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Manual Labor Redux – BTT

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This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is:

Following up last week’s question about reading writing/grammar guides, this week, we’re expanding the question….

Scenario: You’ve just bought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not?

Do you ever read manuals?

How-to books?

Self-help guides?

Anything at all?

HA! I laugh because I’m the one who reads the manuals…that’s how come I’m so smart. 😉

I usually read the ‘accompanying documentation’ after I’ve fiddled my way around. I always like to have an idea of what they’re talkin’ about, ya know? In fact, I had a boss who for whatever reason never read the manual and would bring his question to me instead of figuring it out himself. Frankly, for the most part, I can usually figure it out without the manual. But not always.

I have a friend who’s a self-help junkie. She’s read all the self-help guides, and I would just as soon have my dog’s turds thrown at me rather than read a self-help book.

How-to books aren’t really my thing either. The dummies guides…meh, they’re okay. Usually it’s too much for what I want.

HOWEVER, I love looking on the Internet. Yes, not everything you read is reliable, but I don’t go to just one site and consider myself done. I get a consensus, obviously, for anybody who wants to pooh-pooh the Internet as a resource. 😛

Anyvays, I’d love to hear what your answer is. I’d especially like to hear from any self-help junkie. YOU PEOPLE FASCINATE ME.

| Tags: , , , , 21 comments »

21 Responses to “Manual Labor Redux – BTT”

  1. Kat

    Yep, I pretty much have a similar reply. 🙂 I love tinkering with a gadget and so long as it works fine I usually refrain from reading the manual. And most of the time, I read it after I’ve played around with the gadget a bit. 🙂

    Manual Labor Redux


  2. Melody

    I don’t read gadget manuals…I find them boring! Haha… and anyway I’ll approach the hubs first. ;P However, I agree with you about the internet because you can just find your answers easily there.


  3. Maree

    I don’t read the manuals usually. And I’m not a junkie, but I’ve read the odd self-help book. 🙂


  4. BooksPlease

    I’m much the same, I can’t usually understand those instructions anyway.


  5. thatsthebook

    Nice response, I really liked your thoughts on the self-help genre. I typically don’t read them either but there was a time when I did read them. Well, that’s all in my answer anyway.


  6. Chris@bookarama

    I feel the same way about the self-help books. I use the Internet too. I gave up using the Internet for medical help though. I’m too much of a hypochondriac.


  7. curlywurlygurly

    i prefer the instruction manuals that have pictures–i’m a bit visual like that. if i can’t figure out how to work something within 3 seconds, i revert to the manual, or better yet, my husband.

    as for self-help…there’s no problem in my life that some peanut m&ms can’t solve. 🙂


  8. Megan

    The internet isn’t reliable? crap. I guess I should stop referring to it as the “oracle.”

    haha…i hate self help as well…i’d rather read a cereal box.


  9. gautami tripathy

    I read the instruction manuals even when I know how to work around. And I feel the same way about self help books!

    My BTT post!


  10. Megan

    I am not a self help junkie but I do like self help books. You can check out my post to see a sampling of what I am talking about. I like books that are about having fun and embracing who you are. I used to think self help books were stupid, but I started listening to them on audio when I couldn’t focus on other reading and I have really enjoyed the places my mind has gone as a result. There is something about doing it passively, listening while doing something else, that makes it seem all a little less involved.


  11. bethany canfield

    I like what you said here. I am not a self-help junkie though…but oh well. I do love doing internet searches as well!

    happy Thursday!


  12. mervih

    I usually read the manual, too. At least the relevant parts. 😉

    I can’t bring myself to really trust answers on the internet because there’s really no way to know who is answering and if they know anything at all. But sure, they tend to be quite entertaining. 🙂


  13. JLS Hall

    I can really identify with what you said about the boss who wouldn’t read the manual and then came to you for help. I had a boss like that. I always wondered, if I was the one figuring everything out, why was he the boss?


  14. rambleicious

    All the people here who read the manual really warm my heart – really! My chosen profession is writing those manuals (just the ones you thought were useful of course!) – so I love hearing maybe someone out there had found something I’ve written useful!

    As for self-help books – I’ve read a few and never been able to follow them. I wonder if there is a book for that? I decided the real self-help section was the fiction and literature sections of the bookstore. Reading Rilke has been more useful to me than reading Dr. Phil. 😉


  15. CJHill

    I’m with you on the self-help books and the manuals. I usually read enough to get going and then have to go back for more. My answer’s up at:



  16. CJHill

    Dang – got the link wrong. Try this one:



  17. Becca

    Heh! I love that self-help people fascinate you. I seriously can’t get down with self-help books. They always make me feel like I’m five years old and being lectured by my mom.

    I do however enjoy some how-to books, depending on the subject. Normally they’re word related (How to write children’s books and what-not). Some how-to books are just necessary for me, like how to run a marathon and how to rock climb. I just can’t afford my own coach or expensive classes so I risk my life instead by trying to learn to tie knots from a book. Awesome.

    Um, and manuals? No thanks. Although I have to admit I read the manual for both my iPod and my new mac when I bought them. I’m just not mac savvy.


  18. softdrink

    We’ve been known to not quite follow all the Scrabble rules. Whaddya think about that?


  19. John

    Now when John Wayne rode in to town to tackle the cattle barons in their fancy Eastern Style ranches you never see anyone struggling with a flat pack manual. Yet mail order catalogues took off in the 19th century so did the fancy furniture arrive all made up? We need an answer!!


  20. Literary Feline

    I read manuals as well. Although I am not always so good at figuring things out on my own. When it comes to objects, I tend to be clueless without guidance. I am not a self-help junkie, but I have read a handful in the past few years. Some are more helpful than others. I’m reading one right now that I need to pay more attention to . . . It’s health related and would probably benefit me quite a bit if I gave myself over to it instead of going it on my own.

    The internet is a great resource, but for certain things I just go to my books because they are trusted resources and it tends to be quicker than searching all over the web for a reliable source. I do have favorite reference websites, and if they can help me with whatever problem I need solving, I might go there first, depending on which is more convenient. Besides, when the internet connection isn’t working, it’s nice to know the books are handy.


  21. mellymel

    sorry, no self helping here. but i am a manual reader. read it, set the thing up, and your golden. and google solves many a problem too.


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