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I am one of the feeble who have to hit rock bottom before they can put things in perspective

D. Donovan, Senior eBook Reviewer,  Midwest Book Review.  http://www.midwestbookreview.com/mbw/jun_14.htm#donovan

Michael Enzo was a fraud. He was also a philanthropist. He was also a gigolo. And a devout Catholic. He profited from people’s insecurities and when that wasn’t enough he began systematically psychologically destroying those closest to him – including author Benjamin W. DeHaven. So why would DeHaven then salvage his former friend’s journal from his New Orleans estate after Hurricane Katrina and publish it; especially since he was involved in Enzo’s self-help industry deceptions? Simple: the act of publishing a journal exposing the roots of deception is an act of contrition and an effort to undo the harm that they caused . And who will be the likely reader of Confessions of a Self-Help Writer? That would be the reader already interested in the self-help field (possibly even those already familiar with Enzo’s works) who want a deeper understanding of the entire operation, from Enzo’s personality and motivations to the author’s own rationale for participating in Enzo’s schemes. Now, forgiveness is a powerful motivator – and so is guilt. Without either in place, Confessions of a Self-Help Writer likely wouldn’t have seen the light of day. And another powerful force at work here is egotism: specifically, Michael Enzo’s drive to control and change his world and the worlds of others. Without THAT piece in place, he wouldn’t have formed the schemes he did, nor candidly wrote about them in this journal.

Consider the power of the voice that explains his perspective: “”I am one of the feeble who have to hit rock bottom before they can put things in perspective.  Besides, once you hit rock bottom, you can start publishing self-help books in your own name, as long as you’re famous. Mine will be a great testimonial to the will of men. When you’ve physically and mentally demolished the physical representation of your soul, suddenly you become an incredible healer, according to my books.” Add to this dose of autobiography a series of revelations that systematically show how darkness enters a common man’s soul and how it twists motivation to ultimately foster deceptive practices and you have a satisfying blend of autobiography, journal entries, and insights into not just one man’s obsession, but the psychological trappings of the self-help industry as a whole. Eye-opening (even eye-popping, at points) and involving, Confessions of a Self-Help Writer reads like a thriller but is true life confession at its best. D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, MBR (Midwest Book Review)

Donovan’s Bookshelf (http://donovansbookshelf.weebly.com/ ) later in the month.

Confessions of a Self-Help Writer (The Journal of Michael Enzo) Benjamin W. DeHaven Lagniappe Publishing 9780989912686   $22.95 9780988912693    $14.95  www.bdehaven.com

I am one of the feeble who have to hit rock bottom before they can put things in perspective

Little Enzo1

The next time you pick up a self help book–remember Enzo

Authors Reading-Review-Having no grip on “normalcy”, but somehow helping others http://www.authorsreading.com/confessions-of-a-self-help-writer_153.htm Confessions of a Self Help Writer by Benjamin DeHaven is a work of fiction–based on non fiction. DeHaven and Enzo have a very long history and relationship. Michael Enzo is a ghost writer for self help books. He has written many and at times has written books for those who don’t even know he has written them. Enzo lives quite the life–drugs, alcohol, prostitution-to name a few. He really only surfaces on the book writing scene when he is broke and needs something to finance his lifestyle. Enzo’s journal is found in the aftermath of Katrina, and from this DeHaven writes his book. One has to wonder if all in the journal is true or another of Enzo’s writing “stunts”–no matter what the case it is interesting reading. The eye opener is the revelation that self help books, purchased by thousands and held in reverence could be written by a character like Enzo. The stark contrast between Enzo’s life and what he writes for others is mind boggling. A man that has absolutely no grip on “normalcy”, but can write to guide and help others is truly a testament to his brilliance. No doubt when you read Confessions of a Self Help Writer you will wonder how DeHaven and Enzo stayed so entangled for so many years. Love hate relationship? No matter the reason this is a very good read. You must remember there will be offensive language, lifestyles and relationships. The next time you pick up a self help book—-remember Enzo.

Please Visit bdehaven.com

Please Visit bdehaven.com

Popular self-help books written by con-man drug addict with no sense of social responsibility

Review: Confessions of a Self-Help Writer (The Journal of Michael Enzo)-Marc Hershon 

A Novel by Benjamin W. DeHaven The best books start with an engaging premise and Benjamin DeHaven’s can be reverse engineered into a kind of conspiracy theory: What if the most popular self-help books were secretly written by one person? Then consider that the person behind the writing abuses alcohol and drugs to excess, has no sense of social responsibility, and is the very last person someone in need would seek out for counsel or advice.-That person would be Michael Enzo.

