It’s that time of the year again when we all fish out our gym kits and make endless lists of all the things we plan to improve about ourselves (only to abandon these plans halfway through February, because life’s busy enough as it is, thankyouverymuch!). Of course, if you’re getting in the mood to make those resolutions, you may be drawn to a few self-help guides and I’m here to tell you to STOP!! Hold up, because a helluva lot of them are not in the slightest bit, well, helpful. So I’m here as your helpful guide on which self-help books you should *definitely* avoid 😉
War of Art– I had a real battle with this book and I’m still feeling bruised over it. Not only does the author pull “facts” out his armpit, he oversimplifies *EVERYTHING* as Resistance (with a capital R, cos he’s a cool cat, dontchaknow). Going for a walk is Resistance. Reading a book is Resistance. Doing anything interesting at all is Resistance to this guy. I reckon it’d be awful to be friends with someone who’s constantly calling everything you do a waste of time. Also, I wouldn’t want to take my chances with any of his fiction- it’s not exactly gonna be informed by, you know, having a life.
Bird by Bird– please don’t get in a flap if you liked this book- it simply wasn’t for me! In fairness, I rarely jam with writing advice books- yet I genuinely found the advice in here to be particularly generic. Plus, I don’t find any reason to read YET ANOTHER book telling potential authors that writing is hard and they should pick another career. Even if that wasn’t pointlessly discouraging, it’s also a-done-to-death piece of advice. Try feathering your nest with some original thoughts- thanks.
The Art of Hygge– I honestly can’t believe I actually finished this book?! I mean, I am curious about the Danish practice of hygge- however I think the point of it is to be cosy not bored. Aside from that, this book is full of reallllly pointless advice. Unless you need to be told to put flowers in water. In which case, I don’t think this book is going to cover enough regular-old-life hacks for you.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up- Marie Kondo’s book on tidying up is a cleanly written self-help guide, informing us all that we should get rid of anything that’s cluttering up our lives and doesn’t “spark joy”. It’s not terrible advice to start with- but UNFORTUNATELY the principles aren’t that complicated- so you don’t need to read a whole book about it! It’s also a bit of a problem to encourage people to discard things this easily- if you’re prone to unhauling things, like I am, you’ll find you get rid of things that you need and you may come to regret it!! And in case that wasn’t enough to put me off, the advice to have just 30 books in your collection hurts my soul as a bookworm ☹ (let’s be real, I’d much rather read a book on how I can build my own personal library!)
Captivate– this is one of those pseudo-intellectual books that promises to teach you how to read body language. Now, I’m not saying there’s nothing to that- however I will say that a book going into tremendous detail about how raised eyebrows means you’re surprised may just be a waste of your time. Personally, I also don’t like the fact that this encourages people to read into “micro-expressions”. Considering the fact that in CBT (and other psychological practices) try to teach people out of mind reading, as its behaviours like this that may feed into depression or anxiety or other mental health problems, I’d say this is a pretty harmful message. But hey, this book isn’t written by an actual psychologist, it’s by a business major whose main expertise is parting people from their money…
Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck– I could not give a fuck about this book (see I can swear too). So much so that I couldn’t even finish it. Which I suppose means the book did its job, since it’s about not caring. Still, I think the only thing this book will make you not care about is its own content, considering advice like “just don’t give a shit about anything” is not only dumb, but will also have very little affect on you if you are bothered about things!! It’s about as helpful as someone telling you to “relax” when you’re stressed or “be happy” when you’re sad or “just do it” when you have a problem with procrastinating (got to take another shot at War of Art there 😉 ). Ultimately, this book is merely a pathetic attempt at being edgy.
And that’s all for now! Do you agree or disagree with this list? And do you have any other self-help books you think are a waste of time? Let me know in the comments!