How to find an effective self help book
Whenever you wish to judge how helpful a self help book is then look for the following characteristics in books which may be of help and either can be purchased or borrowed through interlibrary loan:
- Clarity of writing. Books that have too much jargon or what is sometimes called “psychobabble” are to be avoided. Nowadays there are also talking versions of books and kindle.
- The book is based on up to date research. It discusses the limits of what is already known. For example, most therapists and virtually all hypnotherapists will mention the unconscious (subconscious) mind. Research on the mind and also hypnosis and its affect on the mind is still ongoing. Any author who states that the mind can be known in a definite way does not know about the tentative nature of ongoing research. There is quite a lot we still need to find out. This refers to the fact that people’s minds are different so what works for one person may not for another. Hence the phrase, “One person’s meat is another person’s poison.”
- Books with detailed information about how to change behaviour such as: Susan Jeffers’s book: “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”. Published by Arrow Books.
Some of her other major books are:
- “Embracing Uncertainty” Hodder Mobius
- “End the Struggle and Dance with Life.” Hodder Mobius
Notice whether the book does encourage self development and self awareness.
There is not a clear dividing line from other books mentioned which also help self-development but they do so less exclusively. The authors are mentioned below such as Bly, Wellings and McCormick, Frankl, Jung, Eckhard Tolle. It may help to read selected chapters in such books rather than the whole book.
- Iron John, Men and masculinity. Robert Bly. Publisher: Rider
- Nothing to lose, Psychotherapy, mindfulness and living life. Nigel Wellings and Elizabeth Wilde McCormick. Woodyard Publications.
Two books (Penguin Books) from Eckhard Tolle are:
- “The Power of NOW”
- “A New Earth”
Clearly it may be best to borrow a book first through interlibrary loan, if you can, and then decide whether you want to read and buy it. A really helpful book can be read a number of times and more is got out of the book each time it is read.
Do self help books work?
Because everyone is different then all these books are just suggestions and searching for what you want is a good idea too. They are books that I have found personally helpful.
It is quite personal too what you find helpful so, as mentioned before, the books below and above are suggestions only.
Robert Dilts “Beliefs” Paladin
Viktor Frankl. “Man’s Search for Meaning.” This is about his experience as a Jewish doctor in a concentration camp in WWII as well as about his approach to therapy where he emphasizes the idea of choice even in the most desperate of situations such as the concentration camps.
Tony Humphreys. “The Power of Negative Thinking”. Blackwells.
This book is a great reminder not to reject what appears at first to be negative thinking or a negative experience but really can tell us something we need to know. Hence the saying that, “Any experience can lead to a positive learning experience”.
Wayne Dyer. Your Erroneous Zones. Harper Collins.
There may be other, more up to date, books that you find helpful. Happy exploring.