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Best-selling Books

Culture | Culture

Issue: "Ugly truth of partial-birth," April 17, 2004

1. The Purpose Driven Life

Rick Warren

Content Warren takes his useful and well-known advice to churches and targets it to individuals.

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Gist In 40 short chapters, meant to be read one-a-day, Warren guides readers to discover how God's five ordained purposes-worship, community, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism-apply to them. His advice is often practical. Readers may disagree with him on this or that, but he encourages all to ask the important question, &quotWhat on earth am I here for?"

2. Deliver us from Evil

Sean Hannity

Content An argument by a popular radio and television personality in favor of a strong foreign policy to defeat terrorists and other foreign bad guys.

Gist Hannity understands that worldviews matter and that since evil exists, it must be met with strength, not talk. Hannity goes back to the Reagan administration and shows that conservatives and liberals have different views of the world, the battle against terror, and national security. Most readers will find several &quotI'd forgotten that" places in the book.

3. The Sexy Years

Suzanne Somers

Content Somers promotes the use of natural, bio-identical hormones to help women cope with the changes brought about by aging.

Gist Somers delivers a prescription for combating the seven dwarves of menopause (including Itchy, Bloated, and All-Dried-Up) so that women can be all that they can be. With examples from her own life and through interviews with women and doctors, Somers wraps everything into a gaudy package of glib hedonism.

4. The Proper Care ... of Husbands

Laura Schlessinger

Content Many women don't respect their husbands. They resent their demands and then wonder why their marriages aren't happy. Dr. Laura sets about to correct the problem.

Gist Using radio transcripts and letters, Dr. Laura makes the case that men are fairly simple. They want to be respected by their wives, who can show love and respect by keeping the house in order, cooking meals, enjoying sex, and appreciating their husbands rather than nagging at them.

5. The Power of Intention

Wayne Dyer

Content A new-age primer about connecting to the source of all things so that what a person intends to do is what happens.

Gist Dyer's full-of-mumbo-jumbo book suggests that successful, creative people are those who are connected to the universal force. Intention, he says, &quotisn't something you do, it's an energy you're a part of." A belief in a God outside of creation is one of the barriers that can keep a person from tapping into this universal source.

In the spotlight

For the past half year one liberal book after another dominated the bestseller lists, making it seem as though no one was reading anything but anti-Bush propaganda. But a glance through Publishers Weekly's annual ranking of bestsellers from 2003 shows that readers were more interested in their souls and their stomachs than they were in politics. Publishers Weekly compiles the list from reports made by publishers of &quotshipped and billed" books. The numbers only include sales from 2003 and don't include returns.

The best-selling nonfiction book of the year-by almost 3 to 1-was Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life (11.3 million). The South Beach Diet (4.4 million), Atkins for Life (2. 1 million), and The Ultimate Weight Loss Solution (1.9 million) held the next three places. Books about politics followed closely behind: 5th (Living History by Hillary Clinton, 1.5 million), 6th (Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken, 1 million), 8th (Who's Looking Out for You? by Bill O'Reilly, 932,750), 9th (Dude, Where's My Country? by Michael Moore, 806,892), and 14th (Treason by Ann Coulter, 545,420).

Celebrity memoirs (A Royal Duty, Kate Remembered and The World According to Mr. Rogers), a trivia book (Guinness World Records 2000), and two professional books (Good to Great and The Essential 55) filled out the top 15.

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