Opinion on Self-Help Books

I often hear people say that self-help books are a waste of time / useless, even at times from people who read tons of them. That may be some people’s experience, but it’s not mine. I used to occasionally browse through self-help books in the store and thought they were just attempts to get money. In reality, like all types of books, some self-help books are helpful and others are not.

As well, a book that is helpful to one person may not be to another person. Or a book that’s not helpful to me now may turn out to be very helpful five years from now. And there is also a spectrum of how helpful.

Four years ago, when my college roommate bought me a book on Zen meditation for Christmas, I smiled and thought, “Silly roomie,” believing that I could not pick up meditation from a book. I was wrong, and that book had the most profound effect on my life that anything has ever had. I suddenly was over a three-year depression. Nowadays, however, I might read the same book and be bored because it’s not what I need to grow anymore.

So here are some other books that I found really helpful.

  1. The Power of Eye Contact by Michael Ellsberg. Reading this book led me to improve my eye contact without much conscious effort, which I haven’t lost in the year since I read it, as well as being a very interesting and informative read.
  2. The Power of Self-Coaching by Joseph Luciani. Fantastic. I have very much adopted the idea of self-coaching in my life, and it’s helped me to stay focused on my goals during a very difficult time for me.
  3. The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander. The most amazing book I’ve ever read, this book is about seeing possibility everywhere, healing our whole lives and our relationships in the process. It’s been a big aid for me in moving toward the goals I’m working on with self-coaching.

One book that I found really interesting and true and thought would help me, but didn’t (yet):

The Now Habit by Neil Fiore. The author – a therapist – has coached/counseled more than 1000 people on overcoming procrastination, which is what this book is about. It helped me in the short-term, but hasn’t helped in the long-term. At least, the positive results have yet to be reaped. Maybe when I do finally overcome procrastination, I will see that this book had been helpful in that process. But in the meantime, all I can say is that it helped me write a really interesting speech for my public speaking class on overcoming procrastination.

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