Author DeHaven has come into possession of Enzo’s voluminous journal, outlining a number of his exploits and encounters in the first person. It’s a rollicking ride with some somber encounters sprinkled throughout, a diary of sorts from a man possessed of a writing skill which keeps getting him work, so long as he’s writing in another person’s voice. (Along the way, Enzo also manages to pen two novels under his own name, neither of which finds much in the way of critical acclaim or financial success.)

By his claims, Enzo has ghostwritten tell-all books for movie stars, politicians, and business leaders, in addition to a fleet of books in the self-help genre. As his life of addiction and disorganized crime unfolds, we see these books were mostly written while on the run or in hiding, mostly in an effort to scrape together enough money to survive or to pay off a debt just in time thus allowing Enzo to scurry off to his next odd encounter.

From time to time, DeHaven himself surfaces during the adventure, to be alternately enthralled with Enzo or swindled by him in some way. (At one point, DeHaven gets stuck running an “art newspaper” when Enzo invites him to join the staff, only to bolt and leave him holding the reins of a publication on the brink of failure.)

We feel a sense of Enzo’s displacement through the non-linear telling of his exploits, time-slipping as it does from drug-addled adult moments to Enzo’s youth, his college days (with several institutions being involved), and early business beginnings.

There’s love, or loves, of a sort and here the tale of Michael Enzo engenders a true sense of confusion – or perhaps it’s merely fusion – as every women with whom he has anything resembling a relationship with is named Susan. (Including his mother) Each Susan is distinguished by one characteristic or another – Susan, the Dove soap model; Susan, the crazy cheerleader; Susan, who sells toilets. To blur the lines between author and subject even more, DeHaven is living with one of the Susans that Enzo was in love with (Confessions is even dedicated to “Susan”.)—Throughout the book, Enzo has peppered his journal with self-help tidbits, mostly the kinds of affirmations that adherents to such literature scribble onto Post-It notes and stick on their bathroom mirrors: The best things are usually done on impulse. To be successful in any venture, you must appreciate the failure of the heroes around you. Escape is impossible without knowledge.

And Enzo mentions enough run-ins with celebrities that we must have caught a glimpse of him, though perhaps only in our peripheral vision. There’s the incident where he almost gets on Oprah but is deemed just uninteresting enough to not be on the show. He claims to have worked on TV’s E/R, the job given as a favor from an unnamed star on the show for whom Enzo ghostwrote yet another self-help book. (He tells the story of the show’s Director of Photography betting him he won’t hit cast member George Clooney in the face with a snowball. He does.)—

Vast amounts of money seem to slip through Enzo’s hands like water, most of it from other people’s pockets for whom he is supposed to place bets or purchase things, only to always drink, snort, or piss it away. The resulting balance of his exploits invariably forcing Enzo into slaving away to pay it off or running away into the night, only to surface in another situation where he has metamorphosed into something else to get by.—Enzo’s final journal entry gives us hope that he has perhaps begun to take some of his own advice, as well as reveals that he’s flying off to begin a life with much of his old baggage left behind.

Marc Hershon is co-author of I Hate People! Kick Loose from the Overbearing and Underhanded Jerks at Work and Get What You Want Out of Your Job. He has written a number of movies for the Hallmark Channel, writes a blog and reviews for Huffington Post, and hosts Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast. As Creative Director of Lexicon Branding in Sausalito, CA, he has helped to create a number of internationally-known brand names, including BlackBerry, Dasani, and Swiffer.

Popular self-help books written by con-man drug addict with no sense of social responsibility

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In a jacket that was too small for him and a set of burgundy penny loafers, Enzo finally walked through the door of the Nola Shopper. He was followed by the smell of cheap bourbon and menthol cigarettes.

He had a garbage bag with him, which he tossed onto my desk. In it was cash, which he began to distribute as if he were dropping off discarded children’s clothes at the Good- will. He then told me I was the new owner of the Nola Shopper—he had signed the business over to me that morning. I thought the statement very matter-of-fact in its presenta- tion, but he convinced me once again to start the cycle of cleaning up his relationships, his lies, and his financial matters before disappearing into the abyss of society. I once again pushed back a normal person’s questions of why he would simply give me a business or ever mislead me.Before I could settle him down, Enzo passed out and rolled off his chair onto the concrete floor, and I dragged him to the Ochsner Hospital, where they knew him on sight.

From: Confessions of a Self-Help Writer (The Journal of Michael Enzo) by: Benjamin DeHaven