11 Most Unhelpful Self-Help Books


[del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Mixx] [Reddit] [StumbleUpon] [Twitter] [Email]

There are some things you just shouldn't teach yourself from a book: open-heart surgery, how to kiss, ways to become less shy. Reading up on these skills wouldn't help you learn and would probably just be embarrassing or dangerous. Self-help books make some readers feel like they can learn to do anything, from fixing their cars to changing their lives, and while there might be dozens of books that really provide useful information, many just aren't helpful. Check out what not to buy before you head to the bookstore to improve yourself.

  1. Winning Lotto/Lottery for Everyday Players by Professor Jones

    There are several disturbing aspects of this book. First, it's for the type of human who will not only throw away money on lottery tickets, but also shell out cash for a book on how to win the lottery rather than on making money through hard work. Secondly, the author either doesn't provide a first name or his first name is Professor, neither of which makes him seem very credible. The lottery is random and tested for biases with statistical devices. When you see a well-known statistician or mathematician writing about how to win the lottery, then you might be spending your money well.
  2. More Joy: An Advanced Guide to Solo Sex by Harold Litten

    This read takes the idea of self help a little too far. A sequel to his first book, The Joy of Solo Sex, More Joy is for the advanced practitioner. The author delves into techniques and taboos, but most of us would probably prefer we leave that kind of information to the imagination. If you do end up buying this book, you'd be better off buying it new than used.
  3. He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt

    This famous book (and the terrible movie that followed) isn't full of the worst advice. Some of it's pretty good — but it also gives you the same solutions that all your friends have been offering you for months. If you're the kind of girl that will go out and buy a self-help book to figure out what a guy is thinking, you're probably the kind of girl who has been fixating on this dude and complaining to your friends about him non-stop for weeks. Instead of wasting your money on the book, just listen to the free advice your friends have been giving you: move on.
  4. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

    Who wouldn't love to quit working the traditional 40-hours-a-week job while still getting rich and doing whatever they wanted? It sounds too good to be true, and it pretty much is. Most readers admit that the first half of the book is motivational, if not a bit boastful on the part of the author, but after that, Ferriss offers very weak ideas to make your laziest dreams come true. He says you should outsource your responsibilities, like research for work and making appointments, to a virtual assistant abroad and then start your own business. Running a business seems like it would be the opposite of slacking off, doesn't it?
  5. 365 Ways to Live Happy by Meera Lester

    There's something to be said about choosing to be happy each day and finding ways to keep your daily life upbeat, but unless you're recovering from a brain injury, this book won't reveal anything you don't already know. You'll get some of the same inspirational drivel about following your dreams that you've heard throughout your life, but you'll also read some tips for happiness that make it seem like the author just ran out of ideas. "Avoid exposure to toxic chemicals" and "Call the police when you have witnessed a crime" don't seem like bits of advice that are going to change your outlook on life today.
  6. I Used To Miss Him…But My Aim Is Improving by Alison James

    Most books probably coddle you and build you up after a breakup. "You're better off without him." "You're an independent woman." "He's not worth it." This book, though, seems to communicate something else entirely: "You're better off with him in pain." "You're a stalker." "He's worth the time it takes to put a hex on someone." I Used To Miss Him sincerely presents revenge and voodoo dolls as viable options for healing after a breakup. If you take this kind of advice, you're probably going to experience a lot of breakups in your lifetime.
  7. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

    People gobbled this book up when it came out in 1998 and for years after. It's written as a goofy parable about some mice and some Thumbelina-sized people who live in a maze and love cheese. The cheese represents basically anything in life that's important to you, and the message is clear and simple: things change so get used to it. Don't waste your time on a book that can be summed up in a fortune cookie.
  8. How to Get Over That Bitch and Grow Balls They Can't Resist by Clark Anthony

    The advice in this book from a nine-year veteran male escort will make you believe that if this guy (who calls himself the Game Doctor) can publish a book, you can too. It's complete with a middle-school vocabulary and made-up statistics about the author's expertise and relationships. The idea behind the book is that women are vulnerable to masculinity so a man who learns to tame and control women can have whatever he wants. Anyone who reads this, though, should keep in mind that the Game Doctor gleaned this wisdom as he was being paid to go out with women. Those probably aren't the kind of ladies you're after.
  9. DogSense: 99 Relationship Tips from Your Canine Companion by Carla Genender and Amy Hill

    Trust us, guys. When it comes to winning over a woman, you shouldn't take lessons from something that drools all over the place, chews on her shoes, and poops under the bed. Man's best friend definitely has some positive qualities, but every problem in a human relationship can't be solved with fierce loyalty and a belly rub. The photos of the dogs are cute enough, but don't expect this book to change your life.
  10. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

    Of course everyone wants to be in on a secret, especially when that secret promises to ensure you wealth, health, and whatever your heart desires. The problem with this one is that it's a bunch of New Age mumbo-jumbo some people really believe in it, while most of the population rolls their eyes. The book is based on the Law of Attraction: positive thoughts attract positive outcomes while negative thoughts attract negative outcomes. The author pushes it as far as to say that poverty and disasters are the results of negativity. Science has proven that staying upbeat has health and life benefits, but it hasn't quite found that guaranteed link between positivity and everything you've ever wanted.
  11. 101 Ways To Tell Your Sweetheart "I Love You" by Vicki Lansky

    There's no shame in wanting to spice things up or remind your loved one why they're special to you. The best way to do this, though, probably isn't through these 101 tips that sound like they were written by a lovesick teenage girl. Some of the ideas are nice romantic gestures, but you can tell the author started to run out of material. For example, one of the suggestions is "Shampoo your loved one's hair. Ummmm. And use a hairbrush to groom long hair." Another: "Write the word love using a 'heart' where the letter O goes. You can also dot your 'i's using a 'heart.'" This works best if you're trying to woo an eighth grader.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>