Self Help Books are Useless and Here is Why

Self Help Books are Useless and Here is Why
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At one point in time, my preferred literary haunt was filled with an assortment of thrilling mysteries and suspenseful tales crafted by various authors. However, in recent times, I've come across multiple bookstores where the spotlight shines on books that make diverse promises. Many of these books feature blank covers adorned with conspicuous titles that unmistakably reveal their contents.

These titles delve into effective communication, attraction of people, and adept management. A significant number of them proudly claim to have once held the title of bestseller. It's natural to assume that these books must deliver on their assurances, given their presence on top 10 or bestseller lists. Yet, upon closer inspection within the same store, a thorough browse reveals an additional ten to fifteen books on the same subject, all boasting similar accolades. This phenomenon raises questions. If one book truly holds the solution, why are there hundreds more on the same topic? Why does the same author penning multiple bestsellers address nearly identical subjects? Is the topic constantly evolving? Alternatively, is the author seeking varied perspectives on the same theme to enhance it?

To phrase it differently, does reading a self-help book genuinely lead to self-improvement? Reading alone doesn't yield significant progress—it's not akin to observing a person's physical transformation through consistent gym visits. Can we identify someone who's read numerous self-help books as someone who has tangibly improved, or do they often remain unchanged? Observing an individual engrossed in self-help literature might reveal a significant time investment—hours spent reading and acquiring the latest "magic solution." Yet, curiously, this often fails to translate into noticeable personal development. Why is this the case?

1.Not a Therapy

Self-help books typically offer instructions for navigating various situations. They provide specific guidance, such as steps to take when dealing with the passing of a pet or after experiencing a breakup. These books outline a general process one can undertake to improve oneself and often include practical advice and factual information for personal development.

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You are unique, so are your problems.

However, what these books often omit is that the suggested steps and processes are generally applicable and might not work for everyone. While these predefined solutions may prove effective for many individuals, they might not be suitable for every unique situation. Attempting to integrate these prescribed steps into one's life could lead to frustration, particularly when they don't align with daily routines or personal circumstances. This can result in negative feelings, prompting a determination to try even harder next time. A common thought during this struggle is, "Am I misunderstanding something? Am I approaching this incorrectly?"

two hands
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Frequently, people overlook the fact that these strategies are not one-size-fits-all, and the authors, often self-help gurus, base their advice on their own experiences. This advice may or may not be universally applicable, rendering intense effort futile if the approach doesn't resonate with the individual. This misconception, equating self-help gurus with therapists, is widespread. What truly might be needed is someone who listens and tailors solutions to individual situations and lifestyles, rather than offering generic solutions intended for a mass audience.

2.Same Wine, Different Bottle

Have you ever encountered a self-help figure who achieved success with just one published book? The likelihood of such an occurrence is quite rare, as these individuals usually continue to release multiple books as their popularity grows. Imagine yourself reading a self-help book and then swiftly moving on to the next one. How much of the advice from the first book proved valuable? Did it genuinely provide practical assistance, or was its impact more like a fleeting rush of enthusiasm?

selective focus photography of people sitting on chairs while writing on notebooks
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Why do we see an abundance of videos and books covering the same topics? If one of them is truly effective, why the need for so many? Many self-help books essentially present identical information, albeit reworded to match the author's style. In essence, they convey the same core message. Upon reading five, six, or even ten of these books, you might start to believe you're making significant strides, achieving something noteworthy. However, the truth is that you're likely just consuming a product you've consumed many times before, leading to a deceptive sense of accomplishment.

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Try out the information acquired from books in real world, and sharpen your skills

When you fail to put any of these principles into practice and test their real-world effectiveness for yourself, it's as futile as owning a car and a driver's license but lacking the ability to drive. A book promising exceptional communication skills, for instance, won't benefit you unless you actively implement its recommendations.

3. You are a Product

Originally, self-help emerged as a method to guide individuals toward improving their lives, but it has transformed into a lucrative industry valued at billions. Unfortunately, this growth has led to the propagation of pseudoscientific ideas and unverified theories. These concepts are employed to convince people that they are facing difficulties and can only find solutions by engaging in seminars, purchasing books, and consuming videos. Consequently, the organizers of such events often profit significantly. Despite this, attendees frequently experience a boost in empowerment and self-esteem. Nevertheless, the content presented at these events often originates elsewhere.

Participating in group activities or events fosters a sense of belonging, often amplified by soothing music and interactive games. These occasions, along with the associated books, often encourage participants to explore related quotes or works by the same authors or groups. However, purchasing a single book might not remain a standalone investment; it can lead to a cycle of continuous spending with minimal returns.

So, is delving into self-help literature a squandered effort and financial drain? The answer is both affirmative and negative. There are instances where self-help books provide valuable insights, especially when you're seeking solutions or guidance. Conversely, if you find yourself consuming numerous books without deriving any productive outcomes—akin to endlessly watching non-informative videos—then self-help literature might not be suitable for your circumstances. Ultimately, the decision of what to pursue and what to avoid rests with you.

Basha Yes

Basha Yes

India