Say the words “Self Help” to a fellow bibliophile and you may either be faced with glazed-over eyes or an empty space where that person once stood.
I’m certainly no book snob. I will read any and everything (within reason!) and especially something which I think can be so positive and informative. When I was a bookseller, the self help section was the oft neglected section of the store. Customers seemed scared to approach and browse the books. I imagined that they thought they were going to be judged by other more ‘serious’ browsers. I was put in charge of ordering and merchandising for the section and so naturally I began to read more of the books so that I could make better-informed recommendations. I’ve grown to love some of these books (and authors) and I hope you will too.
Robert Greene’s book the ‘48 Laws of Power‘ is the first of his books that I read. I was hooked. There is a complete version and a concise version. Personally, I have read all of his ‘concise’ versions to dip my toe into his philosophies and I’d suggest doing the same if you are interested enough. The blurb of the book describes it as “…the definitive guide to modern manipulation.” I think that potentially sounds quite scary to some but I think there are certain lessons to be learnt and people and ideas to be wary of.
One of his “Laws” (specifically Law 13) reads,
“When asking for help, appeal to people’s self interest, never to their mercy or gratitude.”
I particularly enjoy the historical references to illustrate his ideas and found these books an interesting read. I think they should not be read too seriously and may change the way you interact with others and value yourself and your time.
Other books by Robert Greene in my collection are:
- The Concise Mastery
- The Concise Art of Seduction – Not my favourite!
- The Concise 33 Strategies of War – Interesting advice that can be translated to almost every aspect of your life. I highly recommend this one!
I’ve read a few of his books and I like his tone of voice. It is a level of authority that you feel you can listen to. He ‘sounds’ like he has had some life experience and you feel like the little brother or sister at the end of his friendly and useful advice.
Out of all of his “Rules” books, at this stage in my life, I felt that the The Rules of Wealth was a good read with helpful tips of saving, investing and making money. I also mentioned this book in one of my earlier posts.
A couple of others that I have read and own (and occasionally dip into and out of) are:
Personally, I think that the best way to start work on any issue is to admit that there is a problem. If there is someone who you can trust to talk things through with, that’s great. However, a lot of people don’t feel as though they can talk to someone and prefer the privacy of a well-written book from which they can mull over their problems and receive impartial and non-judgmental advice.
(Disclaimer: I am not suggesting that anyone with any issues I would class as serious, should solely take advice from a book!)
Have you read any good self -improvement books recently? Or read any bad ones? Do tell!
I’m thinking that for every good self-help book that I have read, I’ve read one bad one. This smells like a round-up post of the future to me!