Tag Archives: Confessions of a Self-Help Writer

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

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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

Must read that also asks- “What Is the Meaning of Life?” and is God guiding your decisions-A Book Review

ED HELD—Text From Above: Here is a novel that is crazy, intriguing and tells of Ghost Writing and bankrupting a New Orleans Newspaper! Confessions of a Self-Help Writer: The Journal of Michael Enzo, Hardcover by Benjamin DeHaven. A ghost, a philanthropist, a con man, a devout Catholic, a gigolo, a savior, an heir, a common man, a writer, and an addict are just some of the words used to describe Michael Enzo. He defrauded an industry for almost 20 years by exploiting people’s insecurities and profiting from them. After failing to make an impact on society he began to destroy those closest to him, including Benjamin DeHaven, the author of this book. Here’s one book you must read that also asks you- “What Is the Meaning of Life?” and is there really a God upstairs guiding your decisions! —If you ever wanted a sneak- look into the madness that festers in Big Easy, pick up this book for a feast of irregularities!

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How could a man armed with knowledge on the things people need to hear toss it all aside instead of truly making something of himself?

How could a man armed with knowledge on the things people need to hear toss it all aside instead of truly making something of himself?

*From “When the Levee Breaks” by Benjamin DeHaven We have a great blog stop this morning, but I also received a copy of a review from the publisher. While the rating was not high-(3 out of 5 stars-or 60% or *F-on this tough scale-Phew) I really liked what the reviewer had to say and wanted to include it. Along with another link to buy the book-or possibly win it on the GIVEAWAY on Writer Wonderland with @morgankwyatt and Hosted by: @GoddessFish

http://writerwonderland.weebly.com/blog/confessions-of-a-self-help-writer-stop-giveaway

AND FOR THE REVIEW:

Kim Brooks (Reviewer) has just completed feedback for Confessions of a Self-Help Writer.

@KA_Brooks–I’m not sure if this is the correct Kim, if not I apologize.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Full Text: To be honest, I was torn between liking this book and thinking it was okay. There were a number of great passages throughout the book, whether they’re found in the writings of DeHaven or Enzo. What could’ve been a brilliant career in ghostwriting turned into a wave of destruction that took down everyone and everything close to Enzo.

After one of Enzo’s women gave him a journal, DeHaven sought to make sense of the portion of his life in which he’d been under Enzo’s spell. We, the readers, are then led through the twisted journey of Enzo’s descent, augmented by DeHaven’s own experiences. Some of the passages or anetdotes that come from either author entertained me or made me wonder how someone with such a grip on the things people need to hear could toss it all aside instead of truly making something of himself. Even though DeHaven made it clear that he was using Enzo’s journals, passages from Enzo’s books and other relevant experiences, it was a little difficult to decipher exactly who was speaking when unless I paid close attention at the beginning of each chapter.

Despite the disjointed feeling I had while reading this, there was a clear story of a person’s life dissolving before his eyes. The more Enzo attempted to use his talents and strengths to make himself appear greater than he was, the further away from that very goal he moved. It was obvious the man had talent, but his own demons and little understanding of himself drove whatever good he might have accomplished away.

Definitely wasn’t a bad book, but simply took some time to read without confusion. Entertaining and unapologetic, Enzo was quite the character and one whom would have things his way or no way at all. Not sure to which genre of reader I’d recommend this book. It’s one of those books you simply have to read yourself in order to form your own opinion. You’ll either like it or hate it.

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I don’t know if I want to buy these men a drink or punch them in the face-a Book Review

Richard Collier #2 Confessions of a Self-Help Writer (The Journal of Michael Enzo) —Michael Enzo and Benjamin DeHaven… I don’t know if I want to buy these men a drink or punch them in the nose.  Confessions of a Self-Help Writer (The Journal of Michael Enzo) is a short read with far more life lessons cleverly hidden within its depths than the modest page count might suggest. Granted most of those lessons are given as a firsthand account of what not to do, but they’re there nonetheless. The novel is a breezy, easy read thanks to the impact of the characters and short chapter length. The book is presented as a journal of the main character, Enzo, with the occasional inserted timeline chapters and frequent margin comments from his former friend and patsy-in-crime, DeHaven.

