Self-Improvement Books

California / June 11, 2012 / by Amy
Self-Improvement Books

I have a confession to make. I’m an easy target when it comes to self-improvement books. Yes, I know, I’m one of those people who enjoys standing in the so-called ‘self-help’ section of bookshops, perusing the shelves. 

This isn’t because I’m in any particular need of self-help. I mean, yes, I could definitely benefit from a greater ability to be organized and sometimes I do lack motivation but I don’t have a desperate need to reform myself. But I think that’s exactly why I love that type of book. 

I will admit, the book that promises to get you organized in 15 minutes a day, or the one that vows you will become a far more optimistic person with just one session a week, is most likely to be a let-down. And once you’ve read one self-improvement book, some say you’ve read them all. 

This doesn’t stop me from rushing to see what new and previously undiscovered books that promise me eternal optimism I can find. I’m particularly drawn to books about optimism and the concept of calming the mind. 

I often find myself getting worked up by things that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t matter. That stress, I’ve come to realize, is entirely pointless most of the time. There’s no point worrying about something that I can’t change, something that might happen, or - and this happens more than I like to admit - worrying about whether or not I misspelled someone’s name in the email I just sent. 

I don’t misspell the names or dates but more often than not, I’m sitting think about whether I could possibly have sent it to the wrong person...

So the book that promises to be a supportive guide in my journey to a calm mind, a friendly demeanor (I really need to work on that one), and a reasonable optimism and motivational power really does draw me in. 

I must admit, I do learn quite a bit from the books, if not just from the discussions of scientific studies done on people’s habits and outlooks on life. I’ve always found the way the human brain works to be fascinating and it’s great to learn about why falling into bad habits is so easy and how to remedy them. 

Admittedly, reading these books has not made me a ball of human power and organizational skills. But for the time I’m reading them and the moments I look back and think about what I read, I really do feel more motivated and more empowered to change even a small thing in my day-to-day routine. Or lack thereof...

There are some books I’ve liked better than others. Some have been rather disappointing, filled with anecdote after anecdote with no real substance; a book that could be made up of a couple of pages consisting of the bullet points at the end of each chapter.  

Some have given me enough motivation and energy to change something small in my life, even if just for a while, and they’ve definitely given me tips and tricks that I know I want to put into good use one day... when I’m organized. 

I particularly enjoyed David Allen’s Getting Things Done. I loved that he explained his methods very clearly and that he reiterated the most important points so that it eventually stuck in even my not-so-with-it brain. 

Also, the tone of his book was great. He emphasized repeatedly that it’s not a question of implementing every single part of his method but rather, it’s up to each person to pick out what they feel is most relevant to them. 

It just made me feel that one day, by working at it little by little, I’d become a slightly more organized person. And I’m sure it’s working to a certain extent. Even the smallest change can make a difference and the more you change, the more you are able to get done. 

Having the knowledge about how to go about changing a routine or working to get into a routine in the first place really does help me think about why I do what I do and how I can be more productive and effective. 

And even if I’m not the most organized person yet, every time I remember to do something I learned from these books, I have a better chance of becoming a slightly calmer and more productive me. 

Are there any self-improvement books that you particularly enjoy? Do let me know and we can compare notes! I love hearing about what other people are reading and am always on the lookout for the next exciting additional to my collection. 

Photo Credit: Flickr:  photoverulam