Self-help can be defined in so many ways. There are countless books out there about the next way to improve your appearance, your mind, your productivity – you name what you want to help about yourself, I guarantee there is a book about it.
Sometimes, however, self-help books aren’t so blatant in their titles or even the nature of the book. I have most recently found that the best kind of self-help books aren’t the ones trying to get you to find a quick fix or give you six steps to change something about yourself; sometimes, they are the books that exist to educate and inform. The most helpful are the ones that do that with knowledge, data, and experience. And sometimes, you will find it when you least expect it.
I was just lucky enough to hap upon two of these. One of these was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – what an amazing book. In his book, Coelho never told me I have to view things this way or I have to do things that way to succeed or to help myself, but he told a story about a young man who experienced life he never imagined because he took risks, he listened to the greater powers of the world, and he trusted himself. If you’ve read it, you may remember the line, “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” It self-helped me to remembering what life is about.
The second book was The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. In her book, Teicholz didn’t tell me that I should eat this way or that I was disgusting if I ate something tagged as low-fat. Rather, she educated me with data, research, and science that points to the foods that I should be enjoying living my best life. She gave me concepts to think about and questions to consider. She dropped bombs of knowledge that encouraged me to not always trust every authority. I dug deeper into analysis in articles she wrote or was featured in The Epoch Times and The Washington Post. These self-helped me think more critically about the decisions I make.
When we’re trying to help ourselves – to improve our beings, sometimes, the books, blogs or otherwise where we think the information will most obviously be found are not the first places we should seek. Here’s to finding things in books, and in life, in places we least expect.