they don't. Ask them about their piles of student loan debt.

I've dealt with your kind before, the kind who likes to blame the victim, who likes to yell "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" as if that absolves them of any responsibility to help others, who thinks that if they've managed to get a smidgeon better quality of life it's because of their own hard work and couldn't possibly be because they won a statistical lottery. But when you dig into it, success isn't about attitude; it's also about being in the right place, at the right time. And there's only so many of those chances, in the same way there's only so many good hands being held at the cosmic poker table. And sometimes, you get dealt a shitty hand. Doesn't matter how good you are at poker, or your attitude, the cards... are the cards.

And deluded people like you can't, or won't, recognize that because it's a blow to their ego. It has nothing to do with what is manifest reality. It has nothing to do with the facts. And I say your kind is deluded because how the hell else can you justify believing that hundreds of millions of americans are lazy over the idea that only a few thousand of them are greedy.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

jafac (1449) | about a year ago | (#43715923)

exactly.

I'm upset that I'm in my 40's and can't have what my parents had - (including a secure retirement) - despite their lack of college education. Yes, this IS a fucking depression, and despite a localized, brief illusion of recovery, things are, long-term, on the down trend. We will likely have a pretty nice spring and summer (jobs and energy-price wise) - but the drought is continuing, and harvest will be bad, food prices will continue to climb (globally), and the EU financial situation is continuing to spiral downwards. Confidence in our financial institutions is not improving. It's likely that after around October, we're going to see some more signs of another downward change in direction in the global economy, which will continue to put the brakes on the US economy, no matter how much more austerity we continue to apply.

You whiners think you are entitled to equality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43718703)

You whiners think you are entitled to equality. You ARE, but it's "equality of opportunity", not "equality of privilege without working for it".

exactly.

I'm upset that I'm in my 40's and can't have what my parents had - (including a secure retirement) - despite their lack of college education

Sorry, but finishing a High School Diploma in 1950 is more or less the equivalent of a 4 year college degree in General Studies as of about 1990. Unless you have a passel of AP classes, your HS diploma is like getting a Jr. High/Middle School diploma: it's great, but you still haven't learned what you would have learned at the completion of HS in 1950. Take five APs in chemistry, biology, english, math and history, and pass the tests with a 3 or higher, and you might have the equivalent of a 1950 HS diploma.

Schools are no longer equipped as anything but babysitters, and they are about as effective as an English Bobby yelling "Stop! Or I shall yell 'Stop!' again!", and that's been true ever since the school Principal and Vice Principal have been prohibited from act In Loco Parentis because they might hurt Little Johnny's self image if they gave him a "The Breakfast Club" like detention. It's apparently more important for a dumb-ass Little Johnny to feel good about himself than it is for Little Johnny to freaking LEARN SOMETHING.

Yes, this IS a fucking depression, and despite a localized, brief illusion of recovery, things are, long-term, on the down trend.

Score 2100 on your SATs, which is not that damn hard if you are willing to study since the tests have been dumbed down so non-studying morons can pass with a 1500, and you can have a full ride scholarship at nearly ANY college or university in the US. That's how I went through college; my Pell grants (now called BEOGs) all went back home to help my divorced mom support my three younger sisters.

When I was home, we had Top Ramen or Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and on Fridays we got a pound of hamburger added to the Macaroni and Cheese. When it wasn't that, it was Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup gravy over toast, which we bought from the Hostess discount bakery, which consisted of the bread they took back from the supermarkets because it was past the expiration date. Sometimes we had other canned food, but it typically came from the freight damaged good store, like our clothes, because that's all we could afford.

The PROBLEM is that everyone wants to be handed everything, including a high paying job, just because they've done the minimal work to get their union card (degree) for a 2 or 4 year program. Congrats dummy, you now have a HS education from yesteryear. Yeah, some people are "at the top" milking the system for money, and if you are not a scion of someone already on the top, you are not going to be handed anything like those scions are. Boo Freaking Who, guess you will have to work for it like the scions daddy or granddaddy did, and don't get to have the car on the 16th birthday like the kids of the rich folks.

PS: Most of the people I see bitching here are not even qualified for a menial office job (entry level, such as the mail room), as they have acquired neither spelling proficiency nor correct grammar. To those people, I suggest you get a job as a lineman for your local electrical utility; at the top end, working in the power stations themselves, that blue collar job pays $80K a year.

