Saturday, August 1, 2009

Are Self-Help Books Helpful or Not?

Do self-help books really help?Some self-help books are helpful, and some are not. The purpose of self-help books is to give advice that is intended to be beneficial or profitable.  However, not all self-help books give sound advice.

I have read self-help books where the author makes claims with a reference from the Bible that does not support the claim. Those types of self-help books are responsible for promoting false hope.

I have used advice from self-help books that have helped me solve problems as well as make progress in different areas of my life.

There are three types of self-help books:
Growth-Oriented, which gives advice on improving 
relationships, career, health, money, etc. Problem-Oriented, which gives advice on dealing with a particular problem, such as stress or depression. And… Life Transitions, which gives advice on coping with death, pregnancy, divorce, etc.

An effective self-help book helps you recognize that change is possible. It helps you think about things differently, do things differently, improve your actions, and change your life.

An effective self-help book encourages a person to change their circumstances or behavior and tells them how.

For the most part, effective self-help books help those who are motivated to help themselves. However, even the most effective self-help book cannot help those who lack understanding or motivation, or those who need professional help.

NOTE: "If the problem is a serious one, such as clinical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder or schizophrenia, you are better off seeking professional treatment than reading a self-help book." ―Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfeld (SciAm-Self Help.pdf)


  1. Great analysis! I am also a reader of self-help books, and I have noticed some of the same pitfalls you have noticed. Some are good, and some are not good. Of all the self-help books out there, the Bible is the BEST.

  2. Hi Anita,

    I would like to invite you to join in on an active and hot discussion going on my blog now. It has to do with contraception. You know, some Christians are opposed to contraception and see it as a sin. We are looking at the Biblical teachings on this subject. Come and voice your opinion!

  3. Great interview..and I do believe - if you're not motivated no self-help books can help!
    Have a great week!

  4. I love how you gave the answers.

  5. No man is an Island, we all need motivationals, Inspirationals and self help books to take us to our much dreamed about heights in life.
    How are you Anita?

  6. Daughter of Wisdom, thanks for the feedback.
    I am coming by shortly to join the discussion
    on contraception.

    Jenjen, thanks for the feedback, and for the
    warm wishes. Hope you have a great week too!

    Panharath, thanks for the feedback. I'm Happy
    to know that.

    Sassy Trends, yes we do need motivationals,
    Inspirational and self-help books. I've made
    much progress in self-improvement due to
    applying helpful advice from such books.
    Thanks for the feedback. :~) I am fine. I
    hope all is well with you.

  7. Anita, Thanks for stopping my way today. Enjoyed reading this post. I've read many self help books, some do seem to help while others do not.There are a lot of variables I guess.

    By the way, you have a beautiful family.~Blessings~

  8. Hi Anita,
    This was a very interesting read. Thank you for sharing your opinions. I agree, there are times, situations in our lives when the appropriate advice could really help get us through, better understand, or help us look at something differently. We are never as alone as we feel. Someone else has always gone through what we are experiencing. This is something we understand better as we live. We tend to struggle silently alone when we are younger. Let us remember to share this knowledge with those younger than ourselves and help ease others suffering. Thank you Anita for shining light on this subject.

  9. Hi Debra, I am glad you enjoyed this post.
    Thanks for the feedback. Blessings to you

    Hi Amy, I am happy to know that you found
    this post insightful. Thanks for the

  10. I like self help books but they are only good if you actually take the advice and do the work. The best selling and absolutely most worthy self help book is the Bible.

  11. Hello, just came across your blog. New follower now. This was really interesting and I think your blog as a whole is just really interesting. I've read a ton of self help books myself and can say that for the most part, few of them give sound advice. Hey come check out my blog if you'd like.

  12. This was interesting, I like self help books. I think the help.

    follow me, i am now following you.

  13. Hi coachrlm, thanks for sharing your thoughts
    on self-help books. I like self-help books
    also. Because of self-help books and blogs
    I am now doing things I've always wanted
    to do. For instance, sharing my views with
    others throughout the world. :~),

    Hi Lee Beth, Thanks for the feedback.
    I am happy you found my blog interesting.
    Thanks for following. I am following you
    as well. :~)

    Hi jblovly, I am happy to know that you
    found my blog interesting. thanks for the
    feedback, and thanks for following.
    I am following you as well. :~)

  14. Hi! What a great blog! Indeed, inspiring and motivational.

    I too, just wrote a post about self-help books, as I am a fan, and the comments I received were very interesting: It seems not to be everyone's cup of tea.

    Good luck with your blog, and thanks for following mine.

    I am following you.:)

  15. Thanks Sharon McPherson!
    I'm glad you find my blog
    inspiring and motivational.
    And thanks for following
    my blog. :~)

    I will be by soon to read
    your post on self-help books.

  16. I have read a few self-help books, and I think if you find the right one then they can help.
    I found a helpful book that inspired me called YOU UNSTUCK, by Libby Gill.
    It's designed to give you the hope and tools to get you past your sticking points. It's dedicated to help people overcome assumptions and undermining behaviors so they can make real and lasting change, something if you're like me need help with.

  17. Thanks for the feedback Chrissy.
    YOU UNSTUCK sounds like an interesting
    book. I will check it out this week.


Feel free to leave comments. I appreciate your feedback.