Why self-help books don't help

Writings 2008.02.23 01:16

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<Pino Daeni - Late Night Reading>

To give up learning is probably the worst choice a person can make. People prefer to ‘take the easy way out’ when they find themselves in a situation which requires effort. For instance high school students will attempt to grab the first job available to them instead of toiling in academic pursuit. It is unfortunate that some people overlook the benefits of education. They shrug it off claiming it a waste of time and money. This attitude is extremely dangerous in that those who have neglected education are most certainly doomed to a life of trial and error. They will never quite figure out what is wrong with themselves, and this I aver has much to do with what I am about to write – the absence of reflection and analysis.

Because they do not see the benefits they can reap in the future, the ignorant much rather prefers to enjoy the bare minimums of the current state, instead of enduring the travails which will grant them more rewards later on. In most cases they simply deny the knowledge that will set them free.


Ignorance leads to various misconceptions and one is the popularity of self-help books. They cannot and never will be a substitute for education.


The stupidity of self-help books such as the ones that claim to have the secret of happiness, and everything which requires a modicum of thought for that matter, is that they do the thinking for you. In most cases readers end up with eclectic authors who are perhaps in need of self-help themselves. People remain ignorant while harboring a conviction that their lives just got better thanks to an author who happened to write the book in the first place because it sells extremely well to unhappy people, meaning the general population.


Here’s a vicious circle of self-help books:

Laziness 'easy way out' dump effort for pleasure no thought no goals or long term plans shortsightedness guilt self-help books that not only does the thinking for you but also provides easy instructions you can follow lifting of guilt back to laziness

The answer to our tribulations lies not in devout prayers, absurd superstition or 'light reads' for that matter, but in education and knowledge. Refer to Split by Decision for those who want real world examples, and Education on Wikipedia.

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