Re:Shorter answer (2)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#43716135)

Ask anyone under the age of 25 how their job hunt is going.

I worked blue collar jobs for about 5 years before getting my first programming job, and that paid $18k. You imagine having to try hard to get that first sucky job is new?

I've dealt with your kind before, the kind who likes to blame the victim, who likes to yell "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" as if that absolves them of any responsibility to help others, who thinks that if they've managed to get a smidgeon better quality of life it's because of their own hard work and couldn't possibly be because they won a statistical lottery. But when you dig into it, success isn't about attitude; it's also about being in the right place, at the right time. And there's only so many of those chances, in the same way there's only so many good hands being held at the cosmic poker table. And sometimes, you get dealt a shitty hand. Doesn't matter how good you are at poker, or your attitude, the cards... are the cards.

Perhaps you're not actually reading (in which case I'm not sure this will help) but what I'm yelling is: "I did it, so can you". There is no secret to success, but there are principles, and damned if my parents taught me anything about money (to be fair, they didn't know themselves).

Economies go in cycles. Always have. Don't let it get you down - this is only as bad as the 70s, and not anything like the 30s.

There's one thing I know about luck and "statistical success": life gives us all repeated opportunities and fuck-yous. Preparation for both is what makes you successful. Putting everything you have into each opportunity, failing, and then chasing the next one anyway is what works in the long term. Poker consists of more than one round of cards.

As far as my responsibility to help others: I've given over $1000 to charity this month alone - to help people in countries where the system is vastly more fucked up than the cards you were dealt. Try looking around the world before whining about how rough you have it here - hell, try living in the trailer park I grew up in - and hold your accusations about me until you're doing the same to help others.

Re:Shorter answer (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43716337)

I worked blue collar jobs for about 5 years before getting my first programming job, and that paid $18k. You imagine having to try hard to get that first sucky job is new?

Yeah, well, since my point was they aren't finding jobs period, your comments that you were able to find jobs at that age sorta backs up my point, which probably wasn't what you were going for... but it's illustrative nonetheless.

Perhaps you're not actually reading (in which case I'm not sure this will help) but what I'm yelling is: "I did it, so can you". There is no secret to success, but there are principles, and damned if my parents taught me anything about money (to be fair, they didn't know themselves).

Did your parents' GDP vs. Household Income [wikipedia.org] have an inverse relationship? Did yours? You can yell it all you want, but the numbers, unlike "principles" don't lie.

Economies go in cycles. Always have. Don't let it get you down - this is only as bad as the 70s, and not anything like the 30s.

Umm, I'm afraid history [wikipedia.org] strongly disagrees. The longest period of economic downturn was 5.5 years. People have been talking about the poor economy since the first term of the last president. He had two terms. This president just started his second term. So I'd say we're no longer cyclical... We are, to use the venacular, Fucked .

There's one thing I know about luck and "statistical success": life gives us all repeated opportunities and fuck-yous.

Yeah. And you missed the point where I said the random number generator has had its inputs tweaked a bit. It's now giving a lot more fuck-yous.

Putting everything you have into each opportunity, failing, and then chasing the next one anyway is what works in the long term.

Or you die a penniless pauper, like Nicolai Tesla did, shortly after single-handedly paving the way for the modern power distribution grid, electric motor, generator, and demonstrated how to do it all wirelessly.

As far as my responsibility to help others: I've given over $1000 to charity this month alone - to help people in countries where the system is vastly more fucked up than the cards you were dealt. Try looking around the world before whining about how rough you have it here - hell, try living in the trailer park I grew up in - and hold your accusations about me until you're doing the same to help others.

Sir, I spent my childhood being shot at and living in the woods, under a pile of 2x4s and a tarp, and my toilet was a hole in the ground. So don't talk to me about your "trailer park" growing up. And it isn't whining; Both of us shouldn't have to be living in our respective childhood shitholes in a country that boasts the highest GDP of any country on the planet. Well, if we're so rich, how come so many are living so poor?

That's my point, sir. Why, in this country, with this much wealth, are so many starving? Are so many homeless? Are so many uneducated or undereducated? Why is our childbirth complication rate so high? Why are our hospitals stuffed with people dying of treatable diseases? And how the fuck did polio and tuberculosis make a comeback -- we eradicated those diseases, with not a single case seen for years. Now they're all back.

