Author Topic: Flimflam History  (Read 266 times)

Recusant

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Flimflam History
« on: December 09, 2016, 03:48:58 PM »
I hadn't heard about the 20th century mountebank Napoleon Hill before. He apparently inspired Norman Vincent Peale, whose book The Power of Positive Thinking was in turn an inspiration for many more modern self-help books. 

"All American Huckster" | Gizmodo

It's a long read, and definitely would have benefited from the services of a competent copy editor, but it's generally pretty good, if you're at all interested in the history of self-aggrandizing con men.  :notsure:

"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Icarus

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Re: Flimflam History
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2016, 04:05:54 PM »
I read Napolean Hill when I was a mere tad.  Even at the time I thought that he was pushing his points a bit much. There were a number of others in that time period who had written books about salesmanship. 

There remains a whole gaggle of books about self help and selling ones self.   Then there are TV personalities who do the same sort of stuff, such as Doctor Phil who is, in my mind, an unabashed hustler.  Doctor OZ  also comes across as a shameless con man. Many  esteemed preacher men are also guilty of near  criminal promulgation of hokum. 

P.T. Barnum apparently had it right about a sucker being born every minute.  People do buy those books and believe in the TV gurus.