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Self-help for sceptics, but not cynics
on 9 January 2011
I hate self-help books. Well, that's not quite true. I'm drawn to the idea of reading a book that will make me a better person, more compassionate and patient, more productive. Invariably, however, when I open the pages of one I'm put off by the zealotry, the patronising and trite aphorisms and the uncomfortable moral underpinnings of most self-help philosophies.
This book escapes those charges. It is fantastic for its critical but insightful survey of the self-help genre. It is sceptical, rather than cynical, and I mean that in the best possible way. The central message is not that self-improvement is impossible, rather that self-improvement is incremental. Reading it was like experiencing a series of miniature-epiphanies, rather than a road to Damascus conversion that has erased my messy, procrastinating, irritable former self.
This book might change your life, but - like the column - only a tiny bit at a time.