You can sit there and argue the optimal case until your face falls off and it won't change anything. Argue attitude. Argue experience. Argue whatever the fuck you want, but the average case says we're losing ground. Fast.

In a few more years, people still spewing the delusional "I can do anything!" speech will find themselves swiftly being socially isolated for fear of their stupidity being contagious.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43718019)

Sir, I spent my childhood being shot at and living in the woods, under a pile of 2x4s and a tarp, and my toilet was a hole in the ground. So don't talk to me about your "trailer park" growing up.

We used to dream of having a tarp...

Sorry.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43717991)

what I'm yelling is: "I did it, so can you".

Repeating something more and more loudly doesn't make it true.

If the economy is up the spout and there are lots of unemployed people around, you cannot necessarily get a job at all, never mind one that is the start of an actual career.

Yes, some people will succeed - of course they will by definition unless there's 100% unemployment. That doesn't mean they're any more intelligent, hard working or anything else apart from lucky.

The whole fucking point of capitalism is that the worse the economy, the higher the unemployment, and the easier it is for companies to screw workers. Right up to the point where no one's got any money left to spend on food even, and the riots begin.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | about a year ago | (#43719425)

Perhaps you're not actually reading (in which case I'm not sure this will help) but what I'm yelling is: "I did it, so can you".

I think that perhaps you are missing the point; let me try to explain via analogy.

In this particular story, set in a poor world, there is a lottery, that pays out enough to keep the winner in money for life. Everyone enters the lottery, every week. There is only one winner, and one week it is our friend (you) and he is yelling as hard as he can "Hey everybody! I did it, so can you!!!" and he does not understand why everyone thinks that he is retarded for making that argument. He just cannot understand why everyone is moaning about not having money, when it is so simple to him: just win the lottery, like he did. He also cannot understand why the other people just don't understand what he is saying. Why do they keep complaining about not having money when all they have to do is win the lottery?

I hope you get the point now; if you don't, then there is no hope for you.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43717945)

If you want to make your life better, that's on you: it won't be handed to you. You can make your life better, but only if you're willing to change. You have to change you, not the world.

What fucking Christmas cracker did you get that gem from?

Next you'll be telling us that our children are the future, and that learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year ago | (#43718537)

Oh (insert your favorite deity here)... Yet Another "Self-Made-Man".

Dude, you also believe in Santa? Easter bunny? You can improve with hard work, yes, but that is only 10% what is necessary. Yes, that's right you read, 10%. I can be the best programmer on this planet, but I NEVER will be a "Bill Gates" if I not in the right place at the right time and having the right friends. And please, stop spreading bullshit that "just work like hell to be rich", it is fiction.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year ago | (#43718475)

Bingo. I would not have written better.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year ago | (#43715787)

So you're expecting that someone is just going to hand you an opportunity?

Thing about opportunities is by definition (and despite the platitudes of self-help writers) you can't create them ex nihilo. They have to arise for you to take advantage of them.

Doesn't that mean there's an opportunity to make college affordable?

No.

You expect to elevate yourself with a 9 to 5 job? Isn't there an opportunity to find people jobs?

No, recruiters often find themselves unemployed as well. It's not a matter of the jobs being there and the people being unable to find them; in many cases an appropriate job simply isn't unavailable. Simple pigeonhole principle: if there are more job-seekers than jobs, someone's going to be left out in the cold.

You don't suppose there's someway to elevate yourself by finding a way to help people respond to natural disasters?

FEMA and "anti-gouging" laws prevent that.

You don't suppose there's someway to elevate yourself by fixing bridges? By improving health care?

Nope. Fixing bridges take money, a lot of it. Improving heath care doesn't work because there's far too many entrenched interests enjoying the broken system, and the other powerful players simply want it broken differently.

Re:Shorter answer than yours (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#43713541)

You run an ex-pat travel agency, right?

Re:Shorter answer (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#43713663)

I care enough about my fellow citizens to not take the "run to Canada / Europe / Australia" approach.

The problems you describe are completely solvable. If everyone who wants to and is able to help solve them leaves, then that just accelerates the decline.

