Yer self-help books

Talk to me about self-help stuff.

Are you an arch sceptic about it all? Have you read any that you legit think made your life better? I’m interested because beyond the world of dickhead Petersons there are presumably non-snake-oil endeavours out there…

Have you self-helped?

I don’t think I totally understand what categorises something as a ‘self help’ book really.

Do they have to be quite woolly and vague? Positive attitude as a fix for stuff sort of thing?

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Doesn’t have to be that at all - I think for the purposes of this thread it needs to be relatively on the nose in its intentions in helping you change your life. So not for instance an autobiography that you connected with emotionally (although obv anecdotes of that nature are v welcome).

Not got any self-help books but I do have about 700 uncategorised screenshots of self-help Instagram reposts of TikToks, if that helps at all

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have benefitted from quite a few but usually more leaning towards buddhism / meditation / living in the moment type things


Never really read any but I find them unreasonably annoying and interpret their popularity as a sign of society becoming more individualistic. Get a bit worked up whenever I see people reading that ugly orange ‘How Not To Give a F*ck’ book. Hate how every station / airport bookshop seems to have a big section with those kind of books these days. Some of them are probably helpful though, dunno


Always been interested by the Allen Carr books about stopping smoking etc just because so many people say they’re incredible. I don’t need to stop smoking though so haven’t read it. I think he does a drinking one too but I’m not ready for that yet.

Lots of overlap with business success books, the whole industry is geared towards making you a happier, healthier, but crucially more productive member of society.


I highly recommend Oliver Burkeman. He’s definitely not a snake oil salesman and is an excellent way of sorting out the snake oil from the good stuff.

My favourite book of his is The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking

I’ve always had an interest in psychology and trying to figure out how my stupid brain actually works because it drives me crazy. Mainly, why do I do things that I know will make me unhappy (like Twitter doom scrolling) and avoid doing things that I know will make me happy (like going for a run).


I think a lot of the ‘mainstream’ self-help books (I’m talking the techbro stuff like Atomic Habits or Deep Work) feel like a 4-page blog post that has been stretched to 300 pages.

I really like Oliver Burkeman, but I think that’s a bit less self-help and a bit more sort of observational or something idk.


I got curious enough to actually read this piece of shit. Got me so worked up every time I read it, took me forever to finish it. I actively hated the author by the end. I’m convinced this book is popular because of the title / cover art alone.

(Obviously this is all just research for my forthcoming work The Wholesome Alpha Vol. 1:Muscle & Hustle )

Years ago my oldest brother convinced me to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Another piece of shit book written by piece of shit snake oil bullshit merchants. Damn, the whole self-help genre is so fucked, the way that so many people see it as an opportunity to monetise other people’s vulnerabilities.

The If Books Could Kill podcast is great, and did a fantastic episode on Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Turned out the story around it and the author was even worse than I could have contemplated, fuck that guy.


I’d never even heard of this guy before that recent This American Life episode about stopping smoking. It was an interesting listen.

I tried to read a parenting book aimed at new dads shortly before my first was born. Maybe not quite self help but in the same sort of space, was billed as being no bullshit and just an honest take on things.

First page of the book was literally: “When you find out your partner is pregnant, all men have one immediate question: is it mine?”

Was happy to give it up at that point.


Not a self help book as such but for any cis male I’d strongly recommend Bell Hooks’ The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love. It definitely changed my attitudes on some stuff (for the better!) and helped me dig into behaviours that I wasn’t happy with. I wish that I’d read it earlier in life, but hey ho. I think someone on DiS has posted about it before?


Incredible book, came away with so many new perspectives on things.

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Have read a Philippa Perry one about parenting which are good mainly for reassurance that all teenagers are horrible at times and just keep at it :rofl:

MrS gave up smoking from Reading the Carr one. Does seem to work…

Was just about to reply the same. I thought the interview with the CEO who took over the organisation after his death was fascinating for all the wrong reasons.

I get that with behaviour change stuff, there’s a lot unknown or unexplained, that if it works it works, and even if it sounds like pseudoscience then if the end result helps some people with concrete outcomes then it’s good enough…but his absolute rejection of established scientific conventions about the physical effects of nicotene whilst in the same sentence confessing that he knew nothing at all about the science, hadn’t read any academic studies and had no interest in that side of things made it sound like a grift. We’re the good guys, why are you questioning us?

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Half read a good one about relationships and self esteem etc, it talked about the drama triangle and the ways in which we’re too hard (I’m so lazy for oversleeping!) or too soft on ourselves (well I might as well not get up at all now). Really helpful at the time as I was in quite a mess.

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