For a long time I'd tell my friends how my love life was transformed by Jean Baudrillard. BB (before I read Baudrillard): pain and mass confusion. AB (after my reading – or misreading): truth revealed, order restored.
My friends would be surprised: French cultural theorists are not well-known as self-help love gurus. And of course I was, in part, being flip – and trying to find a way to interest them in what I'd been reading, which otherwise, to an outsider, might have sounded dull. But it is absolutely true that until I read Baudrillard I didn't understand anything really about men and women – or what is actually happening in this world we live in. And what I read was not at all abstract: it had a deep practical impact on my life.