Posted by: Donna Cunningham | January 29, 2011

An Improbable Best-Seller List: Self-Help Books for all 12 Signs

© 1-30-2011 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

I enjoy looking at the best-seller lists in the New York Times and USA Today because they give me glimpses of what I ought to be reading but am not.  That way, if I ever start feeling smug about my place in the cosmic scheme of things, it quickly dissipates.

Recently I was in a local metaphysical bookstore. As I waved away the thick incense smoke, I spotted a local best-seller list of astrology books posted at the register.

 I  paused to look,  curious as to whether anyone had rushed a Debunk the Debunkers book into print  about the so-called 13th zodiac sign, Ophiuchus, the “new” constellation that has suddenly appeared in astronomer’s telescopes.

Thankfully, there were none. I’ll be able to cash in on that bestseller from the last time astronomers “discovered” Ophiuchus back in the 1970s. I can retrieve it from the moldy stacks in the attic and maybe sell it for big bucks on EBay. 

I found the bookstore’s Best-Seller list interesting, though in spots improbable and heavy on the self-help side. I’m reprinting it so you can search the internet for any that you or your loved ones need.  

 The top 12 are:

A Short Who’s Who of Aries Peacemakers and Pushovers

 A Taurean Guide to Decluttering your Home—Now You Can Keep Everything!

Silent Meditation for Geminis—Learn to Sit Quietly for Hours at a Time

(It turned out to be one of those blank books.  I bought two.)

 The Cancerian Credo—Come Out on Top in Family Feuds: Outwit~Outplay~Outlive!

 Humility Now!  A Guide for the Glitterati: How the World’s Foremost Leos Pull It Off

(A richly-illustrated coffee table edition, in four easy payments of $50 each.)

 Virgoan Visions: A Step-by-Step Process to Achieve Total Perfection

 (People who bought this also chose The Where You Went Wrong Workbook)

 A Libran’s Shortcuts to Decision Making

  • Includes a CD with 10,000 Alternative Choices
  • Plus a sure-fire aid—a coin with heads on both sides

A Scorpio Tells All. Really!

  • Click here for an excerpt from Chapter 1:  “Yeah, RIGHT!!”
  • Excerpt from Chapter 2: “MYOB.”
  • Excerpt from Chapter 3: “I can’t believe you paid $39.95 for this, Sucker!”

The Shocking Ignorance of the General Public:  A Sagittarian Perspective on How to Set It Right

 Capricorn Coaching:  Give your Goals your All–and Why It Won’t Do Any Good

 The Aquarian Kitchen—Household Hints for the Mildly Deranged

 The Piscean Book of Pretested To-Do Lists

(Found on, only slightly used. The appendix features a handy list of excuses to suit every occasion.)

One of those bestsellers, I’m proud to say, was written by someone who’ll be familiar to my regular readers. My mean Aunt Bernadine wrote the book on family feuds, and, now in her late 80s,  has been able to outwit, outplay, and outlive all her siblings and every one of her children. 

PS.  Does anyone at all know how to pronounce Ophiuchus?  The way I’ve been pronoucing it, it sounds like officious, but that could just reflect the way astronomers strike me.   And to think our fields used to be colleagues back in antiquity! 

PSS. Tatiana.larina provided a link to a dictionary which pronounces words aloud.  (Awfully for those with Mercury-Saturn squares, as they tend to mispronounced words.) It’s at . In American English, Ophiuchus would be rendered: offa-you-cuss. (“Offa you, cussed astronomers!”)

Readers, are you writing—or telling everybody that you intend to write—an astrological self-help book that ought to be included on this list?   Leave the title in the comment section, and when and if our Primary Procrastinator gets back from her networking luncheon with  fellow procrastinators, we’ll bring it to her attention.  

 More Impertinent Articles about the Zodiac Signs:

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  1. Yes, well, no way a Virgo published this book.
    Most likely, a Taurus descendant found a dusty manuscript of it on the “to be revised” shelf of the Virgo’s library after his demise, and thought to himself “Self-help book, huh? Hmmm, this could help me out with my mortgage!” 💡
    It turns out, shrewd Taurus turned over a million (what can I say, loooong shelf, that one) while poor Virgo kept turning over in his grave.

