Why Most Self-Help Books are Garbage

I try to read at least one book per week. It doesn’t always happen, but I try. While I love sci-fi and other fiction, I always find myself drawn to non-fiction so the majority of these books are from the self-help category. I don’t know what it is that draws me in – perhaps the quick fix, answer to all my prayers, one missing ingredient that’s keeping me from my dreams – but I find them fascinating. I also find these books to be fun – sort of like a treasure hunt – as I search for those useful morsels that I can apply to my own situation.

But with more and more of these books hitting the stores each week, the quality of the books (and their material) has dropped significantly. I’m finding it more difficult to not only find useful information, but actually getting through the book. I’ve noticed that many of these books use a similar format – a breakdown of the content of their book into a few distinct categories. As you read along, you’ll probably notice that many of the recent books you’ve read use this very same formula. So without further ado, here’s the breakdown of major parts of today’s self-help books:

How to Be Liked

You’ve probably heard the infamous phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know” – the phrase is true to some extent. In the extreme case, you have the incompetent and under-qualified son or daughter that takes over the family business. More commonly, someone who is likable or able to communicate a connection between themselves and the decision maker is able to land jobs or clients despite competing with others who have stronger qualifications.

Finding a connection such as attending the same school, growing up in the same small town or having a similar hobby is an easy way to create instant rapport. Equally as helpful is having a personal connection such as a family relationship or mutual friend or associate. Sometimes, we don’t have these connections but there’s something else that can tip the odds in our favor: likability.

On Being Shy

I have a confession to make: I’ve spent the majority of my life being shy. When I was a kid having to meet new people – adults especially, but even kids – was a challenge for me. I grew out of it in high school and college but then when it was time for me to hit the workforce, it came back.

When Words Take on a Life of Their Own

Growing up, I had a bad habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Sometimes it was because I lacked tact and good judgment. Other times, I just used words that could be taken a multitude of ways depending on the listener’s perspective. While most of us outgrow the first scenario, the second one is little more difficult to avoid. In fact, I have a humorous story to share about me making this very mistake just a few years ago.

Parents Should Act Like Parents

If you’ve even been in a public place (such as a restaurant, movie theater or mall) around teenagers and you’re older than twenty-five, you’ve probably noticed that they can get quite obnoxious. I was reminded of this over the weekend when I went out to see a movie that a couple dozen teens were also interested in – and it made me appreciate and see the value in the premium theater that doesn’t allow people under 21. While I was once an obnoxious teenager myself (and it wasn’t that long ago), I remember my peers and I having at least some respect for our elders, whether they were strangers or our parents.

Three Ways to Close Gaps in Your Resume

As any job seeker that has been unemployed for an extended period of time will tell you, the biggest challenge they face is dealing with gaps in their resumes. These gaps could happen for a number of reasons: unable to find work, raising a family, caring for sick relative, taking time off for various reasons, etc…. The problem is that despite many employers having gone through these situations themselves, many see these gaps as liabilities and view them differently from when they were on your side of the desk.