Nothing confirms the folly of today’s youth like their willingness to come to me for advice. I think I understand what is going on here. Because most columnists are, for want of a better euphemism, “distinguished”, I am mistaken for a youngster who can relate to Generation Z. I forever dread being roped into some kind of Financial Times mentor scheme, where an intern and I clock-watch our way through meetings like a divorced father and his son on a weekend custody trip to Pizza Hut.

On the other hand, if I don’t give them advice, they will just get it from a less scrupulous dealer, and the dodgy stuff can do irreversible harm. No generation has had to digest more advice than the one below mine. Self-help used to be a discrete field, comprising such fixtures of the western canon as Awaken the Giant Within and Wherever You Go, There You Are. It is now so ubiquitous as to constitute a kind of ambient noise. It is the unofficial language of Instagram. Here, then, is my rebuttal to...

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