    P.S. You’ve been doing this for over 40 years, so you must have known by now that there’s no such thing as a “mildly” deranged Aquarius…which reminds me…Happy Birthday, Dad! 😀

    • Cackling! All very funny, VR! However, you are to blame for this piece. Remember in the contest you suggested I write a slam the 12 signs series? This is only the beginning.

      But first I want to write, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the 8th House But Were Afraid I Might Tell you.” That might eventually become a self-help book/memoir. Donna

      • Haha, that fits to a T!

      • 😀 Cracked Mirrors: A Leo’s Guide to Feng-Shui Basics

      • Love it! Donna

  2. I’m particularly proud of my Capricorn self help book: “Cutting Out The Short Cuts ~ Taking The Long and Hard Road To Success”

    Chapter One: Learning To Wait: Why Instant Gratification Is A Bad Move

    Obviously, it’s going to take me a lifetime to complete it…

    • You’re definitely onto something, Mandi! But, yes, with all the revisions plus looking for the perfect shark of an agent, it might well take as long as Pluto is in Capricorn. Donna

  3. Hello Donna!
    What fun! I have a self-help book written in my head to share with folks who, like me, have a Virgo Moon; Aquarian Sun and a Scorpio Rising. It’s entitled The True Maverick’s Guide to Perfectly Justified Revenge Strategies.
    It should be arriving at all the best bookstores by February 14, 2012!

    • Congrats, Judith, you just sold your first copy!
      (Aquarius SN, Virgo stellium, Pluto score of about 50 8) )

    • Fantastic!

    • Can I write the afterword on how to get away with the justified revenge? Sag Rising, Cancer Sun, Moon-Uranus in Scorpio.

  4. Donna,
    Oh my, I just re-read the title of my book and realized that this hits closer to home than perhaps I have been willing to admit. Are there self-help books to help oneself OUT OF self-helping oneself??? (Humour cuts through to truth better than any other scalpel I’ve ever had my hands on, at least for me.)

  5. Hey VR and Mandi,
    Thanks for the enthusiastic feedback! Hmm, maybe I really should write this book.

  6. Hello Donna,
    I hope this is okay to add yet one more post. I’m about to get divorced and lose my wonderful little house, all in the name of love AND it is nearing February 14, so maybe I can be cut a little slack if I have past my quota. Humour is what’s keeping me going–no, not just going, actually thriving in a rather funny, materially impoverished but spiritually enriching sort of way….

    Here goes–the self-help book for all those guys who share my soon-to-be ex’s trilogy of Aries SN; Virgo Moon (conjunct mine!!) and Capricorn Rising. Did I mention that his NN/Pluto (conjunct) and Uranus are all in the seventh house?
    Oh where was astrology in 1997?? Definitely not in my sphere of awareness!
    Okay, okay, I’ll stop now. time to get kids and dog up and out for a morning walk in the park. Venus is so beautiful this morning.

    Drum roll, please….

    Fighting for Your Self-Entitled Right to Try and Meet All Your Personal Goals Exactly As You Set Them Out Without Consulting Anyone Else in Your Life; Even If Means Risking Taking Everyone Else Down With You.

    Do you think the title is a bit too long?


    • Maybe add a subtitle?

      Donna, always glad to offer advice to my fellow writers.

      • Great idea, Donna. Thanks!

  7. Hi Donna
    When I’m interested in learning about astrology I use your site, some other sites, your guest bloggers and their books and look at the following site: “Dave’s Top Astrology Books”

    I use the Kepler software and subscribe to the Mountain Astrologer. If you have additional sites or software or authors to recommend, post it on your blog; I trust your opinion..peace

    • I think you’re in all the right places, Nett. I use Solar Fire, love TMA. Do you follow AstroDispatch? ( It’s a daily digest of the best astrology posts on the net. Donna