Also, the people who are most likely to think what you describe aren't problems are over 65 years old. They're dying off, and steadily losing their political power. In another decade or so, I suspect that the worst will be over.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43714607)

You sound like you're about 50% of the way between being milked and doing the milking.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

skids (119237) | about a year ago | (#43715355)

Pretty much the same reason I'm still here... I've managed to succeed enough to be comfortable, do so without pillaging, and work in an area that has potential to deliver productive change to the country. So I think I'll just keep that up.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715387)

That's funny, In Australia, people are dreaming of moving to USA for a better life.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#43713711)

I have mod points available, for once, and will mod you up. Yes, I know - that will obliterate this very post. So what ? What you said is SO well said.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

HPHatecraft (2748003) | about a year ago | (#43714041)

hey

Love most of your comments, BTW. You have a good mind.

Having said that, I think this is more about mental break-though; self-awareness, teleological mechanisms.

Re:Shorter answer (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43715483)

Having said that, I think this is more about mental break-though; self-awareness, teleological mechanisms.

I won't disagree with you. But I take umbrage with anyone who says that attitude is all you need. No, it's a starting point. Nobody's going to tell the 400 pound asthmatic who dreams of winning a marathon to just show up at the starting line and if he wants it bad enough, he'll get it. And yet, this arrogant line of thinking is found in every aspect of our "individualist" culture. It's a poison when it's overindulged in.

Attitude is important insofar as keeping your ego intact. It's important in a crisis, when you're being ripped to shreds by a cold an uncaring universe. It's important when you're at the top of your game, and every obstacle is falling to the left, right, and center too. I will not say attitude is unimportant, but it is only the start of a journey. It's like hope: It makes a great breakfast, but a terrible dinner. Attitude is about an orientation, a direction, a focus... but attitude alone will not move you an inch, nor change your circumstances one iota.

To succeed also requires positioning yourself so that you're likely to be at that wonderful point of convergence where time and place meet to create opportunity. Not everyone can get there; It's not assured. Someone has to win the lottery; But the odds of you winning it are vanishingly small. And this is the part where american culture fails -- its siren song tells us anyone can win the lottery.

There are people who have a good attitude, work hard, and will never get their reward in this life. Until recently, America didn't have very many of them, because we had a lot of opportunities -- a lot of chances to win the lottery of success. But today, we have a lot of those people. Wealth has become super-concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people, and the lottery pot grows smaller at the same time. There's fewer jobs, fewer opportunities for career advancement, fewer options for affordable education... all the things we used to have to invest in ourselves and which had a good chance of returning that investment, are gone.

I'm not saying move away because I hate my country. I love it. But I'm not deluded to the point of thinking I can fix all these problems. I will take my american culture elsewhere, and wait out the storm. I shouldn't have to suffer because an entire generation fucked up what the previous ten spent building. Nobody should. We've won every war we've fought in, and America has a lot of things to be proud of... but guys, we lost this fight. The economic fight. And nobody with a sense of practicality is going to suggest you fight on the side that's guaranteed to lose.

I look at my country now like a drowning man. You can swim out to him and try to help him, but all he'll do is grab onto you and you'll both drown. You cannot save him, he can only save himself. What you CAN do -- is throw him a floater and wait until he's latched on, then pull him to safety. But he has to participate in saving himself.

This is how I feel about the Boomers. We can't keep throwing money at the problem... or hard work, or anything else we have. We need to stop swimming out to them and letting them drag us down with them. So I say leave. Walk away. And wait.

Eventually, they're going to decide they don't want to drown, or they'll drown. Either way, they'll have made a choice, and then, and only then, can we as the younger generation, move in to pick up the pieces. But for now... get the hell out of here, kids. Go anywhere but here. Get as far away as you can... and then wait for the sign.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about a year ago | (#43715673)

Amen.
I think about Canada like an uncle who is terminally ill and no-longer talking any sense. I loved him very much, but I must move on, I don't want to see him go, but I also don't want to see him like that. I feel many Americans feel the same way about their home.
The one thing I can say for certain is that I don't want to be there at the moment it flatlines.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year ago | (#43717255)

This is how I feel about the Boomers. We can't keep throwing money at the problem...

Speaking as an early Boomer, I agree with you. Too many of us have never learned that the world really doesn't owe us a living. As an example, back in the late '60s and early '70s there were an awful lot of angry young sheeple bleating, "Hell no, we won't go!" because they were only interested in what their country could do for them and weren't willing to do anything for their country. Now, they're nearing retirement, their healthcare costs are rising and they're wondering how they'll be able to afford it. Me? I can't say that I'm the most successful Boomer there ever was, but I'm never going to have to wonder how to pay for the thirty-one pills I take every day, my insulin or my hearing aids. I went. I served. I have VA benefits.

