The “self-help” section

I was watching a re-run of S*x and the City the other day. In the episode, the girls go to a bookstore and Charlotte goes to the Self-help section to buy a book on ‘How to start again’ after her broken relationship. There are 2 women in that section and one of them is crying loudly in a funny and exaggerated way while reading a book. Charlotte picks up a book and the same woman comments that it helped her immensely. Charlotte instantly feels uncomfortable and moves out of the self-help section with an excuse that she was actually looking for the travel section. Finally, she goes home and orders the book online.

I kept thinking about this particular episode for almost a week. So I thought I should write it down. I don’t read self-help usually because I find it extremely boring. Maybe I haven’t come across the right book. The only self help book I own is Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus, but I still haven’t read it .Oh and another one called Screw Cupid, but that was a review copy and it was fun.

All I wanted to ask is this-
How many of you read self-help books? If you do, do you feel shy browsing in the self-help section? Or do you ever feel shy while buying books like ‘101 ways of making friends’ or ‘100 ways to find out if your husband is having an affair’???

If you don’t read such books, do you judge people who do? Just a little maybe? And not necessarily in a wrong way.

Just curious…

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18 thoughts on “The “self-help” section

  1. Yikes! Um, I might have to wait and see who all will judge me if I answer that I like self-help books! You have to temper that these books cover quite a range. I love the positive attitude motivation quote-filled happy books but won’t say I’m a junky for them. I own quite a few ‘what to do with your life’ books but can’t say I’ve really ever read most of them or gotten much out of the ones I did read. I love my how-to-encourage-your-creativity books. I wouldn’t seek out any how to have happy marriage or catch your hub cheating (?!) books = yuck. I think some self-help books are just FUN and can be a good reminder to have a positive outlook on life.

    • I’m not against reading self help books, not even books like husband cheating, but I guess I do stop and think.

      I recently saw a women buy a book on how to mend a broken marriage or something like that. I remember feeling bad for the lady or for whoever she was buying the book for. I think self-help books give you a peek into the life of the one who is reading it. But as you said of course they cover quite a range and most of them are harmless really.

  2. LOL I’ve only read one self-help book: Quarter Life Crisis. Because I was going through a quarter life crisis. πŸ˜‰ I got it from an actual bookstore, and I didn’t feel self-conscious getting it. But I know the episode of SATC you’re talking about and it was funny!

  3. I dont really read self-help books because I always find that they’ve completely got me wrong and I can’t connect to what they’re explaining. I’ve suffered from depression on and off for the last four years and have been fabulous for the last six months because of positive thinking, a change in diet and exercise, and channeling my rage into creative outlets. Sometimes when I see people looking at the self-help section, I want to go over to them and tell them to do it the way I did to get a better life. πŸ˜›

    BTW, read ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.’ It totally changed my life – I guess I didn’t really read it for ‘self help’ – I just knew it was supposed to be amazing. It was! I look at men and women so differently now and interact with them in a much better way. Read it!

    • I’m so glad you’re doing well Ceri, positive thinking can take you a long way.

      Okay, I will read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, I’m getting married soon, so it might even help me a little πŸ™‚

  4. I’ve not read many self help books, but wouldn’t hesitate to read one if I ever needed to. I read a lot of books on parenting when I had problems with my son. I don’t often buy books from a bookshop (almost all are online), but I think I would only feel uncomfortable if there was someone I knew in the bookshop and the problem was a private one.

  5. I love self-help books and have been reading them since high school. Before I started collecting fiction, I collect non-fiction books such as business, career management, self-help, personal development, you name it. There’s nothing to be shy about. πŸ™‚

  6. I don’t really read self-help books, but sometimes might pick one up to try to understand someone else’s issues. If I see someone else reading one, my thinking is that I hope the book is helping the reader!

  7. I don’t read self-help books because I find them very boring! I have seen Dad getting books about better Management and stuff like that, but I never opened it once to read!
    Maybe if I see someone buying a book on ” how to find out if your husband is cheating you”, i will feel bad for that person.. but nothing more!
    But I know there are many cool books that actually help out a lot of people. I have read reviews of such books.. and I think those won’t get me to judge anyone! If you like them, and get something out of it… good for you πŸ™‚
    But no, those books are not for me… at least not NOW πŸ˜‰

  8. Very good post.

    When I was younger, I didn’t need or read self-help books. But when I went away to college at the tender age of 17, a friend gave me Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne Dyer, and this book helped me to adjust to living away from home and got me thinking differently about a lot of things. From there, I went on to read other self-help books, such as The Magic of Believing and How to Win Friends and Influence People. I think there’s a ton of wonderful self-help books out there, although I’d rather order them in the privacy of my own home.

  9. Sex & the City always annoyed me as a TV show. I have read a few self-help books related to the arts, mostly, but not really enough to know that much about them. I can understand the appeal of them, though–the answers to your problems in a book! How cool is that? If only it was that easy….

  10. I really haven’t managed to get through a complete self-help book; I’ve either ditched them midway or skipped portions to reach the end. I don’t really like books giving me advice on how to live my life and stuff like that. But I don’t judge self-help readers. A book is a book is a book, no matter what genre it belongs to.

  11. I do not read self-help books. It’s not because I look down on them, or the people that read them – I assume they must have something helpful in them, or millions of people wouldn’t be reading them. I’m just married into a family of mental health professionals, so Sunday dinners are a bit like a “live action” self-help book as it is, so I’m not in a hurry to seek out more. =)

  12. I do not often read self-help books, but to say I never have would be a lie. Whenever asked the question what life changing book I read, I always answer with the same book: The Dance With Anger. I read it many many years ago for a sociology class I was taking. I hadn’t expected to get anything worthwhile out of it, but it really offered me perspective on some issues I’d been dealing with in my personal life. There was another one I read even before that one, this one on my own, because it came recommended by someone in a support group I was a part of. I found it very educational, not to mention a validation of what I was suffering through at the time. There was the self-help book the pastor made my husband and I read together during our pre-marital counseling. And I’ve read bits and pieces of Men are From Mars, Women Are from Venus, which you mention. I tried reading a self-help book for review last year. I don’t think I’ll make that mistake again. I really think it has to be a book I can get something out of for me to enjoy.

    I currently am reading a self-help book for a chronic condition I have. It’s not likely to find its way to my blog for review or even something I will mention in passing other than to close friends. I have a stack of business type self-help books I’ve been given over the years at conferences and such. I still haven’t read them. LOL

    I’ve browsed through the self-help section without embarrassment many times throughout my life and haven’t given much thought to others who may be standing in the aisle along side me. As you can tell from my comment here, there are some titles I’m more open to disclosing and others, not so much.

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