Let’s Be Honest About Self-help Books

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Photo Credit David Lezcano

Is it just me or are we all tired of self-help books? We read and relate to them but there are no clear cut instructions. There is only some mumbo jumbo bullshit, and at the end of the book, all we really have is some person we idolize and wish we had their life. They all seem so eager to trade places with us, right? I mean, they kicked life’s ass once surely they can do it again. As you can tell I’m not a big fan of self-help books. Yes, I do love how inspiring they can be, but there is no given direction once you’ve read the book and are ready to do the work. The author leaves us stuck, and we’re left in the same place we were before reading the book. Who can we call? Who can we write to? Ummm, hello, why did the author leave us hanging? They do give us the motivation to get started but that’s about it.

I have an idea! Let’s rename these books to “motivational books.”

What is the First Step?

Ultimately, they can help us learn new ways of thinking. The authors can tell us what to believe and what to change, but there is never a straightforward way to get started. What is the first step? A week after we are done reading that book, we are more depressed, ashamed and embarrassed by ourselves. We had already bragged to that stuck up “Kelly ”at work, We all know a “Kelly”. She works for fun because she was born and/or married into money. “Kelly” shows off her new expensive workout clothes but never goes to the gym. “Kelly’s” marriage is in shambles and her kids hate her but no one would ever know because she talks so highly of them. “Kelly” hates her life. She’s just good at hiding it from the world. Then there is “Jim”. “Jim” wears cheap suits, drives an old beater of a car and lives in a one bedroom apartment. “Jim” knows who he is and doesn’t care what other people think of him. “Jim” truly loves his life. Who are we more envious of “Kelly” or “Jim”? I’d say “Jim” because he is happy with himself and his life.

Self-help Books 1-The Fools Reading Them 0

Back to the bragging, we already bragged, and now we have to admit we are done reading the book. The book that is leaving us more confused than before we started reading the damn thing. It’s ok, ladies and gents. I am on the same damn train with you and I am screaming the same damn thing. Dear Author, can you please add a freaking chapter called step one, the real step one. This chapter comes after all the pep talk on how to… blah blah blah. I want a full-blown instruction manual on how to get started. I’ll do the work. Just tell me where to start, please, and thank you…. NEXT