Have I mentioned how much I love self-help books. Love ’em. I think of myself as a skeptical being, but I do love to be given advice by someone I don’t have to actually talk to. I gave then up at one point, for quite a while, but I’ve been back on them for some years now. I think it was Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project that rekindled my love. Closely followed by The Happiness Trap by Dr Russ Harris. Clearly I had a vague idea that reading books could somehow help me to be happy. Great books, I recommend both of them (and both of their authors) highly.
Since then I’ve read heaps of self-help books. Books on parenting, on positive psychology, on planning and procrastination and writing and personality and weight-loss and nutrition and exercise.
None of these books has dramatically changed my life, if I’m honest. There has been no overnight transformation, no magical epiphany, no sudden and lasting happiness.
But actually, there has been something. A shift – faltering and slow – in the way I think. New ideas, new things to try, new recognition of old problems, new enthusiasm to develop into something better.
A few weeks ago I read a lovely little book by a blogger whom I have admired and followed for a while, Kelly Exeter. Clearly Kelly does not need an introduction from me – but if you’re new to this blogging thing and you have somehow stumbled on me before you’ve met her, then go check her out. She’s nothing like me, she’s really got herself together (or if she hasn’t she fakes it well). But she has important stuff to say, and she says some of it in this little book of hers, entitled Your Best Year Yet.
So that’s my new project. I’m about to turn 42, and I have determined that my 43rd year will be, in fact, my best year yet. I won’t bore you with all the details, because I have to figure out how to link to Kelly’s site and then I need to go to bed. And anyway, there’s plenty of time. And anyway, I haven’t completely worked it out yet. But I suspect that self-help books will form part of it.
So, in case you are wondering what I’ve been reading lately – I’ve just finished The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen, which I enjoyed very much. In a nutshell it says that if you want to do something with your life then you have to actually do it. Who knew? But Jeff Olsen says it much more eloquently and elegantly than that, and I got a fair bit out of it.
I’m now reading Life in Half a Second by Matthew Michalewicz. This was recommended, possibly by the Kelly Exeter that I keep banging on about (I sound like such a fan-girl!), but to be honest I’m not getting into it. Possibly it’s message is too similar to The Slight Edge – but also it has a bit of a melodramatic, “time is running out”, “do something quick” vibe to it which mostly just makes me tired.
Do you read self-help books? Any recommendations for me?