Why Did I Stop Reading Self-Help Books And Why You Should Too
I fell in love with books after reading a beautiful self-help book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. It is after reading my first self-help book, I realized the world of possibilities and opportunities is wide open to me. In fact, standing true by its name, self-help books really helped me to ‘HELP MYSELF’.
After reading for almost 2 years, I have decided to stop reading self-help books and today, I will share why I decided that and why you should also stop reading a typical self-help book.
Why You Should Stop Reading SELF-HELP Books:
I don’t know what data says but my observation says that 90% of people start reading self-help books after reading the benefits of self-help books. People either hear from their favorite book blogger, influencer, author or any other successful people how one self-help book turned their life upside down and in the greed of gaining similar results, they start reading books.
Although, be it fiction or nonfiction, both the books have similar kinds of benefits yet people have maintained an illusion that fiction books are just stories that wouldn’t take you anywhere. This is yet another reason why people shift to self-help books.
But before I tell you why I have decided to stop reading self-help books or why you shouldn’t either, let’s first see the possible reasons why people read self-help books in the first place.
Why Do People Read Self-Help Books:
Here are the titles of some famous self-help books that is sure to attract people:
1. You are a badass; How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living AN Awesome Life
2. The Secret
3. Outliers; The Story Of Success
A person who hasn’t read any book and is going through a tough time in his life will surely pick one of these books. Why?
Because humans have a habit of doing nothing but wanting everything. These kinds of giant self-help books are being written to hook your attention the moment you read the title so that they can sell you false HOPE.
If a person who hasn’t achieved anything in his life will hear about books like, The Secret, he/she is bound to purchase it, read it and then feel happy how all their desires can come true just by sitting on the couch.
You read a self-help book because you think you need help; you complete it and think your problem is being resolved. While the reality is your problem is still the same, you are still the same. You just know the answer to your problem after reading a book but in order to resolve the problem, you have to use the solution.
Basically, any typical self-help book will teach you thousands of ways of becoming rich, wealthy, happy and what not. All these books share not only one but various techniques that claim to improve your life. But here comes the twist.
Pick any famous self-help book and read the cover. There will be one common line in all of them, New York Times Bestseller or X million copies sold.
Now, if all these self-help books have been purchased by millions of people then where are those millions of people?
Now, you must be thinking, ‘Ohh, common Renuka, self-help books are the way to success but you have to walk on the path yourself to achieve success’ or to be more precise, you have to take action.
Well, that’s where the problem comes.
I am not talking about all the self-help books but 99% of them are just a copy of one another. And those 99% books share so many techniques to implement that it is nearly impossible for your little brain to even perceive.
Now, you may think ‘Renuka, we can apply one technique then other and so on’
Well, you are smart enough to think so but then there is another problem. All those 99% copy-pasted self-help books share such ridiculously illogical techniques that it is impossible to achieve any results through them. They might sound great at first by all the examples the author share but when it comes to implementation, your brain doesn’t find it logical and that’s why most people don’t take action on what they read (even when they know what all benefits they can achieve)
According to me, self-help books are being read by two types of people:
1. Beginners (and it’s best for them)
2. People who are hopeless about their life and trying to find one magical technique that can change their life, make them confident, rich, beautiful, acceptable in society and what not.
The further article is for second category people. I will tell you why you shouldn’t read self-help books, what kind of books you should read instead and why I stopped reading self-help books.
Why Did I Stop Reading Self-Help Books And You Should Too:
I have read more than 50 self-help books and unfortunately, only few them had something new, life-changing kind of advice while the rest were just a repetition of,
1. You can do anything
2. You are enough
3. Do this, that, and blah blah
4. Mixed mindset, growth mindset (after reading this, my mind exploded)
5. Hard work is the key to success
6. Own your life and
Other such things that can be summed up in a blog.
In the past 2 years, I have observed one thing in people and in me that people want to read self-help books because they want to achieve success, happiness, money or any such thing. Other than that there is no way people would like to listen ages old advice that our parents used to give us but we ignored them.