Re:Shorter answer (2)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43718063)

As an example, back in the late '60s and early '70s there were an awful lot of angry young sheeple bleating, "Hell no, we won't go!" because they were only interested in what their country could do for them and weren't willing to do anything for their country

The opposition to the war in Vietnam wasn't just a case of people being scared to fight. It was massively unpopular for very good reasons, including the fact that it was unwinnable without actually flattening Vietnam and killing everyone there, and it served no useful purpose other than cock-waving at the Evil Commies.

I'm more disappointed at the lack of similar protests by people over the Iraq war. Or perhaps it's just that politicians don't even pretend to listen any more.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43718387)

"I will take my american culture elsewhere"

You assume they want it.

"We've won every war we've fought in"

Sure, like Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Somalia, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan.

Actually, I think America has probably lost more wars than it's won since World War II. You could argue that America didn't "lose" in places like Iraq, but it also certainly didn't win.

But sarcasm and pedantry aside for what it's worth I'm not even American nor even necessarily the biggest fan of the country and I can't see why you'd want to leave. You talk about lack of opportunity and so forth but opportunities and wages are still higher there than you'll get in most other places. Sure you may be more likely to get a job if you go to somewhere like China but your freedom and standard of living likely still wont be any better.

You could come to Europe but it's not exactly any more rosy here, here in the UK we currently have the boomers trying to destroy our country by pulling us out of Europe at a time where Europe is negotiating a free trade agreement with the US - yeah great idea UKIP idiots, let's leave Europe and just become a completely and utterly irrelevant nation whose economy will rapidly decline to match. We're not massively relevant anyway but sat on the outside of a EU-US trade pact we'd be an even more irrelevant little joke of a nation. The rest of Europe has it's problems too, unemployment is higher than in the UK elsewhere, and in many European countries the economy is more fucked. Scandinavia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Germany are options but they'll only want so many Americans so you better have something worthwhile to offer them. You could go to South America or more successful areas of Africa like South Africa but then you've got a relatively high chance of getting killed due to their high murder rates (although I suppose depending on where you live in the US that might not change much).

Or to cut a long story short, leaving isn't the answer and it's not as bad as you seem to be making out. Yes I agree the baby boomers do deserve a lot of blame for many of societies ills, certainly everything from deforestation of the Amazon to many of the current economic woes and wealth imbalance (such as more localised national problems like housing shortages for first time buyers in the UK) can be placed firmly on them but emigrating wont make them go away and leaving America even more firmly in their hands will only make America more dangerous to the rest of the world.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

HPHatecraft (2748003) | about a year ago | (#43719111)

thanks for that. Let me ask you then: where would you move to? Or what is your top 5 for places to relocate to?

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43714399)

If college isn't an option due to financial or education reasons, moving overseas is even less of an option. Immigration requires a visa to be legal in the foreign country (even if not a citizen). Without that, you're an illegal immigrant, and can only get lousy jobs if any, and little to no social services.

To get that visa you need to already be highly trained/valuable enough that some employer sponsors you (so no need to go overseas for training), or already wealthy ("have a business you're bringing to the country") - again, no need to leave.

If you're only trained/valuable, your visa is likely dependent on the job you take, and your employer knows it, so it's unlikely you'll keep up with market rates. H1-B is what that visa is called in the U.S. The people holding them are both maligned by the native population and abused by their sponsors.

The only good immigration path for the majority is to marry and then seek a more modest spousal visa.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43714529)

"...in the effort to show the reader how they can elevate themselves from the stuff in life that glues them to the status quo."

I can do this in a lot fewer words than a book: If you live in the United States and aren't already rich -- Move. That's it. One word. Move.

Everyone will tell you success isn't a guarantee. But you can put yourself in a better position to take advantage of any opportunities that do come along -- thus improving your chances. Right now, there are no opportunities in our country. College is too expensive, the job market is shit, the wealth gap is growing by leaps and bounds, our government turns a blind eye to major cities getting eaten by mother nature -- Detroit, New Orleans... every year there's a major natural disaster. And every year we get to read about our total abject failure in dealing with it. Our bridges are structurally deficient, our health care is shit.

