Are self help books good?

How can you benefit from yourself? Eclectic self-help books use ideas from different schools of thought in psychology; theory-guided books translate ideas from a particular research tradition so that they are suitable for a large audience. There is no reason to think that people who buy these types of self-help books are often chronically unhappy or mentally ill.

Are self help books good?

How can you benefit from yourself? Eclectic self-help books use ideas from different schools of thought in psychology; theory-guided books translate ideas from a particular research tradition so that they are suitable for a large audience. There is no reason to think that people who buy these types of self-help books are often chronically unhappy or mentally ill. A self-help book requires a very active role on the part of the reader, but this may not be so different from the situation in psychotherapy. The same study showed that self-help books are effective in treating anxiety and depression, but less so in other areas, such as alcoholism and schizophrenia.

Self-help books are unlikely to be effective if the topics they address have little relevance to the happiness of most people. Silicon Valley expert BJ Fogg, research psychologist and founder of Stanford's iconic Behaviour Design Lab, has written this book to teach you how to use a science-based approach to make simple but life-changing changes. Cuijpers' (199) conclusion on the effectiveness of self-help books is based on a limited number of studies and participants were not selected from a clinical population, but were recruited through media advertisements. We don't suspect that the readers of this magazine differ much from people who buy self-help books in general.

Starker (198) thinks that the enormous variety of self-help books and the disordered way in which they are selected represent the genre's “biggest individual problem”. Self-help books that aim to help people independently improve some or all aspects of their lives have a long history. This individualistic background is also recognized in most self-help books that sell well in the Netherlands. Part of the potential effectiveness of self-help books is the way they convey the message that anyone can change, anyone can improve.

One of the shortcomings of self-help books, Bergsma says, is that they often take a one-size-fits-all approach to self-improvement. When a particular self-help book loses its value in this regard, when it is “used” as a source of inspiration and motivation, it is generally discarded and replaced.

Raven Cardani
Raven Cardani

Lifelong beer advocate. Devoted internet trailblazer. Passionate music maven. General food trailblazer. Subtly charming pizza junkie. Freelance internet buff.

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