I read some self-help books so you don’t need to

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I was taught early on that there’s always something you can learn from someone, even what not to do. I recall accepting my first management role and thinking that I learned not to hit on your employees from my previous manager. That’s a tad extreme, but I think the same applies to self-help books (including don’t hit on your employees). However, it’s arduous to slog through 80% (sometimes more), to get to the little bit that’s useful. Lately, I’ve been powering through a few self-help books. Some were recommended for their usefulness, others had a fair bit of buzz making me curious, and another, Quiet, had been on my shelves for longer than it should and on my “Currently Reading” for more than a year.

A big part of self-help books is to be more productive, so to let you be more productive, here are the main points of four self-help books. There’s time saved for you. Oh, and there’s a giveaway for my copy of Quiet by Susan Cain at the bottom of the page.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

I read some self-help books so you don’t need toThe Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
Published by HarperOne on September 13th 2016
Genres: Self-Help
Pages: 210
Format: Paperback
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two-stars

The main premise of this is to choose what’s worth your time. Using Mark’s example, is it worth getting upset with the person the supermarket who cut in front (or took too many things to the fast check out, I don’t recall the exact example.) Or become stressed and ill over gang crime in South Africa? Or should you spend your energy organizing a rally to prevent an oil company building a refinery next to your local daycare center? Should you be upset with the number of ways and times the author uses the F-word in the first chapter, or appreciate the versatility of the word? There are some gems in the rest of the book, but while claiming to not be like a self-help book, it’s like a self-help book.

Quiet by Susan Cain

I read some self-help books so you don’t need toQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Published by Crown Publishing Group on January 24th 2012
Genres: Self-Help
Pages: 337
Format: Paperback
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three-half-stars

The first of many books discussing introversion as a positive trait. There’s a lot of research in Quiet, but you can summarize it: treat people according to their personality, not yours, and don’t generalize behavior. Read it to get the research—it’s about as interesting as undergoing a fMRI. OK, that’s unfair; it’s interesting but dry, long, and not directly useful.

How to be Miserable by Randy Paterson

I read some self-help books so you don’t need toHow to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use by Randy J. Paterson
Published by New Harbinger Publications on May 1st 2016
Genres: Self-Help
Pages: 248
Format: Paperback
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three-stars

How to be Miserable gives 40 tips on things you probably already do to ensure you’re miserable as an anti-self-help book. The summary is to look at the unproductive things you do and stop doing them. Maybe even reverse them. Blame others for your failures? Yep, that makes you miserable. Don’t do it.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.


I read some self-help books so you don’t need toBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Published by Riverhead Books on September 22nd 2015
Genres: Self-Help
Pages: 288
Format: ebook
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three-stars

Big Magic is Elizabeth Gilbert’s understanding of creativity. That’s the biggest point. She has some unscientific views about muses gifting you with ideas, among some useful tips. There’s no main tip, so perhaps check out my review for a summary.

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two-stars
I read some self-help books so you don’t need to

More about Bianca

Bianca Smith is often asked which of her homes she prefers: Melbourne or Seattle? She thinks both have their benefits, Melbourne for coffee and Seattle for poke. Both are bookish. However, as of mid-2020 she's in Melbourne reading away. Bianca is a digital marketer by day and is studying business administration at graduate school.

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