Do Self-Help Books Help?

I really, really want to believe that sitting on my bum, reading a book called ‘Cut the Crap – Lose Weight Without Dieting’ will get me body like a Victoria’s Secret model – a body that even Leonardo DiCaprio couldn’t resist. Sadly, the reality is very different, and the only way I’m going to achieve a body that perfect is to ditch the doughnuts and hit the gym, for the rest of my life!  No ‘expert’ is going to convince me that I can lose ten pounds by reading a self-help book. The only pounds I’d be losing is the pounds out my purse.

Self -help books are hugely popular, and with titles such as ‘I Can Make You Rich’, ‘I Can Mend Your Broken Heart’ or ‘I Can Make Thin’, you can see why people are buying into them. They do seem to be a quick fix for people who crave instant results, and they do seem cheaper than going to a therapist, but do they actually work?

If you’re a chain-smoking, divorced, obese, alcoholic with a confidence problem, then there are a plethora of self-help books promising to help you change your life for the better. These books are aimed at anybody who needs a motivational kick up the backside, or anybody who is experiencing personal problems. I’m quite critical of self-help books, written by ‘experts’ who probably bought their qualifications off the same place they are selling their books. Many of these Self-help books make all sorts of promises and claim they can help you lose weight, mend a broken heart, stop smoking, be successful, get rich, find a man, all in approximately 500 pages. They are usually directed at people who are feeling a little bit vulnerable and dare I say it, desperate. One book promises to help you ‘Get The Woman You Want’. Now, I’m no relationship expert, but if you are sitting at home relying on a book to help you attract a girlfriend, then it’s not looking too good.

Paul McKenna is a prolific author of these kind of books, but you’d think his other occupation was Saint if you look at all the things he claims to be able to heal. He advertises that he can make you smarter, happier and he even promises he can make you sleep. I’m guessing that any one of his books can help you do that. Self-help books promise to help anybody overcome any problem, but sometimes our problems are too big to be resolved by a writer who claims they know everything. These ‘motivational’ books can make readers feel even more depressed and rather disillusioned, when the promises made in the book haven’t come true.

For anybody who feels like reaching for a self-help book, I have some of my own words of advice -pull yourself together, stop wasting your time on books that won’t solve your problems, go and waste your time on something more constructive like Angry Birds or Candy Crush. Stop paying attention to so-called ‘experts’ who probably know everything about nothing, go and spend your money on something that will really make you happy -like more doughnuts.

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