Proposal: Are self-help books actually effective?

When discussing Self-help, many would say either the journey or the results are what matter the most. However, not many people go out of their way to practice self-help in any aspect. The main reason is people are under the impression that it is time-consuming, especially for people who have a daily jobs such as parenting. Others believe in meditation or giving self-time is a waste of time in general. As a result, many people are left with the impression that techniques such as time away, meditation, and others are solely for a certain type of audience.

Everyone is rushing to get from point A to B within a time frame, even in America where self-help is prominent and considered a growing business for the coming years. It is estimated to be a billion-dollar business, yet the ‘pitch’ that drives the sale of these books, sessions, and events are tips and tricks to becoming ‘perfect’ in terms of status, mentally, and career-wise. Many purposefully use this concept because many believe if it is possible to reach such a level then they must find out. As a result, when a person does not obtain the answer it leaves a bitter aftertaste of only being provided with information they already know from the start. Hence considered an unsuccessful experience.

Murphy, Brooke. “Review: ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a f*Ck’.” Independent Australia, 3 Sept. 2017,,10679. 


This is entirely a review on the book ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uck’, by Mark Manson and how to compare to other authors takes a different turn in ‘bettering’ self. This review has even compared the book to some of the books we have discussed in class such as The Secret and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People have been stated to focus solely on the positive aspect while this text gives a more ‘realistic’ touch of self-help. In this case, “no new; needed information but rather connect to a quote ‘if you don’t stop and look around you might miss it, which basically mentions the importance of happiness or the ‘perfect’ objective is not always true. Brooke states the following, “ I am not entitled to anything! Usually, I stick to self-development books that focus on how to become a successful superstar”. This review will definitely help and connect with a blog post-Mark Manson made towards his book.


Lindsay Myers, MBA. “The Self-Help Industry Helps Itself to Billions of Dollars.” Brain Blogger The SelfHelp Industry Helps Itself to Billions of Dollars Comments,

This article goes in-depth as to the reasons why the self-help genre is able to profit over billions of dollars. It also pinpoints a consistent petter that publishers/authors would act in order to project their ideas to a wide range of audiences. For instance, in the text, the following researchers (Norah Dumbar and Gordon Abra) cite Rosan for the following, “The fact that people are free to read all or only part of a particular book and follow the book’s advice to varying degrees makes it difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of self-help books for their therapeutic value.” the mention of using bibliotherapy when writing self-help is the main concept to obtaining profit in the long run because it is based on personal thoughts and not much scientifical proof, therefore no argument about being ‘false advertisement’ can be proven. Another concept is the determination of whether or not self-help books are effective in the term. A barrier that comes from the books is the fact they overlap with other books which makes a consumer need to buy the books in order to reach the level of understanding and satisfaction.

KimreyHi, Lisa. “Barriers to Self-Care & How to Deal with Them.” My Life Nurse, 19 Aug. 2021,

While looking through this article I have found out that the writer is an RN nurse and focuses on the barrier when it comes to starting self-care. As many would assume the barrier for this genre mostly correlates to personal reasoning. Some of the common causes are the lack of motivation, feeling guilty about taking time to care for self, a lack of awareness, and many other reasoning. There are many factors that are discussed in the article that many people will experience either on a daily basis or from time to time. A quote that the article that stuck out to me was the following, “The old saying, you can’t pour from an empty cup applies well here”. This stood out to me because it technically refers to that one can’t help others if they themselves have yet to help themselves. It is just as important to ensure the self well-being is taken care of and is in a well mental state.


Parent Self Care. “Avoid Burnout by Challenging the Four Barriers to Self-Care.” Parent Self Care, Parent Self Care, 28 Feb. 2022,

The article focuses more on parents and the importance of their needing to partake in the self-help in order to do their job effectively as parents. The four matter that is discussed as a form of the barrier is guilt, Lack of time, Unrealistic expectation, and last of all change. The reason it is mainly important for them to join in this lifestyle is to not only ensure they are in a well mental state but also to ensure they are able to maintain a positive relationship with their children. For instance, it states the following, “I know I’m a more flexible, calm, and playful parent when I take time to fill my own cup”. Not only does this article go in-depth about the importance of self-help but it also provides tips and tricks to ensure that they are manageable to do with the limited timeframe parents set for themselves in order to see the result and positive change.


Mark Manson. “5 Problems with the Self-Help Industry.” Mark Manson, Mark Manson, 20 Jan. 2022,

For this article, I found it quite interesting that this person not only wrote an article about the problems of self-help but is also an author of a self-help book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, and Everything is Fucked. Not only do I find the name of the books hilarious but they stand out solely on the title. Regardless, He goes in-depth as to why some people may be successful when starting the self-help genre which being the topic is not scientifically supported in certain aspects. After all, most of the matters discussed are feeling and spiritual in a sense. A reason I found quite interesting in the article is how he refers to self-help as a contradiction, for he states the following ‘If you are looking to replace who you are with something else, then you will never succeed…get sucked up into the nonsense and pseudo-science”. Overall, I believe this article would help me in terms of the impression people have toward self-help when starting it and why many tend to either quit or fail on getting the results desired.

Jacob, Carmen. “Why Self Help Books Are Good? (Great Advice from Experts).” UpJourney, 2 Apr. 2021,

This article brings up points as to how and why self-help benefit people in term of seeing fragments of positive change in their lives. For instance, it discusses how the use of tone and the format of the books may not lead to a ‘cure’ immediately but gives a technique people can use in order to minimize the negative thinking in have to control over one’s mindset. The reason I decided to choose this article is to act as a counterargument in terms of self-help books being successful in the ‘job’ that has been assigned. While many of the articles picked have discussed the irony of them this article discusses the lack of credibility of not being ‘accurate’ yet is considered successful do to the creation and ind=formation people would want to hear. Another thing the text mention how these books act as a guide.