Guys; The writing is on the wall... run. Move. Leave. Don't keep inhaling self-help books that ration out hope. If you want to be successful in life... get out now. Because otherwise, your life is going to be thrown away supporting the previous generation's bad choices.

You cray.

Re: Shorter answer (1)

Anonymatt (1272506) | about a year ago | (#43714665)

I think you're off topic.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715037)

You may have meant it as tongue-in-cheek but nevertheless it is quite true. I am an immigrant who has lived in the US for over a decade (the prime years of my life) working in the software industry. I am so thoroughly disillusioned, that am pulling out everything i have and moving out at the end of this month.

I do not trust anybody or anything in the US anymore. The American Dream is a sham, the Corporations are just out to exploit you, the Government does not guarantee your dues for old age because the Corporations have hijacked it, and i feel there is no sense of a shared community (except of course when whipped up against the "Terrorist" boogeyman) but everybody for himself/herself.

Whatever respect i had for the principles espoused by the US is long gone and all i see is vivid hypocrisy and euphemisms masking every kind of wrong and evil. I now consider myself a mercenary who will sell my talents to the highest bidder (which is currently the US) and will not offer my trust or loyalty to the country. My "third world country" is orders of magnitude better in guaranteeing me the security i look for.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43716955)

I can do this in a lot fewer words than a book: If you live in the United States and aren't already rich -- Move. That's it. One word. Move.

Why? Sure, if all you care about is health care or social services, two things that the US tends to be remarkably poor at, then maybe the US isn't for you. But if you're looking for a relatively free country, a country with relatively low taxes, or a country with a lot of opportunity you aren't going to do much better than the US.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43717379)

The "opportunity" bit is debatable, and opportunity isn't independent of health care or social services. The others, I'll grant it's in the upper echelons (probably top 10, certainly in the top 30 countries, almost no matter what reasonable measure you use).

Re:Shorter answer (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43718445)

The "opportunity" bit is debatable

Everything is debatable. That is the fundamental lesson of the sophists from ancient Greece.

and opportunity isn't independent of health care or social services

Sure. That doesn't mean opportunity is positively correlated with such things. For example, labor in the developed world has to compete with cheaper labor throughout the world for decades. So how did the developed world respond to this challenge? They made their labor much more expensive with a variety of social security programs. I think such things only make sense, if they provide more value than they lose.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43718075)

But if you're looking for a relatively free country, a country with relatively low taxes, or a country with a lot of opportunity you aren't going to do much better than the US.

The main area of freedom where the US leads the world is the freedom to own many guns, which is irrelevant to all but a handful of people in the rest of the civilised world.

And high taxes never stopped anyone succeeding, it just means they have to pay some of their wealth back into supporting society. There are plenty of entrepreneurs in Scandinavia, or wherever.

Re:Shorter answer (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43718489)

The main area of freedom where the US leads the world is the freedom to own many guns, which is irrelevant to all but a handful of people in the rest of the civilised world.

That freedom leads to other freedoms. For example, the freedom to manufacture things, such as guns.

And high taxes never stopped anyone succeeding

Opportunity costs, the costs from paths not taken, are invisible. I believe high taxes have stopped plenty of people from succeeding. And have inhibited those who do manage to succeed anyway. But those could have beens are invisible to us. I can't show you a person who succeeded because the private world retained another ten percent of collective income. There's no repeatable test here.

And success from milking public funding or protective regulation is just as successful for the person doing it as success from a useful private endeavor. So there are a number of successes that wouldn't have happened in the advent of lower taxes.

Re:Shorter answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43719149)

That freedom leads to other freedoms. For example, the freedom to manufacture things, such as guns.

The condition the OP said is "if you aren't rich" you're better off moving. For most people who aren't rich, they cannot afford to even exercise those freedoms, let alone enjoy them. So the GP is correct that this freedom (and the freedoms is leads to) doesn't matter for most people.

For example, your gun manufacturing. Many people make guns or can make them if they wanted, but few people become rich making guns. For most people even owning a small gun shop (where you don't get rich but just get by) is a dream. Amongst the really poor, they can't even afford a gun... except the criminals which are a minority (so not most people, reaffirming what OP and GP said)

Opportunity costs, the costs from paths not taken, are invisible.

