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September 11th, 2014, 16:48
I hope I am not the only one who is profoundly grated by this type of thing. I've always found it suspicious how people were supposed to draw wisdom to apply to their life from New York Times bestsellers and self-made gurus or "experts" with a degree popping up out of nowhere.

The pattern is almost always the same from what I can see : make people hear what they want to hear. I doubt people want to hear anything about discipline or self-abnegation, or anything about making genuine sacrifices. Rather, they want to be told about how much of a delicate flower they are, that what they are seeking is just within reach. They want to feel beautiful and fuzzy, mindlessly happy and confident. What all these books attempt to do is rationalize behaviors of selfishness and solipsism in order to cater to their readership's egos. I know a book published here was titled "Wow, I am God!". It always seems to revolve around these sorts of things.

The more gimmicky the approach, the more mindless "pop-positivity", the more dubious the material.
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September 11th, 2014, 18:09
Well, for a man within deep depressions, books like these can help, I suppose … Or for those with an severe lack of self-confidence and self-esteem …

I find it curious that those who are condemning these books - of which there are bad ones out there as well - are mostly those who just don't have nothing like those traits the self-help books are adressing to.

It's like … an gardener with "the green thumb" is saying that books on gardening are rubbish. Or, more cynically put, an master of painting saying that Newbies to painting should "NEVER AT ALL !!!111eleven" use books entitled somewhat "how to paint as an beginner".

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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September 12th, 2014, 05:31
I think it is obvious I am not criticizing self-help efforts or books in general. Rather my disdain is directed toward the very narcissistic, gimmicky vibes and ideologies promoted in a lot of them, which gives it all a very tacky feel. But you could say it is a social malady, and this booming segment of books is merely a reflect of that.
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September 12th, 2014, 10:40
Originally Posted by Humanity has risen! View Post
I think it is obvious I am not criticizing self-help efforts or books in general. Rather my disdain is directed toward the very narcissistic, gimmicky vibes and ideologies promoted in a lot of them, which gives it all a very tacky feel. But you could say it is a social malady, and this booming segment of books is merely a reflect of that.
Those books have been very popular for decades, at least back to the 1960s … and you have a class of writer/publisher that is quick to try to capitalize on any new trend with a self-help book, or ones that tie weight loss to pretty much anything since that will ALWAYS sell and so on …

There are good books, but they definitely drown in a sea of 'Paleo for Life' or 'Carbs are Evil' or 'Atkins' or other non-sense cultish books …

— Mike
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September 12th, 2014, 10:54
I don't know, as I've never read any of them.

But, my impression based on what little I've seen of the content, is that it varies. While I consider the concept of having a specific method as "the way" to help yourself rather ridiculous, I can't deny the way the human mind works. The key, really, is to feel good about whathever you're doing.

Even if many of those books are written by hacks trying to capitalize on something, it's not unlikely they're trying to do some good on top of it. They might actually believe they're helping people by giving them some tools, and maybe they've even helped themselves in that way. Even if they enjoy the money on top.

Some people excel at doing things they're told - and they can have faith based on someone being an authority and nothing else. As in, if they read it in a book by some "established" author, then that's quite enough for them to generate whatever support they need to help themselves.

I've never been good at that, and I've always been sceptical about things I don't really agree with or understand. I need to understand something at the core level, before I go do it. That's my way - and I don't know if that's good or bad. I do know that there are times when it feels absolutely terrible to be so sceptical - and when I wish I could just "believe" in something and feel better. But I seem to lack that ability - and so I have to help myself in my own way, without the aid of others.

I can't keep a straight face and claim one way is better than the other.

It's like, say, Scientology, I guess. I mean, as long as you truly believe in that religion - you're probably feeling pretty good about yourself. You're in a community and you feel safe and everything makes sense. That's a position I haven't been in since I was a kid, when I believed in black and white divisions of right and wrong.

I kinda miss that, but on the other hand - I think searching for truth is more important than my own personal comfort, and especially if it's temporary and based on deceit or delusion.

I'd rather be in pain, struggling to find answers - than relying on something that's not real. But that doesn't mean it's super fun all the time
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September 12th, 2014, 11:04
Sounds like someone moved your cheese.

I don't think psychology really does a thing, and a meta-study a while back seemed to bear this out. That said on specific topics I am sure they can be helpful, even diet stuff is more valid than the crack the cosmic egg/power of positivity nonsense.
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