We’ve all been there.
You find that book where the title resonates with you. You look at some reviews on goodreads.com and make the purchase. This is it. From here on in my life will be changed.
From here on in, I will read this book, apply the principles, change my life, and become a millionaire.
A huge jolt of motivation begins to surge through you.
Only to be fizzled out a few weeks later, you put the book down a few chapters later, after realising the same words have been repeated about 10 times.
On to the next self help book. The cycle continues.
I’ve read them all, from Tony Robbins, Eckart Tolle to Rhonda Byrne (The Secret). It’s hard to say whether any of the advise has enhanced my life. But one things for sure: Most of the material I’ve read, looking back – Will not help you achieve your dreams in any significant matter.
The Problem With Self Help Books
Theres a few problems with self help books:
- No Practical Advice:
Rarely, if ever, you will find practical, actionable advise. Practical advice does not sell, self help authors know this.
What does sell is offering hope, inspiration and motivation. This is what you will be buying. In fact, I would go as far as to say, that for every 200 pages, there might be one sentence that offers actual advise on a specific action, that you can take, that you have not already heard 100 times (such as eat healthy, go to the gym and be positive).
This is simply not practical: to be sifting through hundreds upon hundreds of pages for one or two sentences that provide practical advice. You are much better off doing your own research, such as buying Guide books or “How to” books that give you actual, actionable steps towards achieving a specific task relevant to your endeavour. For example “How to Start a Lawn Mowing Business”.
2. The Authors Did Not Achieve Honest Success
The overwhelmingly majority of self help authors did not achieve their riches until after their books became best sellers.
Think about how absurd that is. I wont go into names but do some research, this is the case for many of the leading, best selling self-help and financial books out there.
You are taking advise from someone about how to be rich and successful, when they have not even achieved that themselves through the methods they claim. You are being duped.
There is generally always a hidden agenda when someone is selling a self help book. Notice also that self help books are roughly $5-$20. Whereas autobiographies, manuals and textbooks are generally more costly. This is because they are valued much more and the price reflects that.
3. Reading Self Help is the Opposite of Action Taking
Most of the time you are doing your self a diss-service by reading self help. You know your life needs to change, but instead of changing it – you choose to read about “how” to change it. This a just a step that often times prolongs the transformative process.
You know the answers. You already know how to change your life. You already know what you should be doing. You already know sitting on the couch and watching TV instead of working on your business does not produce results.
4. Self Help Authors Have a Hidden Agenda
As much as I wish authors had all of our best interests at heart, Its simply not the case.
Profit is the main goal. Getting a successful, wealth producing book, which the masses can purchase, is always the main goal. Thus, the advice you read will always be catered towards getting the masses to buy their book. A title to get you hooked, along with dubious claims that simply following a few steps will get you the desired result.
5. Self Help books makes you overcomplicate Things
After reading a 400 page self help book, you have just flooded your brain with chapters and chapter of various theories and principles about how to think and how to act.
In reality all you needed to do was purchase that domain, make that phone call, or drive to the gym. Now you have 400 pages of principles to factor in.
You see this on fan forums of these books. The forum members will ask the authors/members absurd, ridiculous questions. “is it okay to do this?” “Am I allowed to do things this way instead of that way? Does the author approve?”. It’s irrelevant. Don’t overcomplicate things.
6. Comparing Yourself To the Author
A Typical Self help author always paints themselves as if they have the answers to everything, literally everything. As if their spiritual, financial, love and work life is in complete harmony.
Books are normally filled with examples about them bragging about their successes. They always do things the right way. They are always positive. They have never back stabbed anyone or done wrong to anyone. You can’t really picture a self help author doing anything negative, because that is the picture they have painted for you.
But this is not the human condition. This is not normal. It puts unrealistic expectations on you to behave a certain way. This is cult-like behaviour, disguised.
This can set you up for massive failure because you begin to think you’re not good enough for success. You’re not perfect enough and need to continue to improve yourself. Then the self help loop of buying more books continues.
Here is what I recommend Instead:
Read biographies. Read manuals.
Specifically, biographies of very successful people.
Not just any successful people. But successful people who have the general vibe that you want to achieve in your own life. People who have achieved things that you admire.
Biographies often have a lot less woo woo, mumbo jumbo.
They are a lot more honest. They share real life struggles and how the person overcame them. Instead of merely offering words, principles, theories and motivational speeches. Instead, they mostly reveal to you the raw and honest struggles of making it to the top.
Some examples of awesome biographies I’ve read are:
They’re jam packed full of stories about people overcoming adversity, struggles and working hard to achieve there dreams. Real life stories with real life lessons to be learned. These are all real life success stories, no snake-oil salesmen here. You can research them and see what they achieved.
Now that is real motivation.
I’m sure some self help books have helped a few people. But we already know the stats: about 95% of people don’t finish reading the books they buy.
I’m mostly writing this for someone like myself, who read self help book after self help book, going in circles for years. Reading hundreds of self help books will not improve your life. It’s not going to happen. Face reality and turn your words into actions.
Thanks for reading.