Then there's no point to talk about them. You can't do anything about something you cannot see and know about. I can't show you that you might be hit and killed by a bus tomorrow and there goes all your opportunity cost. You're just second guessing yourself.

What we can only do is talk about the visible opportunity costs. We can do something about those. If you believe taxes are a hefty opportunity cost, it's up to you to figure out how to show it.

It's how various businesses and lobbyists have successfully done by saying how XYZ tax/regulation is costing business ABC billions of dollars (and thus the regulation should be scrapped/rewritten in the industry's favor)

Of course, the freedom to influence government as such requires a certain level of wealth which most people don't have. This further reinforces the OP/GP's point that for most people, all those freedoms in the US doesn't matter, and they're still better off moving (if they can even afford that freedom...)

Plateaus are bad, mmkay (2)

jdbuz (962721) | about a year ago | (#43713281)

I bet some folks in Tibet would question the premise that plateaus are essentially bad, that they result in the inability to move forward or grow, that the final inevitable result is that your mind and senses are dulled by sameness and that life and soul are sucked out of you. The book's value could end up not be in theories of up or down but in that it helps you become more mindful of what's already going on around you.

Re:Plateaus are bad, mmkay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43718891)

Not sure a geography based analogy works to compare it to a psychology –based issue

Curious (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43713367)

Has anybody ever actually read one of these and noticed a difference?

I'm a self-motivator so I can't speak either way, but just curious as a discussion topic.

Re:Curious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43713601)

I once read a diet book. After a month, I lost 30 days.

Re:Curious (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43713673)

did you at least burn calories while reading it?

Re:Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43713789)

I read it on a treadmill

Re:Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715121)

Has anybody ever actually read one of these and noticed a difference?

Yes, reading them is a wonderful substitute for sleeping pills.

Self Help (3, Informative)

Dynedain (141758) | about a year ago | (#43713451)

One of the challenges in reading The Plateau Effect: Getting from Stuck to Success is figuring how to classify it. Amazon has it ranked mainly in applied psychology, but also time management and inexplicable personal finance. In some ways it is all of the above and more.

The category you are searching for is "Self Help". Just because it involves computers, it doesn't make it something new and different (just like patents).

Re:Self Help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43714841)

The category you are searching for is "Self Help".

As George Carlin put it:
"And the part I really don't understand, if you're looking for self help, why would you read a book, written by somebody else?! That's not self help, that's help! "

Re:Self Help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715353)

now that is brilliant!!!!

Huh? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#43714459)

Amazon has it ranked mainly in applied psychology, but also time management and inexplicable personal finance.

Is there another section for explicable personal finance?

Re:Huh? (1)

shikari666 (770101) | about a year ago | (#43716833)

You beat me to it. To be fair, the way some people manage their finances is inexplicable to me.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43718961)

I guess you have not been hounded by Capital One to get their credit cards :)

Why so much effort ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43714539)

I haven't read this book, but for having read a couple of "motivation" books. And the issue with those books, and with all the self-help stuff is that it's making you more insecure than you were before. Of course you can always achieve higher goals, and I'm sure that there's plenty of advices in those books. But the trick is that you'll ever want more. Instead of appreciating what you currently have, those kind of book will nourish you in the idea that you deserve better, hence it will keep you from enjoying what you have !

The right way to live is to acknowledge your limits, relax, stop seeking for higher goals and enjoy what you have.
Anyway you'll be dead soon, so stop worring, nothing doesn't really matters :)

Re:Why so much effort ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43716551)

as an Anonymous Coward, my limits are many.

No, of course not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43714695)

No, it's just a way for the unmotivated to kill a few hours until the next "motivational" book comes along for them to kill another few hours. "Reading motivational books" is the hobby of some people who will, more than likely, never accomplish anything. That's just the way it is.

Re:No, of course not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43714775)

you ever read zig ziglar? tony robbins? Elton John? :)

Re:No, of course not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43720301)

So true.

Hot to turn Slashdot into your personal blog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43716015)

by Ben Rothke (author of a ripoff $6 "book" on security that he peddled here).

Re:Hot to turn Slashdot into your personal blog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43716327)

where did he peddle it?

Re:Hot to turn Slashdot into your personal blog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43716379)

you can get it used on amazon and bn.com for $2....

go for it big spender!

Dupe. (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#43717167)

There, I said it.

Re:Dupe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43718803)

Dedupe....as in deduplication .

THERE, I SAID IT.

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