Self Help Yourself…to this delicious buffet

8 Apr

I cringe when I see others with self-help books. Do you seriously need the Modern Girls Guide to Life or Essential Manners for Men to tell you how to lead your life? Pa-thetic, I will say…until I flip open one of those bad boys in hardback, and I am hooked just like you. Wag your “you’re-a-hypocrite” finger at me. There’s something about bulleted and top-ten lists that are just irresistible. Self-help books are meant to be digestible — short, easy-to-read, and scannable material for self improvement. Only more than half the time, you never follow-through with what the book says.

I did something remarkable a few months ago. I bought not one but two self-help books. God help me.

Here’s a quick take on both.

Linchpin probably doesn’t count as a self-help book. It’s more of a motivational speech and pep talk together wrapped in book form. Fascinating though is that the author Seth Godin promotes everyone becoming artists. You mean liberal artists, Seth? Well, pretty close. Seth’s version of an artists leads and solves interesting problems. But the main part of being an artist is that you don’t have a map. Rather, you must make your own map. Map-making (forging your own path), combined with exerting emotional labor, makes you and your work indispensable (or rather someone has to hire you). This book has got liberal artists written all over it. Read this shit.

IWTYTBR is a much more practical book on finance. In the advice post, one key was “learn how to take care of your money.” This is the book to walk you through that in real terms. In the last month alone, I have opened a Roth IRA (retirement account), raised my credit limit on my credit card, and opened a high-yield checking account. He also goes through buying a car, negotiating salaries, spending habits, credit scores, and scary investing. My favorite section is on “conscious spending” because Ramit’s plan is not to tell you to stop doing what you like (lattes at the cafe, clothes, books, movies, gadgets, etc.). Instead, he recommends spending on what you actually want and ruthlessly cutting costs on everything else. You’re happy and you save money. Much more logical than torturing yourself with each purchase. This is a great book to be your guide to the financial stuff. Light on health insurance spending but I’ll let that slide.

What kind of self-help books have you read? Please don’t say What Color is Your Parachute?


3 Responses to “Self Help Yourself…to this delicious buffet”

  1. Chelsea April 8, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    Well, since you know I have “The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life,” you can totally flip it open when you feel the urge! And some people’s parents buy it for them for graduation and then guilt trip them into bringing it to their new place 😛

  2. Jennifer Porter April 23, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    Add one to the “self help” books that actually help — Getting From College To Career by Lindsay Pollak. She’s articulate, funny, crisp and on-target. Check it out.


  1. Generosity « - April 27, 2010

    […] have been dishing a bunch of “career advice” on this site, but I want to come back to one of the core tenants of why this site was […]

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