What are self-help books? Can they really help people?

What are self-help books? Can they really help people?

Elliot L'Angelier Nov 15, 2018 2 comments

What are self-help books and why they are not for everyone? Learn the dirty secrets of this industry and how to use self-help books for your improvement. and personal development. 

So, what are self-help books?

Here’s why most people never become better at dating even though they spend hundreds of dollars on self-help books, webinars, and courses. What are self-help books? It is one of the most popular book categories. They are marketed as easy tools for personal development, health, and business, can they really help people?

However, there’s something no one talks about behind the multimillion-dollar industry of self-help books, online courses, and seminars. They rarely help. I love self-help books and know what self-help books can be. I’ve read hundreds of them in my lifetime. They can be life-changing and mind-opening but not all of them and not for all of us. 

Who buys self-help books?

A lot of men these days struggle to find a partner, or even go out on dates and approach different women. It’s a serious issue that involves everything from a person’s childhood, social status, and work, to his confidence and self-esteem. 

This is precisely what many individuals and book publishers aim to exploit. They take advantage of a crucial problem men have. I don’t mean that women have it easy, but it’s a different matter that we won’t go into details in this chapter. 

Most self-help book buyers are men and most fiction readers are women. We could speculate that men are under higher amounts of stress and a lot more is expected from them.

Don’t trust the media

what are self-help books

The media wants to convince us that picking up women is easy. That’s why all these YouTube “pranks” are so successful. Boys pull their phones out, and they get the girl’s number every time. If you haven’t seen any of these clips, it seems to work effortlessly for whoever is doing it. 

The truth is that those situations have nothing to do with real life, since knowing there’s a hidden camera helps guys with their performance. They risk nothing because at any moment they can say “it’s a joke, there’s the camera,” and they won’t feel embarrassed. 

Even if they get rejected, it’s not emotionally challenging because they’re not attracted to these girls, nor they care about their answer. In reality, if you like a girl and you want to get her number, her rejection will hurt your ego. 

Often, they don’t help

It’s difficult enough to approach somebody since your mind will try to convince you it’s not worth it. The negative feedback of rejection can be very painful to some people. This is where self-help books come in, promising you “secret tips and tricks” that will help you sleep with any woman you want! 

Who wouldn’t pay $10 or $20 to learn these powerful techniques? Unfortunately, some “pro” courses can cost over $1000, but their value is limited if not worthless. 

What people don't realize is that those books and videos they watch are the reason they can’t get laid. Often you will read a self-help book or take an online course on dating and hookups, only to fail to use the suggested methods. 

For some reason, they don’t seem very helpful despite all the success stories and testimonies. This gives your mind a confirmation that “you can't do it” and “you’re not good enough.” And you won't be able to do it no matter how many books you read on that subject. 

Here’s why

What you lack is not just self-confidence. You probably do but what you lack the most is understanding of the mind. No one will help you with that for $10, $100, even $1000. It requires work. But you don't want to do the work; you want to find a shortcut. Self-help books, webinars, courses, secret methods, those are all shortcuts. Somewhat motivational but mostly entertaining content. 

They are easy to sell because they know what you need to hear. It’s not advice or information on the matter; it’s a promise that it won’t be hard. “Anybody can do it,” they claim. What are self-help books, but a promise that we can all improve our lives?

I’m sorry to break it to you, but that is not how it works. Only a few people can get something from these books and make it useful while most readers won’t take the necessary action. 

What are self-help books? Fiction or non-fiction?

what are self-help books

For most, a self-help book is just as any other fiction novel that tells a story far from our reach and reality. A story about a hero who manages to fight the ego, conquer the mind, and challenge his beliefs. But that’s not you. 

Your hero watches movies and TV shows, he plays way too many video games and thinks that women will eat him alive. What are self-help books? Are they fiction or non-fiction literature? Perhaps many people think they are non-fiction, but the treat them as fiction.

If you recognize yourself in the above example, don’t blame society. It may be society’s fault we have become addicted to easy solutions, but it’s not their fault you choose to continue living this way. One thing that many self-help books point out that is true is that you, and only you, can change your reality for the better. 

