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Self-Help Books: 7 Reasons Why I Hate Reading them

Updated on October 9, 2015

All books are good and thousands of books are outright brilliant; get a knack for selecting the brilliant ones and ignore the rest.

Now you may say that ‘good’ or ‘brilliant’ is subjective, and hence, my suggestion is invalid. True. Let me rephrase the sentence a bit.

All books are good and thousands of books are there that you may love to read; get a knack for selecting only those you will love reading.

Due to just limited hours in a day at my disposal, finishing too many books is a task for me, so I have carefully pruned most of the works from a genre called self-help.


Here are the reasons:

Deceptively Captivating Titles

So the problem starts right from the title. If you see some of the best sellers, you will find how grandiose their titles are. They appear to be targeting mass-market, in fact almost everybody, but the truth is, majority of the content is a misfit for the majority of the people.

The titles are so attractive that in the online content lingo we can call them click-baits. The words such as ‘Highly’, ‘Most’, ‘Success’, ‘Achievement’ are so repetitive in the titles of such books that these seemed to me nothing more than a marketing strategy aimed at striking the right chords with the potential buyers.

Breakthrough Discoveries (only of some new jargon)

Many self-help books are born to discredit the principals taught by other self-help books. Telling the readers that everything they have ever read is a lie, and whatever they are about to be told are the universal truth is a bad way to stand out of the busy crowd.

You read many books, learn many principles but only to get them blown into pieces due to a new bestseller titled ‘The Only Truth Ever Written’.

The genre is in fight with itself, and readers end up on the losing side.

Same age-old knowledge is being churned to limits by revitalizing it time and again in the form of new jargon.


Presumes that Readers are Fools

Some of these books are blatantly insulting. I repeat, some books are blatantly insulting.

By reiterating my point in the above line, I make sure that you get my point across because you are too casual a reader to miss my profound nugget of knowledge when I mention it only once.

This is what self-help books do quite often. Repeating the same line again and again and underlining the concepts and principles are some common tactics that are employed in order to sensationalize the so-called wisdom.

Powerful but Forced Ideas

There is no room for consideration because it is not possible. On an online forum or blog, you may challenge an author or questions his view-point, but reading a book is a one-way traffic. To make the matters worse, there is such a stress on author’s own set of beliefs that you may find yourself passively absorbing everything because you are forced to.

Quitting a book in between is too big a task, isn’t it?


What one blog-post can do, a self-help book takes 200+ pages to explain. I will waste no more words to explain the same.


You just finished a book that can be deemed as the one that changed your life forever. You begin working on the principles, you succeed for a few days, and then you forget the book and go on purchasing the next one. Cycle repeats.

I don’t know whether it is the mistakes of us that we are too rigid to get change or the fault of the author who couldn’t able to make a long-term change in the lives.

In most cases, the inspirations just wear out.

Shoddily Written

Nobody expects self-help books to be Pulitzer material but ‘writing’ should be delivered the way it is supposed to be. No unconventional methods are welcoming.

You. Yes, You, Only You can change your FUTURE. NOBODY ELSE is. You. Only You.

I might have exaggerated here a bit but the language of such books is sometimes uninspiring and feels like that of an energy booster session given to a sales-force.

These are few of the many reasons I avoid reading self-help books until I am absolutely convinced. If you are looking forward to getting some inspirations, read the autobiography or biography of a person who inspires or entices you.

The good part of biographies and auto-biographies are, the best ones don’t teach you a way of life, they just tell you a way of life, and you are the one who decides what is best for you. No forced ideas or principles, just knowledge about a personality you adore.

Well-written biographies are like a buffet, you pick what you exactly want while leaving the rest.

So,  I should probably run away from this genre. Wait...
So, I should probably run away from this genre. Wait... | Source

Not all Self-Help Books are Bad

Now you may complain that I am taking a 360 degrees turn from whatever I said in this article, but not all books are born equal. I have no qualms about saying that some of the works in this genre are masterstrokes.

Somewhere in this post I said I liked three self-help books; these are ‘The Magic of Believing’ by Claude Bristol, ‘The Art of Work’ (you will find some beautifully written wisdom nuggets) by Jeff Goins, and the classic (makes you a bit of people-pleaser but still worth a read) ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie.

Have any of the self-help books changed your life for good? Share with me.

The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do
The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do

If you truly want to read a captivating and insightful self-help book, Read this.


Final Words

Some of the books are so influential (positively or negatively) that you may end up taking a big decision or leap haphazardly owing to the prescribed 'time-tested' advice. Read Self-Help books with an open mind without any obligation to following each and every principle. What may have ticked for the author, may never do any good to you.

Time is limited, so pick your books wisely. Rather than choosing a book based on its Goodreads ratings, read excerpts, and about its author's background and her past works. If you gel well enough with the presented idea, chances are you would find the book great.

Happy Reading!

I want a little input from your side

How well do you agree with the presented ideas in this article?

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    • setlodibooks profile image

      JM Setlodi 13 months ago from Johannesburg, South Africa

      this sounds like a self-help article to me!!