Let's start with the fiction. Yes, fiction. God Is My Broker: A Monk Tycoon Reveals the 7 1/2 Laws of Spiritual and Financial Growth purports to be the story of "Brother Ty" (it's short for tycoon), a man who abandons life too given to alcohol and Wall Street failure for the life of a monk. He joins a monastery in upstate New York. The monastery is on its last financial legs thanks to the horrific taste and quality of the wine the monks produce to support themselves. With some divine inspiration or, perhaps, intervention, Brother Ty orchestrates a few choice financial trades that gets the Monastery of Cana back on its economic feet. Overcome with wealth and confidence, the monks switch allegiance from the supreme being to best-selling self-help authors. From there, it's all downhill for the hapless brothers.

Christopher Buckley (author of the best-selling Thank You for Smoking) and John Tierney, a columnist for the New York Times Magazine, have produced a short, funny send-up of the notion that self-help gurus can solve all our problems. They also take on the idea that marketing and image are king (even if the products stink). This is a lightly told tale of self-delusion and warped values.

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