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How to be Free by Joe Blow: An Analysis

Thane Eichenauer: What does freedom mean to you? (Flickr CC)

Joe Blow is a pseudonym of an Australian writer who wrote How to be Free, published on Smashwords, with free download options.  It could be classified as a self-help book, but that would be a simplified understatement. 


There are many “experts” who fill up bookshelves with self-help books, with many having the  capitalistic aim of “making a buck,” whether the book actually helps anyone or not. Such books are essentially full of disclaimers that they cannot replace professional help. What then, would be the purpose of such books, besides making money?

Joe Blow may not fall under this category, for his book neither has a classification of being a self-help book, nor does it carry any disclaimer (at least, in the Smashwords free e-book edition). For one thing, Joe Blow has suffered from mental illness for most of his life, which can be read in the Smashwords biography of the author. It implies that the author has lived and survived his human condition, and is prepared to share his views with the world. 

As the late Akira Kurosawa would put it, “In a mad world, only the mad are sane.” In many ways, this being a mad world, the late Akira Kurosawa makes certain sense. Similarly, Joe Blow makes a certain sense in his writings as well, as someone who has (quite) liberated himself from his life-long mental anguish. Without spoiling the essence of the book, it goes without saying that it is worth a read. 

The book has a following on the readers’ social network, Goodreads and on Facebook. There is also a Portuguese translation of the book.


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