From Book Snob to Self-Help Junkie

Posted in self help by Steph Auteri on September 30, 2007
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pile of books.

In Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, poor Bridge realized that her plethora of self help manuals were scaring off the men-folk, and so she dumped them all (the books, not the men). In the forthcoming Practically Perfect in Every Way: My Misadventures Through the World of Self-Help — and Back, the author, Jennifer Niesslein, embarks upon a self-help journey, eventually realizing that these books aren’t improving her life but are, in fact, making her feel worse!

With such popular literature and feminist discourse on the market, it’s no wonder the genre gets such a bad rap, with self-help-obsessives skulking about the self improvement sections of their local book stores, keeping an eye out for sneering passers-by or would-be blackmailers.

Oh, the shame I’ve felt when slipping a copy of Quarterlife Crisis into my pile of Tom Robbins and Barbara Kingsolver novels! How I feared being labeled a freelance hack upon my purchases of The Well-Fed Writer and its sequel!

The thing is, I had a self-help appreciation transformation during a pretty dark time a few years back, when Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff gave me a new outlook on life. Since then, I’ve been practically inhaling these books, buying them up quick for advice on low libido, financial self-sufficiency, the freelance life, and more. And each one makes me feel more clear-headed and optimistic about my prospects and master plans.

Heck, I even started working on mental health titles at my last full time job, poring through the more trade-y titles during quiet times at professional conferences, and I still review a multitude of books in the genre for Publishers Weekly.

What I’m trying to say is: self-help helped me and, with a bit of guidance, I’m hoping it can help you too.

P.S. If you’re too embarrassed to pick up these books in public, there’s always Amazon. Thank god for that.