I picked up this book because I'm a fan of Ben Stein, the modern Renaissance man and ueber compassionate conservative. The droll title leads one to think it's anything other than what it is: A "self-help book in reverse."
Basically, this is Ben waxing dryly humourous on how to totally screw up your life: If you do the exact opposite of what he suggest, then you will succeed. A kind of backwards hermaneutics: From Ben's antithesis, you'll get his thesis for the good life, which if you apply to your everyday habits, will supply a generous synthesis of good vibes.
It is too soon to tell whether or not this book "worked for me," however, here's a clue that Stein is on the right track: If the reader is honest with himself, he will find himself guilty of some of these recipes for disaster. About 1/3 of the loser behaviours Ben outlines I have been, or currently am, engaged in. And you know what? Stein is right; these behaviours have not benefited me, but to some degree or another have conspired "to ruin my life."
I just discovered this jewel, and I would have to say this is one of the best books I've read in years. Now I'm going to stock up on copies to give out as gifts.
Of course, Ben Stein has a wonderfully sharp wit, which is just perfect for getting his point across. Young people see him on the Comedy Channel and know he's "cool", so they'll pick up this little book and give him a chance. But the book is straight on in its advice and wisdom.
This book should be required reading for everyone and most certainly should be a graduation gift for every student you know. Plus, it's the perfect size for stuffing into Christmas stockings.