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comment by AlderaanDuran
AlderaanDuran  ·  1538 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Ask Hubski: Are Self-Help Books Helpful?

I agree with your statements, despite what I said about having read a few "self help" books. I opened my comment with the statement "Does the whole book change your life? No, probably never, unless you're extremely naive." So I agree, many people take them entirely wrong and put far too much faith into them.

I don't believe people need to take the books as 100% fact and execute their teachines verbatim. I've done that ZERO times. Like you said, it's mostly common sense with some interesting anecdotes, but sometimes things are presented in a way that helps self reflect a bit, and ask yourself some hard questions that you would otherwise avoid or bury.

That being said, I only read the ones I mentioned, and it was all over the period of about a year, haven't really read one since. It's not a genre I keep with or feel the need to keep up with. It was a time when I figured why not, and gave it a shot, and some of them were fun and interesting reads, regardless of being actually helpful or applicable in the real world. I think as long as you read them with the right mindset, they are harmless, but like you said, many dilute themselves when reading them and are too eagerly looking for that "silver bullet".




mk  ·  1538 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah. Like I said, I hesitate to state my opinion, because I don't want it to be read as casting judgement on anyone that reads or has read them. It's really a personal philosophy, and if there's one thing I've learned, my personal philosophy is best applied to myself (I guess that might underpin some of my disdain for self-help). I would just strongly suggest that people reflect on their motivations for reading self-help, and what the books have provided. I have very strong opinions on some other things that I keep to myself for similar reasons. :) But, self-help can get me going, there are so many different roads of success, and IMO they suggest limitation.

AlderaanDuran  ·  1538 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    hesitate to state my opinion, because I don't want it to be read as casting judgement on anyone that reads or has read them.

Nah, nothing to worry about. It's not offending to state your opinion in the least! I understand how many feel about them, and it makes sense. I know because I felt the same way for awhile, and I STILL kind of look negatively on people who use them for the wrong purposes and think reading a book will change their life. When in reality, at most, it just might help them question themselves a little more and lead to more positive things. But in the end, they still have to be the one getting motivated and accomplishing their goals, the book will never make that happen. Ever.

    there are so many different roads of success, and IMO they suggest limitation.

I was successful long before I read any self help books, and didn't read them for that reason. I was more curious in the motivational aspects, self assesment, and different philosphies presented in them. The whole idea of "questioning yourself". Some do recommend limitations, especially the faith based ones, and shitty ones like "The Secret". Most just spoke to assessing yourself, and what you want out of life, and some questions to ask yourself about how to get there. The only self help books I got anything out of, really, were the ones on Buddhism, and it's arguable if those are self help books, or books on philosophy, or beliefs in general. So I don't know if I really should count them as self help books, though I listed them because they were helpful. But like I said, I learned plenty about life and myself just from reading classic literature like Vonnegut and Fitzgerald for what it's worth.

A similar argument could be had with people who seek therapy, or take medication, and one could argue that they should just figure it out for themselves like we always have in the past centuries of humanity before those things were even labeled as condtions or disorders. But some people need that help, they need that third party pointing out their flaws and problems, they need that little reminder that what they are doing isn't healthy, and they may look to that help in books, therapy, or medications as a last resort.

mk  ·  1538 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    A similar argument could be had with people who seek therapy, or take medication, and one could argue that they should just figure it out for themselves like we always have in the past centuries of humanity before those things were even labeled as condtions or disorders.

I agree, but ideally, these should be done in a way specific for the patient's needs. Still, I do think that therapeutic interventions can sometimes turn counterproductive.