Tag Archives: Enzo

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

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.

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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

A Perennial Read with Questions left to answer

I have read it, and what a wild ride it was! I especially like the quotes or offers of advice in the outlining type, very creative and I think I’ve heard some of them before but it might have been written by somebody else I was reading at the time. The book feels like an open letter to capture a man who may or may not want to be found. I laughed a lot, felt sympathy and then wished I was Enzo a few times but I don’t have the guts or ten lives it would take to get the nerve up to be him. Well written and entertaining and this book leaves more questions to be answered that actually answers them, could a sequel be in the works, maybe an answer to a petition filed in court, who knows, either way it was a great read and something I’ll keep as a perennial.

Jeff Rodgers Review-Confessions of a Self-Help Writer

“A Perennial Read with Questions left to answer”

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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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