Self help books are all over the world today. There are dozens, hundreds, nope, actually thousands of books written on just about every single topic imaginable.
Unfortunately for the people who actually want help, a lot of these books are usually written by quack authors who want nothing more than to capitalize on a current rave, or perhaps to have the credentials of having written a book added to their resumes. These self proclaimed experts aren’t really out to help anyone but themselves.
So, if you want to look for a decent self help book it can get pretty overwhelming. Just by hopping over to your local bookstore you’ll suddenly find yourself confronted by shelves upon shelves of assorted books all dealing with what you want to know.
The question is, how do you find out which one will be a good selection? Here are a few time proven tips taken from the most reliable source known to the reading consumer public: other book buyers and readers themselves.
If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely isn’t – avoid books offering miracle solutions to things and the archetypical 3-Easy-Steps type of books. The best solutions are simple, and don’t require flashy titles and claims of instant results to work.
We all know what the tone of the average “sweet deal” from a salesman is like. If the book’s title and writeup take a similar tone, drop it like a hot rock, it’s all just commercialism talking. Go for books that take a factual approach and avoid sensationalism. These types will usually yield more pertinent information on your chosen subject.
Knowledge on a subject doesn’t impart skills in teaching it – when skimming over a book, remember that intelligence and wisdom are two completely separate things. Some authors can be full of knowledge about a given subject but will royally stink when trying to teach someone about it.
Browse the book before buying it, assuming the store has open copies. Avoid books that are crammed full of information and details but are written in a haphazard fashion. The important thing is that you understand what the author is saying and can easily adapt the information given.
Being Famous in NOT an indicator of expertise – there are tons of self help books out there written by famous personalities. Unfortunately, fame does not impart skill in everything.
If you want to buy a self help book by a famous author, actor, media personality, or whatever, at least make sure that it’s a book that deals with something the person’s actually known for being good at. For example, a cook book that’s written by a world class athlete may help you get more fit, but wouldn’t you rather get one written by a chef and dietician?
Pay special attention to authors who’ve Walked the Walk – one of the best buys you can get on a self help book is to look for ones by authors whose credentials include not only academic studies on the subject, but actual practical application on it.
If you dig deeply you’ll find that a large number of self help books are made by people who know a lot about a subject, but have never really practiced it themselves. The knowledge imparted by experience is far deeper than that of simple academic learning, and you should keep an eye out for these gems.
Background checks always help – when in doubt, check the credentials of the author first. While it’s true that most book publishers require a factual representation of the author’s credentials in the form of their degrees and other books they’ve written, there are still a few out there who take, how do we put this,
“Creative license” with their credentials. It never hurts to check on the internet and make sure that the author is as legit as the write up makes him or her out to be.
Check forums and websites – lastly, go on websites and forums and ask the opinion of other people who’ve bought the book or others like it by the same author.
You’ll likely get mixed reviews from people with varying opinions, but if you keep a good feel on the forums for who’s reliable to talk to and avoid both the psycho fanboys and the cynical flamers, you’ll wind up with a good idea of the book’s real worth.