You must do the work

It’s not enough for someone to show you the right path, you have to walk it. That’s not a simple task because life has become surprisingly easy and unchallenging for humans. The moment we need to step out of our comfort zone, we back down. 

We do this with our health, education, work, and now relationships. Those who can’t find a partner can always pay for sex or watch porn. That is a practice entirely suitable for the modern man. After all “women don’t know what they want, and they only care about money,” is what some may say to justify their incompetence. 

Control the mind

Start observing your thoughts more carefully. Don’t let your thought process be random and unrestrainable. Practice mindfulness, not only by meditation but mostly through being aware of what you think, believe, and experience. 

Once you learn to tame the wild horse your mind is, you will find this method to be life-changing. Men don’t realize what their problem is, and they focus on the wrong issues. 

If you ever had a friend in your life, then you know how to talk to women. But most of us have a false ideology about women and damaging beliefs about relationships. 

We are all unique

what are self-help books

Dating is not a step-by-step process. It involves a lot of feelings, emotions, and variables. It requires letting go of some bad habits, making compromises, and being able to walk in your partner’s shoes. If there were correct guidance or a method to follow, each relationship would look the same. 

Both men and women experience the time with each partner in an entirely new way every single time. Some people move in together after dating for two months; others would wait a year. Some men would propose marriage to their lovers after knowing them for six months while others will never even think about it after living with someone for ten years. 

People are different. None of these examples is better or worse than the other. What works for some people may not work for other, but we need to understand the fundamentals of the mind. 

Beware of the mind

The biggest manipulator in your life is your own mind. Psychologists have known this for years, and they use it to assist movie producers, musicians, salespeople, etc. Movies, for example, can make us feel sad, lonely, sympathetic, and they can do that with almost no effort. 

This is precisely how our biases work. They manipulate the way we see the world and how we act in certain circumstances. The stories we tell ourselves dictate how we live, what we do, and how we feel. 

There may be a story that tells us we are not good enough; an opposite story tells us we are better than everyone else; a third one may say that we will never make someone fall in love with us. 

Whatever the stories that play in our heads are, they may be true, and they may be false. Either way, understand that the mind isn’t always right, we are not always right. The brain doesn’t always know what’s best for us, but it will act in the way it thinks is appropriate. 

We must learn to be aware of this and adjust our thoughts to go towards the long-term goals, not temporary benefits.

Your beliefs matter

Our mind has its own ways it sees the world, its own methods of doing things. They can be exploited by others and most desirably by ourselves. It can make you believe anything in the world. 

We have our belief systems. Some of them are good, some are bad, some are correct, others are not. These beliefs can be way different than what is essentially true. So, what are self-help books and how can they help with your beliefs?

When you believe you’re not good enough; when you believe you’re incapable; if you believe you don’t have the necessary skills or experience; when you believe you can’t attract any women, when you believe you’ll get rejected if you try; when you believe you’re not good at business – you are being deceived by your mind in the same manner an illusionist tricks his audience.

Change your mindset

what are self-help books

Even if you try to use someone else’s method for picking up girls or doing business, how would you succeed without changing your mindset? This is where you should start. Business school is important, books can teach you a lot, seminars are valuable, but if you skip the first step of the process, you’ll always end up where you started. 

Don’t fall for the trap of reading one book after another and dry learning different techniques. So many people will try to get their hands on every book ever published on the topic they want to improve on. They’ll watch online courses, sign up for each webinar, like Facebook groups about it, join forums. 

But this isn’t how you grow and progress. Go out and experience whatever was written in those books. Practice what you’ve learned. Put the down the book after the first chapter and follow the author’s ideas. You don’t need everyone’s perspective and opinion. 

Final thoughts on self-help books

A single book can change your life if you know how to use it. Pause the reading, focus on the living.

If you want to learn more about personal development, relationships, dating, and the male confidence and psyche, pre-order my book: “How to get HER & your shit together.

Subscribe to my newsletter, and thank you for reading “What are self-help books? And can they really help people?”

Elliot L’Angelier.



11 months ago

Thank you


Steven P.

1 year ago

Great article, Elliott. I totally agree with your point of view. Cheers, mate.


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