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What are Self Help Books?

By Garry Crystal
Updated May 17, 2024
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Self help books have seen an enormous growth rate in the last ten years. Self help books usually help people grow in some way, be it mentally, physically or spiritually. The main goal of self help books is to unlock some inner strength that the reader already has and help set it free.

The market for self help books is huge. The public will always want some help in order to improve their lives. Chat show hosts such as Oprah Winfrey infrequently bring self help experts onto their shows. Usually, when this happens, the audience has an Oh, that’s right reaction. The expert is able to communicate in simple terms something that seems to have been right in front of audience’s noses that they just hadn’t thought about.

This is the essence of self help books. The reader already knows the answers to the questions he or she is searching for. It just takes an author with acute perception to bring it out into the open.

The subject matter for self help books is limitless. Anything that can be a problem to anyone can be a subject for self help books. Three of the most popular subject areas for self help books are mental health concerns, life challenges and the all time favorite, personal growth.

Mental health concerns can cover abusive relationships and how to get rid of them, addiction, eating disorders and social anxiety. Life challenges can include death, divorce, family and sexuality problems, parenting, women’s issues and parenting problems. Personal growth is a popular topic and can cover self-esteem problems, spirituality, assertiveness, confidence and even Pilates and yoga.

The authors of self help books are usually, to some degree, experts in their fields. For some, this may come from a medical or psychology background. Others may have gone through a traumatic time in their lives and write about the experience in the hope that it will help others to understand the issues they are coping, or not coping, with.

Other experts may have achieved a certain status in their field and want to pass on their experiences. Self made millionaires may want to pass on their tips as to how they made their money. Of course, the fact that they are selling these books for a price may have something to do with how they keep on making their money.

There is no doubt that self help books help a great number of people. In subjects such as medical and mental disorders, some of the knowledge is invaluable and truly helpful. Others books that help a person move through bereavement and grief can also be a great comfort. The reader should be aware that with self help books, there are no guarantees. Ultimately, the answer to many of life’s problems will not be found within the covers of a book.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By lluviaporos — On May 11, 2011

The problem with self help books is that there is no way of telling which ones are useful and which ones aren't.

Even top self help books will only work for some people.

Which is not to say that there aren't some wonderful books out there which can help people through difficult times.

Just that people should go looking for self help books with their eyes open.

You should try to find them through word of mouth, rather than advertising, and you should take everything they say with a grain of salt.

By anon113971 — On Sep 26, 2010

Addiction can affect us all at some point in our lives. Most people experiment with drugs and alcohol during there teens but then move on!

Some of the unfortunates don't; they struggle with addiction and become "addicts" constantly caught up in a battle to live their lives while struggling with addiction.

This real life story was written to help people suffering from the disease of addiction, to give them hope and to hopefully inspire them to overcome the battle with addiction.

Written in such a way that the reader is compelled to discover what happens next, "Awoken by an Angel" is a must read for anyone who is thinking about doing something about there addiction problems or knows somebody who is currently struggling with addiction.

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