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Do Self-Help Books Actually Benefit #Careerlions?

Do Self-Help Books Actually Benefit #Careerlions?

Reading a magazine called Quest, I stumbled upon an article on whether self-help books actually help. Intrigued of course, I was a bit shocked to find out about the situations when self-help books don’t work. Moreover, they can even be more harmful than anything else. In this article, I will share with you my findings on what self-help books work for and don’t. In addition, I’ll talk about the criteria a self-help book should meet in order to truly be beneficial according to research.

What self-help books don’t work

Those self-help books written by “amateurs” don’t work. Apparently, most of the self-help books out there are not based on any scientific research. This means that the tips and tricks recommended to you may as well be making your situation worse. Researchers from Drexel University found that 18% of the self-help books out there are actually harmful.

Good self-help books, also referred to as bibliotherapy, can be more effective than no treatment for minor issues. However, psychotherapy has always proven to have better results.

Honestly, self-help books about changing your life drastically usually don’t work. When a book makes promises that it cannot keep, maybe that is a sign. Although, it doesn’t always have to that case of course. However, I have now read a couple of books on how to become a morning person. Well, I am still miles and miles away from ever being a morning person. Another example are books I read on a “tidy life” and “life changing magic of tidying up”. Yes, I have found better ways to tidy. But am I now a tidy person? NO, mess seems to go wherever I go. I leave a trail basically; the trail just happens to become a little less whenever I am committed to change my ways yet again.

What self-help books can work for

Personally, I find that self-help books can help you to gradually become the person you want to become. My feeling is that when you read these books with the right state of mind, that they can be very beneficial. I think they influence your way of thinking in a way that you might not even notice yourself. Just like you are influenced by the people you see the most and commercials. You will associate yourself with certain beliefs and ways that may eventually lead you to be a different and hopefully improved version of yourself. Don’t expect the world and hope for the best!

Other books found to have a positive effect are the ones where you can identify with the main character in the book and they manage to accomplish what you are strive for too. This works you will most likely adapt your own behavior to be more like the main character, which may enable you to make your goals a reality.

What criteria should a self-help book meet to be beneficial?

To help you find out what criteria a self-help book should meet to ensure that it is beneficial, I did some research. Here are the top criteria should consider:

  • The self-help book should be based on scientific research. On the backside of the book there is always some information visible on the author, so make sure that the writer is a professional with the appropriate background rather than a self-acclaimed expert.
  • You can also check the end of self-help books for references to articles or books. This will also imply that they are based on actual research.
  • Avoid books that promise “one fits all” solutions, as these cannot be.
  • The self-help book should not address a serious self-help issue. These require professional help. Serious issues include among others depressions and body image disorders.
  • Avoid books that make promises that cannot be kept realistically.

If I want to know whether a self-help book is reliable, I usually check out the testimony’s. I also check out most books on Goodreads to find out whether the book is received well. Reviewers there are usually very honest and give insight on whether the book is a match for you.

A few of the self-help books that I have found beneficial are:

  • Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, who is a leading researcher in personality, social psychology and developmental psychology. The book is properly based on research and the writer is more than reliable.
  • Working with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, who has a Ph.D. that has taught at Harvard. It is packed with research that is retraceable in via the notes, just like his other books.
  • The Organized Mind by Daniel Levitin who also has a Ph.D. in psychology and Professor of psychology, neuroscience and music. The number of notes included in this book is astonishing and reassuring enough. A book that keeps its promise.

What is your take on self-help books? Which ones have you found more disturbing than helpful? Which ones can you recommend? Do you have criteria of your own? We are curious to know your thoughts in the comment section below!


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