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Are self help books making us fools ?

  1. free4india profile image57
    free4indiaposted 7 years ago

    I was reading a book about emotional intelligence.  The book asked me how I would behave in different conditions and how to behave in a non depressive way.

    If I am standing in a big line to buy ticket and someone gets in  front of me how I should react.  Instead of being angry, I should react in a cooler manner.  I should think oh how much difference can one man really make if he gets into the line.

    Well ? I really am not sure this thing is going to work in the real world.  I pacify myself and lets one man go... then two more go. By the time I reach the ticket counter, the counter is closed as it is time!

    Are self-help books really practical or just telling oneself all is well when one is falling down from the top!

    1. EmpressFelicity profile image77
      EmpressFelicityposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I haven't read many self-help books but wasn't impressed with the ones I *have* read.

      Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus was a case in point.  It might do a reasonably accurate job of portraying a "typical" male/female relationship, but as far as me and my relationships are concerned, it's about as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike.

      I've done a freebie "emotional intelligence" test online and came out with a very low score LOL. Perhaps it means I'm socially inept, but perhaps it also means that concepts like EQ are very limited because so many social/emotional situations depend on context.

    2. WriteAngled profile image91
      WriteAngledposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      As far as I'm concerned, emotional intelligence can take a running jump in a such a situation. When people push in ahead of me, I let them know about it loudly so that everyone else hears and they get very embarrassed. If they don't like that, they should have had the emotional intelligence to go to the back of the queue and take their proper turn.

  2. Aya Katz profile image88
    Aya Katzposted 7 years ago

    A lot of these books try to help people accept that they don't count and that their actions will not change the outcome in any given situation, so not to sweat it. But what we do does count, and it's important, not just to ourselves but to all the people standing right behind us, not to allow someone to cut in line. So what they are preaching is wrong, in every situation except being upset about the weather or some other natural force outside our control.

    1. EmpressFelicity profile image77
      EmpressFelicityposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, absolutely.

      Some companies have workplace counselling which has always struck me as strange.  If the counsellor is employed by the company, then they must surely encounter the odd conflict of interest between the interests of the company they work for and those of the person they're counselling.  Unless of course their brief is (like you say) to help people accept that they don't count.

    2. Haunty profile image80
      Hauntyposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Generalizations and fallacious metaphors are all over the place. Trouble is if ppl get impressed by something they won't check if it's valid or not.

  3. thisisoli profile image54
    thisisoliposted 7 years ago

    I am always wary of self help books.

    They tend to be opinionated, and often ill informed.

    I was recently asked to ghostwrite a self help book on bullying, they wanted to focus on the importance of ignoring and walking away.  I declined this on the basis that I had problems with being bullied, up until I stopped ignoring the problem, walking away, and instead trned around and confronted them.

    Bullies are not always cowards, but they always look for easy targets. I couldn't bring myself to write a book which could increase the suffering of any young kid who actually wanted to try and solve their problems with bullying.

    1. profile image0
      JeanMeriamposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I can't blame you. I would never teach a child to walk away from a bully. It will just go on forever.

  4. profile image0
    Pani Midnyte Odinposted 7 years ago

    The problem with self help books is the same problem that occurs when anyone reads a book of any slight value. People take it out of context and, instead of asking what something simple means, they make their own damn rules.

    For instance, my dad's girlfriend was reading a self help book about weight loss. The book told her that she should have hamburgers instead of cheeseburgers, but it also said "Do what works for YOU." She decided that putting cheese on EVERYTHING was what worked for her and then didn't understand why she had GAINED three pounds. She wouldn't allow us to interpret the book for her either.

  5. Susana S profile image91
    Susana Sposted 7 years ago

    Free4india - There are 10,000's of self help books, so I can't say they're all crap. One I haven't read them all, and two, I've read some good ones and some rubbish ones, just like any other genre of book. If you want to read some books that will really help with depressed mood try "Overcoming Depression" by Paul Gilbert and "Manage Your Mood" by David Veale and Rob Wilson.

    Paul Gilbert is a professor of clinical psychology at the university of Derby. David Veale is a consultant psychiatrist in CBT. Qualifications of the writers doesn't always mean the books are good, but in this case I can recommend them.

  6. profile image0
    JeanMeriamposted 7 years ago

    I have read few really useful books about Depression. "The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression" Kirk D Strosahl PHD and Patricia J Robinson PHD is one.  It teaches you to live your values (which would include not letting people walk all over you), let go of negative thoughts etc.
    Byron Katie's  "The Work" is pretty good too. You don't have to buy the book though. If you do a google search you will find the exercises online for free.

    Self help books are written for money. They are published on the basis of how likely the public is to buy into it. Some are good. Some just have really catchy titles.

  7. skyfire profile image71
    skyfireposted 7 years ago

    We all have some problems in life, be it sex, job, family, kids etc etc. Pick any random problem and write content to either solve the problem or show that you're helping to solve problem. Dang, you've hit nail on head with content for at least one frustrated guy or girl. If you talk about reality, then your content will hardly sell but if you pretend to solve some problem or give some moral support in your content then people will lift you for that. This is how emotional-society works and that is why self-help books sells more. Some times general model of problem solving works for many people and if you can pick this theme then you'll cash it on that.

    Take case of zenhabits leo has 7 kids but now he talks about frugality and all.(No offense but to me this sounds like being hypocrite,anyone have chance to change in life but should draw line where advice needs to be stopped). John chow was not millionaire when he started his blog on making money online. Many spiritual people on internet are not enlightened at all(whatever that enlightenment is at first place) but they do give advice cause they know where to pinch to get money out of pocket. Same applies to self-help, if you write by pretending that you're solving problem even if you're dealing with it in real life.

    99% people who give advice on self-help are not real, only 1% know their stuff well. Rest are just earning money with generalized model of problem solving.

  8. KCC Big Country profile image85
    KCC Big Countryposted 7 years ago

    Self-help books are like anything else in life, you take from it only what resonates within you and discard the rest.  The only things that will ever work for you are the things that ring true for you and seem "right" when you read or hear them. When you read something that makes you think about a situation differently and it feels good or gives you hope or determination, then it was a good thing and you have benefited.  However, if you read something and it angers you or causes you stress to think about, then it's something that goes against some core belief(s) that you have about the subject and to take that advice would not benefit you.

    1. livelonger profile image91
      livelongerposted 7 years agoin reply to this


      A quick scan of any self-help book's reviews on Amazon demonstrate that they benefit some people, even if they're a small minority. The only mistake is expecting any particular book to have all the answers; the best of them only have some of the answers, and those answers are only going to apply to few people.