  8. Since Virgo is by far the most elusive sign of all, with textbook interpretations varying from off to off-putting, I’m thinking we could use some help to discard the occassionally ill-minded comments pop astrologers throw on us.
    (Personally, I always have a good laugh with the haters, it’s the condescending ignorants I can’t stand- guilty as charged, these folks drive me nuts!!)
    So, I’d be delighted to write a self-help book entitled “WHAT’S IN A VIRGO:CLUES FOR THE CLUELESS”, followed by the very telling subtitle “ODE TO MEAN AUNT BERNADINE”. (I still can’t digest the fact that this woman is real, alive and typing- kudos girl!)
    As you may have already guessed, the book would consist of 11 hate letters, one for each sign, where I would entertain the usual misconceptions about Virgos from each sign’s standpoint by means of snide comments and name-calling. (I figured rudeness would only increase the hype, so why fight the urge?)
    And since our idea of modesty hasn’t gotten us very far by now, I’ve decided to close my book with a eulogistic paean paying hommage to our superiority (sic).
    P.S.I already have a title for my Leo chapter. Yikes! 😛

    • Still cackling! Love it when we get to have some fun around here! Donna

      PS. I’d advise you to stay very far beneath Aunt Bernadine’s radar. She takes offense at most everything.

    • sounds like a good read. Where can I find it?

  9. With that latest contribution from VR, I’m afraid I am at it again. This time, with a different slant, inspired by VR’s wonderful, rising sign-centered thoughts.

    With deference to all those Scorpios who know we are, in fact, a most unfairly maligned bunch, I would like to suggest a kind of Dr.Seuss style book that tells the tale of place called Flow College where one goes to “clear Karma.” It is run by a Scorpionic sage–a wise woman indeed–who tells her graduating class, Now you’ve cleared Karma, the rest is just Dharma, so go with the flow and don’t trip the alarma…
    One of the graduating students squeaks, in a state of total discombobulation, What??!!Trip the alarma? Whatever do you mean? I thought that flow was a cruising machine; a “paid all my dues, no more blues”-ing machine”.. etc. At this point, the Scorpionic sage tells her story–a story of an extraordinary transformation of herself that turned bitterness and jealousy into the most exquisitely sensual appreciation of Truth and Beauty that one can imagine as she traveled the heroine’s journey, meeting each sign on the way and seeing them through her own eyes rather than wishing she was anyone else but a Scorpio.
    At the end of her story, the students are left with the choice to go back into the world and live in fear of tripping the alarma that re-introduces karmic dirt into their now sanitized lives, or throw themselves back into all the crud and crap of that less than perfect reality they thought they left behind, armed with a new attitude toward their own sign and how to work it, as taught them by the Scorpionic sage.

    Oh my, maybe that is my next job. Headmistress of Flow College.

    • How would you have time to be Headmistress? You have books to write, girl!

      • lol 😆

      • Indeed, Donna, I must confess, this little gem has been gestating in my mind for quite a while. I believe I will have it written and published in time for Christmas 2012. (Not a plan; more like a “knowing” that is just coming ot the surface as I write this.) It will be entitled Christmas at Flow College. The discombobulated student–who is the first ever in the 50 year history of Flow College–to say, what??!! stays at the College with the headmistress in her very interesting little house on the grounds of the College during the holidays and each day hears one of the 12 stories of the headmistress’s mythic journey. One day for each of the 12 days of Christmas. The book would go on sale on Christmas Day and the buyer has to sign a contract agreeing to read one and only one story per Christmas day and to never read the book at any other time of the year nor lend it to anyone without their signing the same contract. Look out Hogwarts, here we come!

        p.s. Thank you all for your energetic connection of consciousness today–I know without any doubt that it is feeding me a most wonderful meal of inspired creativity! I have to write an affidavit for divorce court tomorrow so let’s have fun while we can, shall we?

  10. Silent Meditation for Geminis—Learn to Sit Quietly for Hours at a Time? Hell, I’d be happy for just MINUTES at a time.

  11. An Aqua who’s just been maniacal in the kitchen and going to share with next door neighbor. My book: The 24 Signs of the Zodiac A Retro Approach to Astrology and Feminism.

  12. As you know Donna, thanks to your early appreciated encouragement, there are authors ‘out there’ who actually Do write these sort of books and I’m one of them!

    I’ve finished ‘How to Cheer Up A Capricorn’ and am working on ‘How to Believe in a Sagittarius’…it won’t be long before I get to ‘How to Help a Cancer Feel at Home’…so your very funny article is, based on truth!!
    (loved the Gemini title, my Gemini best friend also can’t manage minutes!)

