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Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone
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Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  894 ratings  ·  232 reviews
Beth Lisick has had a lifelong phobia of anything slick, cheesy, or that remotely claims to provide self-empowerment. But on New Year's Day 2006, she wakes up finally able to admit that something has to change. Determined to confront her fears head-on, Beth sets out to fix her life by consulting the multimillion-dollar-earning experts. In Chicago, she gets proactive with T ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 20th 2009 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,750)
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Lena
I was a big fan of Beth Lisick’s first memoir, Everybody Into the Pool. She’s smart and funny, so I figured her new book about a year she spent trying to improve her life through doing various self-help programs would be pretty entertaining. And it is entertaining, in parts. It was also kind of painful for me to read.

Lisick describes herself as someone who would sooner be found making fun of self-help than plunking down hard-earned cash for a self-help book or workshop, so her first transformati
...more
Imogen
Okay. So. Firstly, if you read these book reviews I write, you know that Ithink I'm hilarious and interesting and want to talk about it all the time, right? And just have a theoretical reason ("my review") to do it? Well, Beth Lisick does that too! This book is ostensibly about her attempts to fix her life with self-help gurus, but really it's about how much of a mess she is and how funny she thinks that is. Which rules.

Full disclosure: I have a crush on her. She came in with her son and signed
...more
Morgan
Jun 16, 2008 Morgan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like self help, Richard Simmons fans
Recommended to Morgan by: Bust Magazine
I really liked Beth's voice in this book--sounds like someone who I would love to be friends with. She's funny, self-deprecating, and has all manner of interesting insights. After reading the book, I wanted to look her up and invite her to have coffee so that the two of us could talk about parenting, lack of finances, and the problems of cleaning out our exploding closets.

The book, though, is not that great. In fact, I'm just giving it a three because I like Beth the person so much. The book fee
...more
K
Like many books I've read, the concept of this one was way better than its execution. In this memoir, Beth Lisick joins the ranks of Julie Powell, A.J. Jacobs, and others who take on a crazy one-year project and then write a memoir describing its influence on their day-to-day life and/or their long-term worldview. Lisick's project: to test out the self-help genre as well as the limits of her cynicism, and possibly even get her life on track, by trying to follow the guidelines of one self-help bo ...more
Mary
Beth Lisick’s book, while an enjoyable read, sort of drove me mad. I worked for the same employer as Beth when I lived in San Francisco in the mid-90’s. I’ve seen her perform and knew her casually; she’s a nice person. So while reading this book, I had a fairly clear picture in my mind of the author and her voice. I don’t know if that helped or harmed the reading.

The premise of the book begins with Lisick’s revelation, on New Year’s Day, that she has no discernible goals in her life, because she
...more
Carole
I admit it, I read Beth Lisick because she makes me feel better about my life. (A garbage bag covering MOLD on the bedroom wall? REALLY?)

She's funny and personable and I totally enjoy the time I get to virtually hang out with her, reading about her life. Loved her take on Richard Simmons and the minefield that is disciplining your kid. Loved the ahead-of-the-zeitgeist observations about Suze Orman. She really nails the "How to Win Friends" cult.

