If this trendy, cynical self-helper were important, it would be disquieting because its essential instruction is that smart people are equivalent to wise guys. It's entertaining, after a fashion, as Spooner introduces the Maven, the Lamplighter, the Summa, and others of his Smart People who discourse indistinguishably on celebrity, sex, law, medicine, money, and the good life. But they and he reflect a noxious comprehensive philosophy rivaling the weltanshauung of a Hugh Heffner. ""Never judge personal lives when you judge one of your Mavens,"" Spooner advises, ""think only of their expertise and what they can provide for you."" Another lesson he thoughtfully passes on: ""There is no dirty pool. There is only, Do you make out or not? Are you pushed around or not? Are you screwed or not?"" There's some empty-calorie fun, admittedly, but even the peppiest anecdote ends perniciously. The values are those of spoiled children and fan mag Beautiful People, but for all the Remy Martin V.S.O.P., Dunhill lighters, serenading darkies, capsule Mid-east analyses, premier restaurant tables, and (save the mark!) Neil Diamond concert tickets, the basic pitch is how to use people, how to recruit and manipulate.