The Most Unhelpful Books Ever

So lately I’ve been reading self-help books. Yeah, for real. I hate self-help books. I’m notorious for wanting to burn them all, and then write an anti-self-help book. But Lincoln is almost a year old, and as I find myself emerging into the bright light of reality, things in my life look a little…neglected. So I’ve decided that I would

But I didn’t know how. So I’m reading these books about it.

Let me tell you how much I hate self-help books.

I read these books, and realize how I’ve been doing everything wrong, and realize how perfect everything will be if I just start doing everything right, and then I try to do everything  right, and everything is still pretty much the same.

Yeah, I realize I have to give it more than 24 hours of effort. But I have no follow-through, because see, I’m a sanguine with just enough melancholic thrown in to feel really depressed about that.

So then after the inevitable 24 hours of failure, I pick up the book again, and instead of being inspired I find myself just marinating in all the horror stories used as illustrations to scare people away from being selfish piles of self-centerdness and thinking, “behold your future, self.

Then I mostly sit on the couch all day until I move to the chair, so I can look out the window at the grey, oppressive sky and wallow in the pathetic fallacy.

Maybe later I’ll make chocolate chip cookies while feeling sorry for myself. Or burn these stupid books.


  • CTLW83

    You could burn the books to BAKE the cookies. Double win!

  • AMoniqueOcampo

    I don’t advocate book burning, but feel free to recycle those books!

  • Your Godmother

    I vote for the cookies.

  • Melody

    I think you ought to write that anti-self help book. It needs to be funny, because most self-help books are humorless. Except one of them, “The Games People Play”, from a number of years ago, was pretty funny. Who wouldn’t love games like “State Hospital”, “Look What You Made Me Do”, and “Wooden Leg”? I get the Oprah Magazine, and most of the time I like it, but sometimes the relentless self-improvement theme gets wearying. It’s getting so sometimes I think, realistically, this is as good as it’s gonna get. I’m probably not going to be richer, prettier, thinner, more organized. And that’s okay, it is what it is. Not that one should stop striving in a spiritual way; but if God loves us the way we are, why can’t we love ourselves?

  • Nancy

    I am overwhelmed by self-help books too. Mainly because if I could help myself, I wouldn’t need the book, right? In the last few years, I’ve just decided to try doing one thing differently (drink tea instead of a sugary drink in the afternoon, read one chapter of the Bible to my older kids during after-school snack, etc.) I can maintain one thing, and when that becomes a habit, then I can tackle something else. Hope you will consider being kind to yourself — less “I should be ______”, and more “no one will die if I don’t ______”

  • Mark.

    I think that everyone should read the original self-help book: Self-Help, by Samuel Smiles. That should do it for a lifetime: no need to read others. I think I have a copy somewhere I can mail to you, or else you can get a copy on line for free (pretty sure that Project Gutenberg and others have it). 1859: the time was ripe for it.