Self-help books sometimes get an undeserved bad rep, making readers feel embarrassed for reading one and causing people to not want to check them out. Personally, I think we should put this negative perception to rest. No matter the reason – divorce, grief, trauma, illnesses both physical and mental– everyone feels lost and in need of advice at some point or another. And sometimes it really feels like no one gets it.
Here is where books come in! (Don’t they always save the day?)
The authors on our card catalog display carry all different types of experience: some have degrees affirming that their advice is helpful and constructive, others have the life experience and relativity you need, and many just want to offer inspiration or courage to readers by recounting their own struggles and triumphs. There are also CD’s recommended for meditation and audiobooks.
The Mindful Way Through Depression by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, and we consistently see advertisements for pills and treatments to cure depression. But these authors offer a different approach: mindfulness. With a supplemental CD, this book offers anyone who suffers from depression methods to cope and exercises to find internal peace. Sharon Salzberg, author of various books on seeking happiness, describes this book as “an invaluable resource not only for those who suffer from depression, but for anyone familiar with the downward spiral of negative thinking and self-doubt. The authors of this book explore the reasons for depression and give us guidance and support, along with useful tools to find a way through it.”
To anyone who struggles with depression or suicidal thoughts: you don’t have to do this alone. Call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK or visit their website if you ever need someone to talk to.
Practically Perfect in Every Way by Jennifer Niesslein
For two years, Jennifer Niesslein – a successful magazine editor and parent – tried various self-help books and methods to see which, if any, made her feel more fulfilled. Niesslein didn’t just read the books, she really dedicated herself to these programs (much more wholeheartedly than I can safely say I would assert myself). She attempted everything from feng-shui-ing her home, to following the advice of Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Dr. Phil, to Dale Carnegie and “Dear Abby,” to Oprah and Cosmo magazine. Her writing is thoughtful and funny, covering topics such as finances, marriage, parenting, health, spirituality while making readers laugh and think. If you’re unsure where to start, Practically Perfect offers second-hand insight into some of the most well known self-help methods, so you can try a taste through Niesslein’s experiences to decide which sounds right for you.
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
Indie musician Amanda Palmer’s best-selling book is the memoir of an eclectic artist’s journey towards success. A continuation of the inspirational TED talk Palmer gave in 2013, this book teaches readers that it is okay, even advisable, to ask for help. “Whether it’s in the arts, at work, or in our relationships, we often resist asking not only because we’re afraid of rejection but also because we don’t even think we deserve what we’re asking for,” Palmer explains. But this isn’t your typical self-help book. Palmer details her younger days as a statuesque street performer in Harvard Square dressed as a white-faced bride – her first experience in the art of asking others for help – as well as some other quirky jobs she held prior to her success in music: stripper, ice cream shop attendant, and dominatrix. She goes onto explain how she ditched her major record label and asked her fans for help in kick starting her own album, which soon became Kickstarter’s most successful music launch to date. This book will not give you a day by day “happiness” regimen, but Palmer’s personal tone and wild stories will continue to inspire and motivate you long after you’ve finished reading.