  13. To all you delightful Self-helpers, cheers to the elf within!

  14. Hi Danna,
    Ophiuchus is a greek word, and in greek is pronounced Ophiouhous.
    In greek, ophis (όφις) means snake, so Ophiuchus is the Serpent- bearer. In greek mythology, is assossiated with Asklepius, the god of medicine and healing. The rod of Asclepius, a snake-entwined staff, remains the symbol of medicine even today.

  15. (blush) But we are right!! (Sagittarius)

    • Mmm. Nope, Mimi. It’s Virgos who are always right. Sagittarians only THINK they’re always right. Donna

      • ROTFL

      • My 3 Sag and 2 Virgo planets are just beaming right now:)

        These titles are priceless Donna! I needed a laugh today:) I love the Gemini, Virgo, Scorp, Sag & Cap titles you came up with … with extra credit to Mandi for her “Cutting out the shortcuts & taking the long, hard road to success!”

        It’s hard to come up with any other really good ones … but I’ll give it a shot:

        “Aries Workbook on Impulse Control”

        “Taurean Guide to Having it All while others go simply frugal”

        “Pisces Planner: How to tune in, tune out and still pay the bills!”

    • Oh, God, Karen, those are great! I’d buy every one of them! If I weren’t so principled, I’d steal that Aries title! Donna

      • Feel free to adopt the Aries title 🙂 It’s all good in my book!

        I’ve certainly learned a lot from your blog over the past six months and give you big kudos for sharing your knowledge so freely.

  16. The Leo self-help book? HAH! Our book would be” “Why we are so much more glorious than you and don’t need any help whatsoever except for getting someone else to do the menial work.”

  17. Tee hee! I have the name of a book that might be useful to people like me (with an Aries Sun, Aquarius Moon and Cancer Rising).

    How to Think of Interesting Things While Appearing Quiet and Calm.


  18. Hello Donna,

    I am not sure if this site will display phonetic alphabet properly, but as my trusted Longman Pronunciation Dictionary tells me, the English (not Greek) pronunciation is /ˌɑ:fiˈju:kəs/ in American English or /ɒˈfju:kəs/ in British English. Sorry, I’m just nerdy that way. You can just go to and listen to the word pronunciation.

    • Not nerdy at all, Tatiana–I wasn’t getting it from the earlier try, so it was great to be able to hear it aloud. In American English that would be rendered: offa-you-cuss. (“Offa you, cussed astronomers!”) Donna


  19. Donna,
    I have a question. Is there anything particularly special about cosmic alignments over the past 24 hours that is enlivening this particular discussion? Maybe it’s just me, but I have found it to be soooo much fun in a lighthearted, laughing at ourselves kind of way.

    • Maybe it’s the Sun-Mars conjunction in Aquarius or the Venus/Moon -Uranus square from Sag to Pisces? My hope is that this is what Jupiter in Aries is going to be like–more lively! Donna

  20. Those books sound great, funny. We need funny reading.

  21. I love it. Too funny.

  22. For Scorpios and the Pluto challenged: “A Beginner’s Guide to Creative Paranoia”.

    • I absolutely love it!! (Pluto score 65)

      • Thanks! I got a birthday card from a perceptive friend that would also make a great ‘Scorpio/Pluto’ book title. It read, “It’s when you can’t hear the bats, that’s when the bats are coming”. (Inside: “Other than that, I have no birthday advice”.) Cracked me up.

    • Hmm. Sally, it sounds like a perfect 2-book boxed set with my book, Healing Pluto Problems–taking it to the next level–moving beyond turning inward to lick your wounds to now taking a proactive stance. Fills an important niche. Donna

      ps. Is creative paranoia when you think everybody is stealing your ideas, so you hide your manuscript in a drawer at home and never submit it for publication?

      I suffered from that myself, until I took a few flower remedies and had sole retrievals on both feet.

      • I obsessed about that for a while (thank you SO much) and decided I could use the pen name ‘Ophiuchus’. Kills two birds with one stone: it sounds impressively occult and avant garde; and nobody would know it was me.

  23. OMG Donna, those are GREAT!!! 🙂

    “Does anyone at all know how to pronounce Ophiuchus?”

    I have heard it said: Oh-FEW-cuss. Does that help?

    Love the laugh today!

