If you wander into any major bookstores like Borders, you probably will see a dedicated section on self-help books and probably a shelve or two allocated for career building. I always wonder if self-help books really do help…

For one, I haven’t had the luck in finding self-help book in speaking to me in a language that I understand. It is so easy to get lost in the jungle of office word jangles and whatnots, not to mention the graphs and pie charts I have to scale in order to understand the significance of the meaning the author is trying to illustrate.

I have dozens of self-help books gifted by well-meaning friends who swear by them and told me those books collecting dust on my shelves, help them once in their lives. I’m sure it did to them but they do absolutely nothing for me. In fact, all they did was to cure my insomnia especially when I couldn’t get past the 1st chapter. What I truly believe self-help books like that self help classes are only effective if certain concoction is present in the potion.

For one, you need to be able to understand easily. Unless you are an excel fanatic, any author that is going to drone on and on about statistics, is just going to put the reader off. Numbers don’t mean anything to me until you are able to draw a picture in my mind. One in every two person term works better than 50% stats. Yawn!

Next, the content must be relatable. If the book solely focuses on America, you can bet that my mind is going to drift off fast and good since I am in Asia. If I can’t relate to the scenarios you are giving as an example in the book, I won’t believe your advice will work on me. It is always to brush any advice or warning off one’s shoulder when you can’t link the stories to the reader. You will have the winning formula when your readers go “Ah-hah! I have had that scenario before!” There must be a reason why people tend to be drawn to magazines rather than thick self-help books.

Lastly, the reader must believe in you. That you want to help through your book and not because you are trying to get your book climb the ranks of best sellers. So far, The books I had lack conviction in persuading me to read further. A quick flip through the books already pointed out to me several knowledge and methods that I am already practising.

Do you have a self-help book readily to swear by it? Share with us right at the comments below!

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15 replies on “Does Career Self Help Books help?

  1. I read Robin Sharma , Brian Tracy, Stephen covey , zig zigler and many more.. Few helped few dint. Important is to implement in a appropriate scenario and see if it works.. Some are time tested some we got to experience and see the change.. I can’t tell every chapter would do magic for you.. But certainly if you feel the content somewhere would relate to your day to Day experience and tips and tricks is implementable may be it helps

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  2. My addiction to self-help books comes and goes. When I’m feeling a little down, I read one and it does cheer me up. I think “Sure, I can get through this day and someone how be successful.” Then other types, I read them and I think “What kind of crap is this?”. I know that this comment probably doesn’t help you but remember I’m a worthless advice blogger so you get what you pay for!

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  3. I don’t think self help books work unless they have something to offer the reader. If they don’t then it will be a case of {yawn} and fall asleep. Every book has to transport the reader to new worlds, new realms of possibilities. If they don’t then you won’t keep reading and won’t put their ideas into practise.

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    1. She’s definitely a turnaround IF you take the time to understand what she really means, specially when it sounds so simple. Actually it is, but the difficulty is following through and applying her advice in the right spirit 🙂

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  4. I am like you, Kally. A lot of self-help books I’ve picked up, I’ve struggled to finish reading and don’t read all the way because I struggle to relate to what the author is saying. As you mentioned, different work industries and countries require different approaches to the job. Also, we all have different personalities and we may be more comfortable doing this to motivate ourselves rather than what we are reading.

    However, I think the plus side of all these self-help books out there is to give you options on how you can motivate yourself when you don’t know how to start. From there, you can get a feel on what works for you and what doesn’t.

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  5. My favorite self help ( I prefer self improvement, but that’s just me) is Mindset by Carol Dweck. It presents the idea that anything is possible if you adjust your mindset to be open to anything you can do, instead of automatically assuming that it’s impossible to achieve any task because of _____ (insert excuse here). Great post, Kally!

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