The self-help book
“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” – George Carlin
Life, like the sky, keeps changing. Today it is clear, sky blue, sunny; tomorrow it is grey, cold, hopeless. Yet, life goes on. And as this continuum unfolds, the constants are always there: we are born, we go to school, we date, we find work, we marry, we rise through the ranks at the work place, we raise children, we file taxes, we change jobs, we retire, we die…
But most important, we learn continuously. From cave paintings to oral literature to paper to the printing press to computers to the internet, man has always hungered to communicate. This by way of expressing his thoughts and emotions, telling stories, passing down knowledge and keeping stock of his possessions. Which need spawned the different mediums listed above.
And what is the place of the self-help book in man’s life? To inspire, to motivate, to challenge, to showcase and to induce a paradigm shift in his thinking and doing. In this regard, self-help books are the distilled knowledge, experiences, and wisdom of others who have trodden life’s many paths and which paths we now find ourselves. And so, these books guide us through these paths such that our journeys are less weary, more manageable and more fulfilling.
Moreover, self-help books are not tied down to a particular subject. Whether navigating married life, seeking the meaning of life, striving to live a fulfilled life or making a career switch, the self-help book has got you covered. Think of them as a personal therapist or trainer, minus the outrageous fees they charge.
That said, self-help books are only useful if you put into practice their lessons. For instance, if reading a self-help book on weight loss, it may require you to cut down on your carbs intake. However, should you ignore this, then the book won’t be of much help to you. Famous titles of this genre include How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.