Thursday, 4 June 2015

INVESTIGATION: Can books really fix everything? END OF WEEK ONE.

Last week, I announced that I was going to be spending the next four weeks investigating self-help books and their effectiveness. Surprisingly, a whole seven days have passed since that post (where has the time gone?!) so it's time for me to wrap up my first week!
Surprisingly, I didn't actually finish any self-help books this week. I believed it was going to be a super easy task and I would speed through loads of them, but these things actually take some thinking about to get through. The first book I decided to start was 'The Rules of Life' by Richard Templar, because I thought it was better to start off with a self-help book focusing on a wide range of topics, just to ease me in a bit more.
I can't do a full review yet, because I'm only just over halfway through, but I've noticed a few things about this self-help book, that I'm thinking can probably be applied to the others I will read over the next few weeks...
  1. The language is extremely convoluted, or should I say extremely, completely, utterly, one hundred percent definitely convoluted. Take the most simple statement you can imagine: 'Be nice'. It seems pretty easy to move straight on from that one, but the explanation behind the rule just keeps going and going and going!
  2. Everything is contradictory. Don't waste your life... but it's absolutely fine if you want to do nothing for half an hour a day to get some time for yourself! Not checking emails, not reading the newspaper, just sit in your garden and do absolutely nothing! Solid advice? It just seems as though they're attempting to max out on their profits by appealing to everyone - if you overtly agree with one piece of advice, your brain will push out the contradicting piece so that you will believe you agree with the principles that the author is setting up.
  3. If you've watched any children's movies, you probably already know the advice you'll be given. Ripping off sentiments such as 'Just keep swimming' from Dory in 'Finding Nemo' and 'Aim to be the very best at everything you do' sounding like a less exciting version of the Pokemon theme tune, I'd much rather have re-watched these classics if I'd realised their sentiments were going to be so closely replicated. 
  4. Some of this stuff is just completely illogical gobbledegook. An example of which is 'Failing is fine. Aiming for second best isn't.'. When I'm taking a test, I'd much rather get less than top marks than completely fail. When I'm running a marathon, I'd much rather get second place than fail. I think aiming for anywhere in the top five is an achievement really - failure isn't something you should concede to if you cannot be the very best (see, again with the Pokemon!). 
  5. A couple of these things actually make sense. I'm currently on Rule 55 of 'The Rules of Life', and only eight of them have actually been any use to me, but that's more than I'd been expecting!
So instead of being a wrap up of my first week, I've written some predictions of what I'm going to see in the other self-help books over the next few weeks. There has to be a formula to it somewhere (if there wasn't, how could it be such a successful genre?) and I'm guessing these are some of them. We'll see next week whether there are any more rules I can add to this list, but at the moment I'd definitely stand behind these theories in application to multiple self-help titles.

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