As the final post in my How to Choose Non-Fiction series, I present to you the most cringed upon genre, Self-Help. It takes a lot of confidence to walk over the Self-Help aisle at the bookstore, because it just seemed that there is something not right about you, that you need some pyscho-talk to yourself. Allow me to brush off that impression. Self-Help is the genre that had helped millions by emulating the techniques and practices from the books they read. How do you expect yourself to have a one-to-one session with a successful person, if not by reading the book he had written?
In addition to that, Self-Help books aren’t those type that promises that you can be a millionaire in 45 days, with all the pep-talk that you can do it, you can do it, you can do it – and confetti falling from out of nowhere. That’s propaganda BS from publishers trying to make money out of you naïvety. Self-Help are the books that let you become the best version of yourself. The people who dare enough to visit the Self-Help shelves, are the ones nearing this attainment. Because they identified a flaw in their selves (because everyone thinks themselves perfect!) and is looking for a way to address it.
In my personal experience with reading Self-Help, nothing much happens if you don’t put the theories into action. Self-Help books could merely be books about the things you already know but don’t do, and that’s a shame. In my heart of hearts, I do believe reading Self-Help books is the first step in acknowledging that your circumstances don’t change unless you do. In order to ease your selection in the Self-Help section, I would breakdown the entire genre to three main niches and I would also recommend the best reading in that niche.
NUMBER 1: TIME MANAGEMENT
Time is free and yet it is our most valuable asset. Everyone is given the exact amount everyday and yet its impact is not the same. Most successful people are the masters of their time or they have learnt the art of using their time effectively. Most successful people spend time on things that matter and sees time as an investment, rather than a hand that tells you your schedule. Ultimately, how you spend your time is how you spend you life!
The book I recommend to read about time management is the one by Brian Tracy because he breaks down time management into the 10 most important aspects of our lives – family, career, relaxation, income improvement and others. Effective how-tos and strategies are placed according to the aforementioned aspects, including the results of practicing your best time management skill in your life. I would definitely recommend this book to those who feel overwhelmed by tasks and responsibilities and need to take a step back to assess their priorities.
NUMBER 2: PRODUCTIVITY
This book by Stephen R. Covey is a classic and every household should own one copy. Although this book is about character building, and not about making more money – I believe this is the handbook to Productivity because without solid character to base upon, no business would last. For example, we see more and more people going up the ladder just by taking orders without questioning the value of the work they’re doing – please know that there is no such thing as a zero-sum game and the journey of life is bigger than just a temporary bump in your paycheck.
Winners in life allow others to win as well because they know human relationships is for the long run and it is more effective to live in agreement, rather than playing the win-lose game. Personally, I find this book a gem because it encourages you to act in harmony with your values rather than giving-in to external pressure. There is a lot to digest (a lot about values!) in this book, so make sure you are ready for change when you pick this up so that you make the most out of it.
NUMBER 3: FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
Other than managing your time well and having solid values, managing your finances well is also key to living a beautiful life. The Richest Man in Babylon distills the best personal financial advice in the form of a fable, because personal finance advice is best narrated as a story. The book is less than 150 pages and does not contain complex financial terms to make you save and earn more money. Although a lot of investment theories have been formed since this book was written in the 1920s, the advice from this book still stands.
I would recommend this book to everyone too and to keep a copy at home so that it not only benefits you, it would benefit somebody else as well.
I hope my breaking down Self-Help into smaller niches helps you with making you book decisions. Remember, it is always about reading something that you are interested in, authored by good writers and sits well with your frame of mind. We have come to the last post of the How to Choose Non-Fiction series, do let me know if you would like more of this or something else – any feedback is welcome, either good or bad.