My Adventures in the Self-Help Section: Hidden Gems

As you guys know, I’ve been a book nut all my life. I’ve worked in libraries, I’ve been an author (well, I’m still an author), I’ve reviewed books for major publications and, most importantly, I’m an avid, avid reader. So, it should go without saying that I’ve spent a fair amount of my adult life in book stores and libraries.

And, for the most part, book stores and libraries are great. They are full of Jason - (img)awesome resources on nearly any subject. However, there’s always been one section that really annoyed me… the self-help section. Now, I’ll the first to admit I’m a little bit biased. For the longest time, I thought “Pfft. Who would need anything from that section? If you want to improve yourself just do it!”

Really, I’d even be embarrassed to be seen in that section. Now that I’m typing it out, it’s embarrassing that I was embarrassed! Because here’s the thing: sometimes you just don’t have the knowledge, skills or background to improve yourself in the meaningful ways you’re looking for. Most of us aren’t psychologists, nutritionists or DIY nerds.

So, one day, I made it a point to actually go and look through some of the books there. Some of them, of course, were full of bologna. And that’s what a lot of people don’t like about this section: it’s full of “gurus” telling them how to make money online (which we all know is impossible). And, believe me, that’s true. But there are some really awesome books, too! More accurately, I’ve found that certain genres of self-help books are good. That’s what I wanted to share with you today. So, without further ado, here are a few types of self-help books you should make a point to check out:

  • Meditation/happiness books. These are usually the ones people need the most but are most resistant to trying. I’ve come to feel that, as a society, we’re just not very happy people. Reading about what happiness actually is and how to practice being a happy person has been super elightening. If you can get your hands on anything by the Dalai Lama, go for that. His writing is very rarely religious – it’s mostly just super wise and very enjoyable.
  • Nutrition. Now, be careful here. There will be tons of fad diet books in there as well. But most of us know next to nothing about what we’re putting in our bodies. Finding an awesome book on nutrition can help you lose weight (of course), improve your moods or even get better skin. After starting to eat clean, I’m down 10 lbs, I’m a million times happier, and my lifelong battle with blemishes seems to be over. Awesome!
  • Psychology. A lot of self-help books about psychology don’t even give you a ton of advice, but I’ve found them to be a really good compliment to books about happiness. It just really helps to understand what is actually going on in your head. Because most of us don’t have a clue!

So give those a shot! I was pleasantly surprised at how fun and helpful some of those books here. I’m sorry I ever doubted you, Self-Help Section! I’ll be back to visit you soon!