Self-Help Helps Those Who Help Themselves

I never used to read self-help books. I thought they were corny and that the techniques within them couldn’t possibly work. Then I started working for a publishing company that produces many self-help books, so in the course of editing those books, I began to take the words within them to heart. Reading those books made me want to read more of the “classic” self-help books in the field.

I came across Susan Jeffers’s Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and knew I had to have it. By nature, I’m a fairly anxious, neurotic person, so I thought the book might be able to help me combat some of my irrational fears.

It’s the type of book you’ll want to read again and again, so that you can remember the techniques and keep using them throughout your life. The reason many people who read self-help books don’t benefit from them is because they assume that the act of simply reading the book will automatically solve their problems. They don’t realize that there is an incredible amount of work involved in any type of self-improvement and that you have to genuinely want to succeed, no matter where you are in life.

The main thing I learned from Jeffers’s book is the notion that there are no wrong decisions. The decision is only “wrong” if you tell yourself it’s wrong and if you act as though it is wrong. You have a choice to do your best in life no matter where you are. No matter which path you choose, there are opportunities. If you feel like you made the “wrong decision,” don’t lament and dwell on the past – move forward and see what opportunity you can find within that situation.

If you’re into self-help (and even if you’re not), make sure you read this book. It’s accessible, practical, and realistic. It will help you – if you genuinely want to be helped and work hard.

Brian Writes a Bestseller – satire of self-help books

Family Guy is my favorite TV show, especially during this season, when The Simpsons episodes are starting to become tiresome and not really funny anymore.

But Brian, the anthropomorphic dog, is irritating me. Apparently, he’s irritating the writers, too, because they seem to be doing everything possible to make him out to be a pompous jackass.

The episode begins when Brian’s book, Faster Than the Speed of Love, comes back to him unsold in boxes stuffed with shreds of the book itself instead of packing peanuts. He vows never to write again, until he reads the newspaper and notices the bestseller list, which is populated by self-help books. Disgusted, Brian turns to Stewie and says that he could easily write a similar book because “morons” read them.

With Stewie’s encouragement, Brian writes the book in precisely 3 hours and 27 minutes, and sends it off. Penguin Publishing snatches it up, Stewie becomes Brian’s publicist, and Brian’s ego shoots through the roof.

The episode is obviously a satire of the self-help genre, but it makes the general book-buying public look like fools. Family Guy makes fun of literally every kind of person imaginable, so that didn’t offend me at all. I mean, how many of us actually have the time, energy, and inclination to read and comprehend even one highbrow literary novel?

Brian’s book gets more and more famous, and he becomes more and more arrogant. He abuses poor Stewie, treats his fans badly (unless they’re the typical blond bimbos he’s attracted to), and forgets that he hated the book and others in its genre in the first place.

Eventually, Brian meets up with Bill Maher, Dana Gould, and Arianna Huffington, who totally rip his book apart with some rather intelligent commentary. Now it’s Brian who’s the fool.

Brian Feels the Pressure

What irritated me about the episode was that Brian came home and refused to give Stewie a sincere apology, proving that he hasn’t really changed at all; he’s still the arrogant jerk he was at the beginning. Oh, well – I guess that gives the Family Guy writers more chances to humiliate Brian in future episodes. 🙂