Enzo’s journal chronicles his descent down the same slippery slopes he is often trying to warn us against, but can’t seem to avoid himself. Doing whatever he wants with no real regard for the consequences, Enzo leaves a trail of destruction in his wake without ever purposely being malicious. His frequent lack of any sense of morality makes those rare moments where his conscience takes control even more pointed and sincere. While Enzo is a charismatic ass people seem to gravitate towards, DeHaven, who sticks mostly to the background of the story, is more relatable and human. While some of DeHaven’s comments may border on the self-righteous, remember that no saints would consider Enzo a friend.

Benjamin DeHaven’s Confessions of a Self-Help Writer may be one of the most standout books written in 2014. The book almost demands a second read through for multiple reasons. Firstly, even with visual formatting clues, at times its difficult to separate Michael Enzo and DeHaven’s narrative. Initially this can be confusing and might throw a reader off but I don’t feel it dissuades from the overall content or impact of the book.  Also it seems to make much more sense upon second reading and to quote the book “There are signs everywhere, the secret is reading them.”  Secondly is that those pearls of wisdom standout even more the second time around. And finally the truly hysterical moments in the first reading are still humorous on later passes (occasionally even more so). You would be doing yourself a huge injustice to read this book only once. —

Confessions of a Self-Help Writer (The Journal of Michael Enzo) Lagniappe Publishing (July 1, 2014) By Benjamin DeHaven More information available at http://bdehaven.com  $22.95 ISBN-13: 978-09899126-8-6 (Hardcover) #1 Most Wished-for-Book 2014 Indie Bound Richard Collier, LSU School of Journalism

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Author was Blacked Out During Interview

The Rude Awakening Show-CJ DowneyTuesday, July 29th WOCM-FM 98.1

Author Ben DeHaven Spoke all week about how excited he was to be on this show! But after I listened to it I asked, “What in the hell were you talking about.?” When I played this for him-not only did he have no recollection, but he also received a call from his attorney who was not pleased.

Bulldog Rude Awakening

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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Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20308290-confessions-of-a-self-help-writer

Succotash

Laugh-out-loud funny at times and a very quick read.

The Grand Adventure Review——Link: http://thndrstd.tumblr.com/post/91861843311/confessions-of-a-self-help-writer-the-journal-of

Full Text: A short and very funny novel that rips into the self-help and celebrity culture of modern times. Michael Enzo writes self-help books, many under the names of famous celebrities, even though his own life – financially, spiritually, and romantically – is a complete shambles, complete with heavy drugs and illegality. Ben DeHaven, his friend and colleague, finds Enzo’s journal after he disappears and publishes it with his own notes regarding the mess that is Michael Enzo. Laugh-out-loud funny at times and a very quick read.

The Journal of Michael Enzo

Confessions of a Self-Help Writer

Revenge Is Sweet When It Means Exposing A Former Friend Who Betrayed You And Countless Others

Chicago, IL, September 22, 2014 – Whether you’re a prolific reader or read one book a year, you don’t want to miss Confessions of a Self-Help Writer (The Journal of Michael Enzo) by Benjamin W. DeHaven from Lagniappe Publishing.

This is the actual journal of ghost writer Michael Enzo. An enigma to most, Enzo has been described as a philanthropist, a con man, a ghost, a devout Catholic, a gigolo, a savior, and an addict. While he was often many of these things, the reality is that Enzo was the ghost writer of more than 100 self-help books for a number of celebrities, politicians and business icons. In many ways his story reads like a bizarre fiction novel…but it’s not, it’s true!

Benjamin DeHaven, Enzo’s former friend and collaborator, describes him as a man who “Defrauded an industry for almost 20 years by exploiting people’s insecurities and profiting from them.” Adding, “After failing to make what he considered to be a positive impact on society he began to destroy those closest to him – including me.” By once living life on the edge in their belief that they could only understand people’s problems by experiencing them, it’s very possible that these two friends actually contributed more to the field of self-help, while profiting from it, than they will ever know.

“You couldn’t make this stuff up!” has become the mantra for this extraordinary book that was on IndieBound’s ‘Most Wished for Book of 2014’ list for over 10 weeks. DeHaven, a romantic adventurer who admits his past was filled with lurid depravity, substance abuse and emotional complexity, has released Enzo’s personal journal (salvaged from Enzo’s New Orleans estate after hurricane Katrina) for two reasons; to clear his own conscience and in hopes that people will start helping themselves again after reading it. “To read it is to discover what turns someone from preaching salvation towards seeking its destruction. This is a true story,” says DeHaven.

A graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, Benjamin DeHaven earned an MBA from Tulane University in New Orleans. Currently residing in Las Vegas, he began his writing career with Stone United, a Chicago-based film company that works primarily in independent film. He has written for numerous magazines and media outlets, and has edited screenplays. He was the editor-in-chief of the Nola Shopper (“an enterprise Enzo eventually pauperized,” says DeHaven), a free art newspaper and the second-largest monthly paper in the New Orleans MSA. For more information on Ben or his book, please visit the website: www.bdehaven.com.

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TIP SHEET

Foreword Magazine: “This pontificating, self-centered character offers unexpected insight in an entertaining and edgy way.”

Ken Wilbur, PHD, Marketing Magazine Journal, California: “DeHaven is either a thinking man’s Tucker Max, or an idiot’s Hunter S. Thompson.”

  1. Donovan, Midwest Book Review “Eye-opening (even eye-popping at points) and involving, Confessions reads like a thriller but is true life at its best.”

Michael Scripps, Scripps Media: “DeHaven makes Bukowski read like a Disney story!”

Ed Helm, Studio News: “Here is one book you must read that also asks you-“What’s the meaning of life?” and is there really a God upstairs guiding your decisions?”

Richard Collier: “The standout Book of 2014. A huge injustice is only reading this book only once.”

Marc Hershon: “A rollicking ride…, a diary of sorts from a man possessed.”

AJ Klatch:A unique piece of literature to be remembered for its originality as much as for its significance as a statement about living life in today’s harsh reality”

Foreword Magazine Reviews Confessions of a Self-Help Writer (The Journal of Michael Enzo)

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HUMOR

Confessions of a Self-Help Writer: The Journal of Michael Enzo

Benjamin W. DeHaven Lagniappe Publishing 978-0-9899126-8-6 (July 2014)

This pontificating, self-centered character offers unexpected insight in an entertaining and edgy way.

Michael Enzo is the type of protagonist you will either love or hate, and Benjamin DeHaven gives readers plenty of reasons to feel passionately one way or the other in Confessions of a Self-Help Writer.

The titular confessions are—according to narrator Benjamin DeHaven—Enzo’s own journal entries. They have less to do directly with his ghostwriting of self-help books than his random autobiographical experiences of varying depravity and the roads he has happened upon along the way. DeHaven’s interspersed chapters of commentary provide the motivation for publishing the journal as an act of revenge for his own less-than-ideal situation, for which he holds Enzo responsible.

Quirky and inarguably unique in both style and content, Confessions of a Self-Help Writer is sure to evoke strong reactions. Taken at face value, Enzo is a crass and self-involved character, reprehensible in both word and deed for the most part, and with seemingly little sense of responsibility or depth of feeling. However, as with most interesting protagonists, there are layers to his personality and moments that hint at a deeper emotional core to his character. The occasional interruption by DeHaven provides a grounding point at which readers will be reminded that this journal is presented by someone with a biased point of view and an ax to grind.

Enzo is a drunk (and an occasional drug user) who pontificates while urinating into crowds and refers to every woman he knows, including his mother, as “Susan.” His poor attitudes and behaviors started early on, when as a Boy Scout he was the proverbial bad seed, the one who “led three other scouts to destroy the bowline knot that was tied to a self-made latrine post, forcing unsuspecting friends to fall into a pit of their own feces.” That he later found a brief leadership role within the troop seems rather undeserved, but it’s indicative of his ability to manipulate others.

The book is sprinkled with Enzo’s words of wisdom, helpfully emphasized in boldface, which appear to signify personal epiphanies.

DeHaven runs a risk that readers will be lost in Enzo’s offensiveness, yet those who press on may see him as a metaphor for various societal ills and dichotomies of daily life. Confessions of a Self-Help Writer is an entertaining if slightly disturbing tale of a man who is consistently devoted to being own worst enemy.

Jeannine Chartier Hanscom

Foreword Magazine Fall 2014, P.77-78

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