When I first came across the idea of self-help books, I thought that the title meant that they were written specifically made for a reader in desperate need of some sort of immediate help. Help! My boyfriend broke up with me and I don’t know how to move on. Help! I don’t know how to be friends with people. Help! I’m feeling sad.
Although some self-help books do address more immediate life crises, I was surprised by the variety of topics they cover. I came across titles like “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck” and “You are a Badass,” both of which teach you how to really be a badass and not care about the little things in life. How well do they teach you? I guess you’ll have to read them to find out.
As I read samples from Self-Help Books, I keep finding myself wanting to fully read the books because each one sounds just as interesting and motivational as the last. Maybe it’s the nerd inside me, but I want to learn about how you can leave your ego behind and enter a state of inner peace. Can books really do that? Or maybe it’s me wanting to know how tidying up the spaces around me can also clear my mind. The phycology of it all makes me wonder if a clean room really makes life simpler… that would be nice. Either way, self-help books are intriguing because they draw attention to a topic that isn’t usually talked about, making the reader think and reflect on their own lives. How we interact with the people and world around us is based on our mindsets, so learning how we can partake in certain activities to feel a certain way or gain a certain mentality by reading self-help books can open people’s minds to that topic. Typically, they revolve around helping solve people’s personal problems, making their lives ‘better.’
One book I particularly enjoy is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “GMorning, GNight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You.” Geared to help people get out of bed in the morning, this book contains affirmations to inspire the reader at both the beginning and the end of their day (and is super cute, so check it out here). The simple black and white illustrations alongside the short and poetic little blurbs differ from the conventions of many other self-help books. For example, most books include lots of outside research on the topic, personal reflections, quotes, bright colors, various graphics, and are generally written in a very conversational tone. These typical conventions can be seen in “The Happiness Hack,” where author Ellen Petry Leanse talks about how to break away from our addictions to technology and how to gain happiness and focus in return. This book is much more research-based than “GMorning, GNight!,” making me wonder if there really is a correct way to write a self-help book. Can simply making a point about how a person can rethink a certain topic make it a self-help book? I’m starting to think it does, because new ideas can also make people better themselves and rethink some aspect of their life, it doesn’t always have to be driven by research.
I’m still brainstorming how im going to create my own self-help book, but hopefully it’ll make you think and question yourself. Just what we all need right now, right?