@iancynk
43M

A few things come to mind, that I particularly liked but as everyone else already stated, self-help is a highly individualistic endeavor. So it depends on you and also the topics you are interested in. I do not like self-help books that tell you what to do but rather explain how things are and let you figure your design out by yourself. With that disclaimer:

  • Why we sleep - Matthew Walker: (thanks so much, I found this gem recommended somewhere here on lemmy and it was eye-opening/eye-closing for me). This should be taught in school but sleep is basically highly underrated in our society.
  • The mind illuminated - Culadasa John Yates: IMO the best book on meditation without all the esoteric stuff
  • The subtle art of not giving a fuck - Mark Manson (not really that amazing, but it was the right thing for me to read at some point)

Not sure this qualifies as “self-help” but more as “helpful”…

Dessalines
admin
33M

I’m not big on self-help books, but I did genuinely like “the magic of thinking big”.

The Little Prince maybe.

They are all the same.

Pema Chodron - when things fall apart.

@kolps
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7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I felt it was nicely researched and the book seems grounded and really balanced.

Monk who sold his Ferrari, the book’s pretty extreme but just pick and choose what helps you! Hope it helps.

@WuxinGoat
13M

might not be exactly what you’re looking for but check out All Is Well In The Great Mess by Scott P Bradley. Its heavily daoist but you might find it gives good life advice. Daoism and Buddhism (as well as mediation) as philosophies have helped me no end.

@DrKozaky
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Yes it’s super common. Because revolutionary propaganda is about how we change social/material conditions for people to improve their lives, while “self-help” is centered on individual perception/action as the source of problems.

Self-help is very individualistic (not in a good understanding of the word) and very “i’m wrong and i need to fix myself”, instead of focusing on why people feel bad/broken in a cruel society. It’s a pretty fucked up industry of constant victim-blaming.

In the more serious cases, self-help turns into a delusional conspiracy theory sometimes referred to as “law of attraction” (or labeled some form “magnetism”) where you’re told you are responsible for every single thing that happens to you because if you believe in good stuff, good stuff will happen to you. And if something bad happens to you, it’s because you’ve had this negative mindset and it’s all your fault. It’s a fucked up victim-blaming mentality and it’s provably wrong.

@moonboy
12M

I don’t think that’s true, though. You could say that for some self-help books, that they claim or imply that individual action is the source of/solution to problems, but how would that be inherently true of books that are, say, aimed at reducing one’s anxiety. Obviously some books of this nature may harbour some liberal messages, but is that intrinsic to the genre? Like all of psychology is liberal? Are books on exercising or learning an instrument also individualistic?

I’m not tryna be difficult. Is self-help, by definition, individualistic? Like two books could be about CBT, but one is self-help and the other is not? Is there some other genre of books that deals with improving oneself in some way, without being individualistic?

What about in socialist countries? Are there no books about learning a craft or improving one’s discipline?

I totally get what you’re saying about a lot of self-help books, but to me it sounds like you’re throwing the baby out with the bath water. Like saying horror is inherently misogynistic because a lot of horror media is. Again, maybe I’m wrong and there is something intrinsic to self-help that is wrong, but it sounds to me like you’re making a generalization.

@PeaceLaborMay
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This. It’s easy to slip into the just world hypothesis with many self-help methods. Whilst taking responsibility for one’s own choices and actions is necessary, it is also crucial to examine the outside world through a lens of class antagonism. My firm belief is that no lasting change to one’s individual struggles is possible without the major shift in the social paradigm. It is especially important for the marginalized to recognize - the “pull yourself up by bootstraps” narrative needs to die. Nothing has helped me more than the good old dialectical materialism in terms of self-improvement and meaningful change to my day-to-day life. But Marx and Lenin are not very marketable to the self-help industry, are they?

taking responsibility for one’s own choices and actions is necessary

Of course!

But Marx and Lenin are not very marketable to the self-help industry, are they?

Haha that’s for sure. Although i’m not sure Marx and Lenin are really good sources for inspiration on how to improve society. Did you have the chance/time to read Emma Goldman finally? Take care :)

Not yet :) I was planning to catch up on reading in spring, so, hopefully, soon.

@DarudeDude
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I am kind of curious what would you do to fix the industry of self help books if you could?

Sorry but i don’t think “fixing an industry” is possible, or that this “industry” would make sense in a free society. We all deal with various psychological/mental problems created by this fucked up society, and i don’t think there’s anything we can do apart from fixing the roots of the problems.

Feeling bad and misfit in such a fucked up world in my view is a feature not a bug. As painful as it is, it proves we are still humans and still feel something in the face of injustice. I’m not gonna tell people not to get individual help/medication if they feel like they need it, but no society can be fixed on a personal level.

@DarudeDude
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@southerntofu
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it can often be helpful to to work on your personal capability for empathy and emotional resilience.

For sure, i didn’t mean to say the opposite. Though i’m not convinced books are as effective as people to teach empathy, but maybe i just haven’t read the good books?

Contrary to many on the site I consider my religious background to have been very important

Every one has their reasons and their way to enter social struggles. I wish you a happy path with your god(s), that’s not my way but i’m not here to judge.

a niche exists for the idea of learning to love yourself while fighting for social justice.

Why not, sure. Though i have doubts about the whole “loving oneself” concept. I mean, i’ve rarely met people who loved themselves and were decent human beings, on the contrary i’ve often seen self-love be pushed to exert unjust power over others. Hating oneself is of course not the solution, but how to approach “self-love” in a way that’s not detrimental to others, and that has plenty of space for self-criticism/self-doubt as well?

PS: Sorry for misinterpreting your previous comment! Also, you may feel like checking out the works of Frantz Fanon. He was a psychiatrist and has written a lot on the topic of mental health in the face of oppression.

@DarudeDude
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I’m nobody to judge/forgive you, don’t let internet strangers ruin your day. If some forum takes a mental toll on you, don’t hesitate to step away from it and preserve your sanity :)

I’m sorry you felt like we had a heated argument. I did not intend to attack/hurt you, i was pointing out a more systemic issue and i personally did not feel like i was escalating in any way. Take care

@DarudeDude
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@DrKozaky
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@DarudeDude
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@ant
03M

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