Samuel Smiles (1812-1904), Scottish writer and reformer, could hardly have foreseen that his book, simply titled Self Help, would give birth to a multi-billion dollar literary genre!
Here is a brief look at some categories of self-help books:
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin: An 18th century publication that continues to inspire readers, especially Franklin’s self-devised method to make a better person of himself.
How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie): This 1936 self-help classic still flies off the shelves. Carnegie’s persuasive mantras for personal success are simple: be kind, don’t criticize, listen closely to others and remember people’s names. He claimed that these ideas were originally put forward by Socrates, Jesus Christ and Chesterfield.
The Road Less Travelled (M. Scott Peck): Scott Peck’s bestseller on personal relationships teaches that love is more about giving than taking. Problems, says this psychiatrist, actually help us mature and grow spiritually. Self-discipline is the way to tackle life’s challenges.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen R. Covey): Living according to certain core, universal principles, a “win-win” approach to solutions that works for all stakeholders, ethical thinking and behaviour and smart time management, these are some mantras to a better life from Stephen Covey’s hugely popular book.
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway (Susan Jeffers): A book that shows you how to face fears and overcome them in order to lead a fulfilling and happy life.
Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill): To write this classic go-getters’ manual for getting rich, Napoleon Hill interviewed forty business magnates. He then condensed their cumulative wisdom into thirteen mantras for personal accomplishment that lead to all-round success.
You Were Born Rich (Bob Proctor): This self-help bestseller claims that how people think about money and their level of awareness are factors that determine their wealth and other important aspects of their lives. Fascinating, revolutionary ideas from a man who’s mentored several millionaires!
You Can Heal Your Life (Louise L. Hays): This book explores the close link between diseases and emotions and shows you how to live a healthy life.
Getting Things Done (David Allen): Working hard and still not getting anywhere? This self-help book shows you how to become a high achiever by decluttering and organising your life.
Do Self-Help Books Really Work?
Recent psychological research suggests that self-help books work most effectively for those who already have good levels of self-esteem and productivity. On the other hand, they could negatively impact people with a poor self-image. The bottom line: while self-help books aren’t miraculous wonders, they could be useful as part of a comprehensive therapy regime. Buy a self-help book today and decide for yourself!
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