Many people don’t believe self help books work. The media is consistently sceptical about self-help, newspapers and interviewers always approach it as though it is some kind of quackery – snake oil sales.
“The only way to get rich from a self-help book is to write one”
Are people right to be suspicious or sceptical about self help?
In my opinion, yes and no. Lots of us do believe it works because it works for us. The sales of self help books is one of the fastest growing categories around the world.
YES: There are some problems with self-help. The subliminal promise of many Self Help books is that with only a little effort you can handle whatever it is troubling you at the moment. I don’t buy the “little effort” promise, even though I do buy lots of self help books. I advocate that you create a proper plan to fix whatever you want to fix in your life. And it’s important to notice that the tougher the problems the more effort is required to overcome them (usually!).
NO: There is now a mountain of books available to assist anyone who can afford to stump up the cover costs. They provide help in making individual bits of a life better – diet books (I’m over-weight), stress management books (I’m worried), positive thinking books (I’m down), get rich quick books (I’m poor), even “how to have a good death” books (Presumably – “I want a good death”).
It’s ludicrous to argue that these books must all be worthless. Even if you concede that not all the advice they must surely include some gems.
You have to be realistic. You probably won’t become instantly slim, positive, calm or rich as a result of reading a book. And checking whether the reader of a “good death” book had a good death as a result raises some challenges.
But in my view, reading about potential solutions must increase your chances of winning – whatever the issue – as long as you take action on the advice. The action bit is vital – You can’t achieve a total transformation of any element of your life with no effort and no change. If you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got.
Self help works if you are prepared to do the work to help yourself
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