STBO posts to Hirhurim: I can’t figure out why I or anyone else would buy this book. It’s very hard to imagine anything in this book that doesn’t apply to life every single day of every year (e.g. ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’, ‘the world is bigger than your bank account’, ‘keep things in perspective’, ‘don’t panic’, etc. etc. etc.). We’ve heard these mussar / "chassidus" lessons ad infinitum. What’s new here? Vortlach about impoverished chassidim back in Europe?
Are people honestly unable to figure out that "Prayer will bring you closer to God"? And that they need to pay attention to the words?
The making of many books can be a weariness of the flesh and it doesn’t reflect well on us as a community that we have a new little pocket self-help tagalong for every contingency. It suggests a severe lack of willingness of many people to think on their own, even about their own lives.
…I worry generally about the number of books being published today that are not of lasting value. A book can serve a useful contemporary self-help purpose for a year or two… but is it something that somebody would pick up 20 years from now and find valuable? For the majority of "seforim" published today the answer is clearly no.
As bad, it seems like we’ve lost the ability to distinguish between temporary self-help value and enduring worth.
As a community we also seem largely focused these days on moving from ‘crisis to crisis’, seeking what are in reality (even if they appear otherwise) local tactical fix-ups while there are severe strategic problems surrounding us. And again we don’t have the insight to note the difference between the two. I just see books of this overall genre being a symptom of that state–lots of words, but going nowhere in particular.