Although success can mean different to everyone, but let’s assume that people want to have truck-loads of money, and become best at what they do.
If we analyze this widely acceptable illusory definition of success, tell me one thing with all honesty, “How can a self-help book help you?”
Self-help books can’t make you money unless you are an author neither can they help you become the best at what you do. How can ages-old repetitive advice make you successful?
Ohh, I can hear some people saying, ‘but Renuka, what if a person is not smart enough, intelligent enough or confident enough? In such a case, self-help books will teach them that smartness and intelligence comes from knowledge and confidence comes from achievements and then people try harder to achieve their dreams.
If you have any similar thinking trust me, you are betraying yourself.
Can’t a person understand this simple thing from a motivational video? If the purpose of a self-help book is to push you towards achieving your goals, and knowledge then why don’t people achieve it?
As I said, people start living in an illusionary bubble after reading a self-help book. They start thinking they know something which others aren’t even aware of and that’s how they end up jumping from, “I am not good enough” to “I know a lot of things” without achieving anything. A self-help book is nothing but an instant dose of motivation which lasts for a few days and causes more damage to some people than benefits.
But that doesn’t mean the mistakes are all in self-help books. It’s us who make the mistakes by keep reading self-help books because that just creates a belief that we are somehow superior than others (just because we have read a bunch of self-help books)
For example: I am a writer professionally but instead of reading books on how I can improve my writing style, what are the techniques that other famous writers used to follow, if I am reading my 5th book on mindset then who is wrong or to be precise who is stupid? Me, right?
One powerful book on mindset is enough to teach you everything about success, hard work, thoughts and everything else that is essential to get success, happiness and confidence. Yet people keep reading similar kinds of books because after completing the book, they feel accomplished, and feel they have gained another great amount of knowledge, they feel happy and fulfilled.
When you read your 5th book on mindset and come across the lessons that you already knew, you feel ‘Ohh, I already knew this, I am so smart and I live by that and now my life will be changed’ but alas! Though you may get to know everything about your mindset but you are not moving anywhere in life, you are just comparing your knowledge with others.
This is one of the reasons why I stopped reading self-help books. I don’t think there is anything out of the world left to explore.
What kinds of books should you read?
Till now, if I wasn’t able to convince you my point then I am sure, the last 2 paragraphs will convince you to be more mindful with what you chose to read.
Let’s say you want to become confident and best at what you do so that you can achieve success. And let’s say you are a marketer.
In such a case, you should read books on human psychology and marketing because these books will tell you how you can hack human mind to sell them anything you want and marketing books will tell you how you can successfully market your products along with various case studies of different brands to expand your knowledge on marketing and grow your interest. When you will read how the market works or how your customers think, your (real) knowledge will grow and this knowledge will give you confidence. Confidence that comes from knowledge increases your self-worth in your eyes and this further boosts you to believe in your dreams, take actions and become best at what you do.
Let’s take my own example,
I am a writer so now, I am trying to read books on writing, human psychology (how I can hook people’s attention), business books (to grow my online business), and spiritual books (because I want to live an enlightened life)
When I will read these books, my knowledge will increase, I will share the same knowledge with my online community, and that will make me best at what I do or in other words make me successful. Reading ages-old self books might make me motivated for a while but the benefits would be as big as reading books that fall under your niche, career or interest.
Should You Stop Reading Self-help Books Altogether?
NO, I am not telling you to ban self-help books from your life. In fact, I will also read self-help books but the ones that truly stand out and that too once in a while. I recently published an article on 4 self-help books that don’t suck and trust me, these are the self-help books that will help you but as I said, reading too many self-help books create more problems that you are not even aware of.
So from now on, promise yourself that you wouldn’t read typical self-help books just to cherry-pick information. Read books that can really take you somewhere.
I hope you don’t hate me after this article.
PS: I am still going to suggest you great self-help books but only those that can truly impact your life, have something really helpful or a book that doesn’t share repetitive stuff.