    • Hmm. So it’s either “oh, few cuss!”
      or “Off a you, cuss!” Either way, the whole flap about this constellation is leaving a lot of serious astrologers cussing. I know I am. Tired of it! Donna

  24. Great titles, Donna.

    I guess I have to add, for Sag Suns with Gemini Moon and Gemini Ascendants like me:

    “How to get 864 really important things done by noon, so you can go running.”

    • Oh, God, you truly are an inspirational writer, Ellen! Write that book, and you’ll be on The View and whatever replaces Oprah. And when it hits the best-seller list, you’ll be able to hire assistants to do all 864 of those things and even do your running for you. Donna

  25. “Joke Translator for Sags: Being a Literal Type in a Subtle World”

    • I have Sag Rising and would buy this book. I actually do need help translating subtleties. 🙂

      • I have a sun-jupiter conjunction, and it wasn’t until I got to the Gemini book of this list that I realised that this was not an actual best-seller list from an actual metaphysical bookstore! *blush* or *lol* or both- I’m not sure (which is rarely the case for me with this conjunction- another side effect of it, I guess!)
        So, I shouldn’t be too quick to exclude myself from the subtlety-deficient group either!! 😉

  26. Bestseller -> “Pisces Planner: How to tune in, tune out and still pay the bills!” by Karen

    This would be stocking stuffer in my family.

    • perfect book for my pisces friends who think the lottery is the answer to their money problems 🙂

  27. How about “I’m Sane, the Rest of the World is Crazy” A Virgo’s guide for dealing with dreamers, idealists, and other creative types.

  28. hmmm, mine would be for pisces: How To find your astro-GPS

  29. Giggle – it is funny and fun

    I probably will write ::

    ”Enough with Polishing and Present it NOW- the train is about to leave the station”
    – A guide ONLY for Virgo Rising

  30. “911 Humor Line…how can we help you”?
    Whew!…and thanks, Donna. You sure know when to lighten up the audience–very timely.
    We had our own Mean Bernadine–my husband’s Grandma Bea (of course, we got to call her “Queen Bea” amongst ourselves). A Cancer, she outlived all her siblings, her husband, her two children, even grandchildren and one great-grandchild! It got to the point where my husband and his brother were the only ones left–and his brother promptly moved to Hawaii. (We used to say that all our relatives were in paradise…( dead or in Hawaii).
    As you surely know, dealing with “toxic geezers” who are still playing with all their manipulative marbles is quite a trip! They get the benefit of the doubt, the elder-wisdom myth, from most others they come in contact with–and these well-meaning folks, even health care pros, will fall for their power plays and outright lies…though, of course these pros are required by law to report “elder abuse”– even the hokum when they know it’s hokum!
    Keeping on the lighter side (?)…We’d beg her to spend the holidays with us. “Oh, nobody wants to see this wrinkled 93 year old face at the table…so, what time are you eating”?
    Sho’nuff… this ancient Southern belle would call 911 about 20 minutes before our scheduled dinner time! …with her home secured, big purse at hand, lying on her front porch –and faking a heart attack with a note in her hand…”please call my grandson at…”.
    This happened three times! Of course we responded every time to the paramedics call–my husband racing out the door for that 30 minute drive to the hospital where, of course, “she’s stable now and can return home right away”…
    Well, the third time I HAD the old bat…told her we were having Thanksgiving dinner at 1 p.m. and, please, couldn’t she come?…or we could come there? “No, no…”.
    Sho’nuff, again. Paramedics called at 12:45…”We’re transporting your grandmother to the hospital…”. Husband off like a shot as he must be.
    Same scenario…she insisted that he call me so she could apologize: “Oh, darlin’, I’m so sorry I ruined your Thanksgiving…your turkey must be gettin’ all dried out…”.
    That’s when I got to say, “Well no, Grandma, the turkey will be fine. Since you wouldn’t come, we changed our plans…we’re not eating ’till 8 p.m…”
    …and you know that butter wouldn’t melt in MY mouth…

    • Hmm. Bea and Bernadine must be in telepathic contact. There must be some families that don’t have anyone like that at all. What do they talk about at those holiday dinners, I wonder. Donna

      • As Tolstoy wrote: “all happy families are the same, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own unique way”…(Plutonian, natch?…)
        When the unhappies finally sit down to eat, they talk about what the ER doctors always said: “Her vital signs are amazingly good for a woman of her age…” and then they make feeble jokes about whether or not they tested her vindictive//belle index…

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