Friday , May 24 2024
Is the Self-Help Industry really about getting better, or just a fancier form of snake oil?

Book Review: Quest, Inc.: Can You Buy a New Life? by Justin Cohen

Who can a self-help expert turn to when his own life spirals out of control? Can the rules apply even for those who have lost their way in their own field?

In Quest, Inc.: Can You Buy a New Life? by Justin Cohen, we travel a very shaky yet compelling road to improvement. Robert Rivera has found himself in a nightmare he is unable to escape. He has become extremely overweight and unfit; he has lost his home, his wife, and his own will to live. Life had become a steady downhill spiral since he and a group of young achievers had won The Presidential Service Acknowledgement in the Presidents Living Well Campaign some years earlier. Living his dream was no longer even close to the dismal future he faced. Even as he decides to throw himself from the roof of an old dilapidated building he finds he does not even have the courage for that either. Contemplating his life from the edge, he is shaken.

The woman sent to talk him down is in disbelief. She recognizes Robert and with good reason. She was a part of the group that received the President’s Award. How could this have happened? As Carter looked askance at Robert, trying to access the situation, she is in disbelief at what has become of him.

Enlisting the rest of the group from their Living Well Campaign, they put together a plan for Robert. After much soul searching and turmoil he is able to regain a semblance of his prior life. When they realize the impact they have made and how Roberts’s turnaround with their help was such an amazing and gratifying feeling, they decided to get together and open a self-help program called Quest, Inc.

Little do they realize that they and their business will be under scrutiny by the investigative Journalist, Victoria Holt? Convinced that the self-help crowd is more about selling snake oil and making money then about real help, she is prepared to expose them for the charlatans she feels them to be. Setting them up is only a part of her game plan. Can they really make good on their promises or is what they propose really beyond their means. Can they really help their clients to lose weight, fix their relationships, or get rich? Can they help the homeless get back on track and is it possible to take racism out of a racist? Only as they realize the scope of their dilemma do they find that fire deep within to drive their clients to the best case scenario.

Cohen has written a charming and novel story, based on real life. The background and basics of the Quest, Inc. group are based of real life strategies. The development of his characters is both amusing and interesting. He has taken a little of many different issues and filled his characters with both charisma and just a bit of need. Taking both the good and bad he has given us topics that are controversial and yet real to the lives we know and live.

I enjoy how he has developed his gurus into real people, the challenge was in reducing the starch of success, and bringing them to the level of those they needed to work with. I was also amused with the differing tactics, and charmed by the mannerisms. The journalist was so convinced of her rightness, it is interesting to see how each of the characters found unique ways of dealing with her.

If you love a great story and enjoy reading self-help novels this is both an interesting and unique work. If you enjoy compassion, and romance as well as the inner workings of the self-help industry you will find Quest, Inc. to be very satisfying. The successes and challenges would make this a great book for a reading or discussion group, the nuances making it very appealing. This is a refreshing and riveting look at one of the newest industries of the day.

About Leslie Wright

Leslie Wright is an author and blogger in the Northwest.

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