Some books start us on a real road to change; I am not unaware of this. "The Celestine Prophecy" and "Conversations with God" are two such books- but in all actuality, they were not self-help books so much as books that delivered new information. What I am talking about are books that are entitled "Thirty Days to a Smaller Waist" and "Thirty Days to a Better Job". Have you ever really followed through with such a book?

Opening a small can of worms, Jai (LOL!)

asked 06 Jan '10, 16:39

Jaianniah's gravatar image


I'm going to start with a simple, - almost - universal truth.

People do not buy these books because of the information in them. People buy the books because of the feeling it gives them. If I were a 600 lbs man, and bought "Thirty Days To A Smaller Waist" it makes me feel better because I'm "doing something about it". On a deep level, they really have no intention of doing something with it.

Not just that - but the book is always there should they decide they want to do something about their life. Many people will buy things because they just "love to know" - they are information junkies (myself being one of those, though I do limit myself nowadays). People buy feelings - they buy hope - not a book. No one buys a book.

Since few actually intend on a deep level to use it, then very few actually do.

That said, there are many systems I have followed with all the way through to test things...and a load more I have not. For example, I have followed through with "The Master Key System" over all its lessons, one a week - and experienced a transformation in my life at the time.

I have also followed through with other information, after putting it together into a 'learning system' of my own. I have used information by say, Dale Carnegie, put it together into a system of my own (information by itself is dead and useless - systems breathe life into information) and then improved my public speaking - something I enjoy a great deal.

So - I do not consider such books a waste of time. In one case, they are used effectively to improve someones skill, outlook and/or life. In the other case - they make a person feel better, even if only for a brief moment. And it's all about feeling good.

Of course - people could just skip the book and feel good anyway in the later case!


answered 09 Jan '10, 00:35

Liam's gravatar image


Sometimes people's searching for information is also a way of passing time/ getting out energy/ possibly avoiding a problem. But even going on that path I think is better than disregarding self-help information completely, even though it is a form of bait sometimes.

(28 Oct '12, 16:54) Kanda

I'd have to say the majority of books out there are (I have to cringe saying this since I sound like Urko in the Planet of the Apes) "useless information." If you are interested Dr. Zaus replied yelling at Urko "There is no such thing as useless information!!!" Back to what I was saying, I have noticed over the years of all my book buying, which I used to buy lots that most the information is really of little use to my growth.

Examples: I used to buy books on UFOs, Magick, books on the symbols of Massonry and what they mean, books on symbols of Magick and what they mean. Books on Ancient Egypt technology, What did the ancient Maya know, Pyramid energy etc...

I really felt I was learning and wow this is cool and that is cool but when it came time to say what good did it do me to know, I couldn't answer there was no applicable knowledge in any of it. Sure I could call on the angels for the lesser banishing ritual or the greater banishing ritual but what did that ever do for me, nothing really.

It wasn't until I started exploring the mind and what the mind could do that I got back on my path, that was books like The Lost Teaching of Jesus started me on, where I would read something and apply it to myself, because I would come up with my own meditations based on what I had learned. My Neo-Tech books where my most valuable lessons actually those explore the potential of human consciousness beyond most any other books to the point of reaching God consciousness. So for me it is what is the context of the book that is the real question of value, for example I just bought both the complete Florance Scovel Shinn collection and the complete James Allen collection, those are very enlightening books. Another I highly recommend Robert Collier The Secret Of The Ages or Ernest Holmes The Science Of The Mind Most the old books are very good, that is why sites like PSITEK are so good, they preserve the useful information.


answered 06 Jan '10, 19:46

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 08 Jan '10, 21:05

If you know anything about internet marketing, you understand that Self Help is a niche comprised of keywords containing self-help, self help or help self, self empowerment, etc.

Years after reading many great spiritual books I now put those into the self help niche, even though the self help niche may not have existed at the time they were published. My MO is pointing people in the right direction to greater understanding of self and many books serve that purpose.

Whether or not people 'get' the knowledge and wisdom contained within a particular book depends on the individual. As does taking action or changing one's habits as may be suggested in a particular book.

I have read, listened and learned a great deal from many great authors of many exceptional books and still read nearly every day.

So my answer is No to the first question and Yes to the second question 8-)


answered 08 Jan '10, 10:29

Eddie's gravatar image


Self-help books of this type can be a waste of time; not because the books are bad, but because people don't always have the discipline to do what the books say to do.

There is a conversation going on among computer programmers about these kinds of books: Teach yourself [insert complex subject here] in n days. I don't think any programmer really believes that reading these books will make them an expert. What these books do accomplish is they give you a primer on the subject. Sometimes that's all you need. I especially like some of the "For Dummies" books, as they teach in layman's terms things that would otherwise be opaque to the average reader.

There is (I hope) an increasing awareness in the general public about weight loss; that some of its aspects are counterintuitive (you must essentially eat all the time, in small portions, so that your body doesn't think it's starving), and that any book that claims substantial weight loss in 30 days is really talking about reducing water retention. There are no gimmicks to weight loss; you eat less (overall), and you exercise more. That's it. The rest is fine-tuning.

As to finding a job, the book title that you refer to actually exists (sort of). Interestingly, the book advocates an approach of slowing down, rather than speeding up your job search, and likens the typical job searcher's approach to that of a person lost in the woods; they have a short but intense burst of activity, and they burn themselves out. I read What Color is Your Parachute, but I found that the most valuable part of the book was the small section that explained that sending out resumes and going to job interviews was only a small (albeit important) part of finding a job.

I do have self-help books, but I have a lot of them, and I use the parts of those books that make sense to me and are helpful to me. One reason there are so many self-help books on the same subject is that each book says it somewhat differently, so you might find a book interesting or relatable that I do not; and each time I read the same idea from a different author, I get a renewed perspective.

By the way, the last self-help book that I didn't follow was Body for Life. Not because it wasn't a good book, but because it was a lot of work.


answered 06 Jan '10, 17:24

Vesuvius's gravatar image


edited 06 Jan '10, 17:55

IMHO most computer books are a waste of time/money because the information is already out of date by the time it goes to press. Much better to get up to the minute info from computer forums...

(08 Jan '10, 10:10) Eddie

I once read "Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution" back in the 90's and followed its advice for several months. Even so, I have a pile of such books I never did follow! Why? I can't explain.

As an aside, I lost weight on the diet, but all of that meat was disgusting and I felt sick all the time. Skinny was great, but loaded with dead animals was not so great. Maybe lessons learned from that one, are why I never followed through with the others? I don't know!


answered 06 Jan '10, 18:42

LeeAnn%201's gravatar image

LeeAnn 1

book can be a good help to learn stuff but the best book is the book of life!


answered 22 Apr '11, 23:13

white%20tiger's gravatar image

white tiger

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