But I call bullshit on the non-chapters about fas
...more
Robin
i suspect i would like beth lisek very much if i met her on the street...particularly if she were dressed in a banana costume. in fact, i have added her to my list of imaginary friends (a very select group of clever people which includes david sedaris, sarah vowell, ira glass, bill bryson, johnathan franzen, and nick hornby. that said, i was a little disappointed by this book. i like the premise, that ms. lisek would spend a year ernestly trying to improve herself through reading popular self-he ...more
jess
here are some of the reasons why i liked this book, presented to you as a numbered list:
1. i like series. i appreciate the gesture towards applying the same technique or material in a multiplicity of ways. beth lisick tries on various self-help programs, each for one month, for the duration of one year.
2. this book is about setting aside irony & apathy. this is a matter of great interest to me.
3. beth lisick is actually an entertaining writer.
4. there is a real effort to not be judgmental
...more
Colleen
Have you ever walked by the self help section of the bookstore and wondered, "would my life be better if I read some of this stuff instead of just scoffing at it? Are all those people really being helped by the secret?" The author of this book did with varying degrees of success. I particularly enjoyed the chapter about cruising the high seas with Richard Simmons. (I had just seen him on the Today show and I think that he sprayed his head with black stuff to make his hair seem fuller. Beside the ...more
Anne
This is one woman's quest to become a better person through self-help guides and personal coaching gurus. Married in Berkeley with a 4-year old son, Lisick is a writer who moonlights as a banana and does various other odd jobs to barely pay the minimum on her bills every month. So, for one year she decides that each month she is going to pick one area of her life to focus on imporving - she will read the self-help books, but she will also, when possible, seek out the masters themselves by attend ...more
Jamie Felton
Beth Lisick spends a year trying to improve herself. She reads one self-help book a month for a year inclusing Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, The Artist's Way, and Other well known self-help guides. It is so so funny. She legitimately tries to follow the advice these books give, and while she does discover a lot of things that DO help, she also discovers a lot of things that are ridiculous. Lisick is extremely talented at describing the ridiculous and making even the most mundane in ...more
Betterthanfiction
When I cracked open Helping Me Help Myself my first thought was "Oh, this is EXACTLY the same as Jennifer Niesslein's Practically Perfect in Every Way." While the premise is identical - woman decides to get her act together via self-help books and write a book about it - the voices of the two are very different. Equally as amusing and Niesslein, Lisick takes a crack at getting her finances together, clean up her house, exercise and stop her son's tantrums. Unlike Niesslein, Lisick and her husban ...more
Deb Rudnick
I enjoyed this book, perhaps mostly because I really like the writer, she seems like the kind of person I'd like to be friends with. Funny, self-effacing, honest, and not taken in very much by BS, Lisick has a good personality to write about what is often the snake-oil-salesmanship of the self help arena. Self help is a genre which I usually give a wide berth, but I liked getting a brief survey of the landscape in one short, funny, and easy to read book. I don't think there is much to be found i ...more
Francoise
Great concept: Beth devotes about one month to a series of famous self-helpers ... all the way from the illustrious Steven Covey and Deepak Chopra to good old Sylvia Browne, not bypassing the book's best encounter of all -- spending a week getting into shape on Richard Simmons' cruise.

Each month, if finances allow (I think there's a book advance somewhere in this), she studies their work, signs up for their counseling, goes to their conferences, and tries out their ideas. She produces a sort of
...more
Lesismore
Funny and fun read, however, I don't think it deserves to be a book... reads more like a blog to me.

I've never been one to like Self-help books or someone else telling me how to live my best life, but as Beth Lisick found, there are some good bits of wisdom out there for anyone willing to take a look.

She quotes Henry Miller in the chapter on "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron stating that she finally found something that resonated with her in Julia's book - only the quote is a sidebar in "The A
...more
Sarah Giles
Written by cynic who had no intention of really implementing and taking to heart any of the programs she "tried". I truly felt like I took very little from the experience of reading this book. And its too bad, because the concept seemed like a great one!
Sara
I would give this 3 1/2 stars. I don't know if it was a really bad time to read this book or a really good time.
Like Beth Lisick at the time she wrote this book, I'm underemployed and trying to survive when the bills are due and no money is on the horizon.
I'm glad Lisick did the work and read the books and took on the programs. I'm mostly a cynical person who doesn't believe in self help books. But more and more I believe that positive thinking and living brings positive results. And work, you
...more
Priscilla
A humourous and engaging year she spent researching the self-help world. A light read.
Katherine Rowland
Lisick is honest up-front about her feelings regarding self-help proponents: she's suspicious and somewhat antagonistic. Nevertheless, after taking stock of her life, she decides that it's worth investigating some of the big names in self-help.

Most of my disappointment with the book stems from my expectation that it would be a book mostly about the self-help systems she tries, and whether or not they worked. Instead, these seemed to only serve as a framework for Lisick to be sarcastic, with lit
...more
Nancy
The note/over title on the cover reads, “one skeptic, ten self-help gurus, and a year on the bring on the comfort zone.” This book documents Lisick’s year of self-help including Jack Canfield (The Success Principles), Stephen Covey (The 7 Habits…), Richard Simmons, John Gray (Men are from Mars…), Julie Morgenstern (Organizing from the Inside Out), Thomas W. Phelan (123 Magic…), Suze Orman, Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way), Deepak Chopra and Sylvia Browne. (Did I miss anyone?) Lisick reads the bo ...more
Jacqueline
I read a lot of this currently hip genre - doing some project each month for a year and then writing about it. It is, apparently, what GenX slackers like myself like to do and then write about. I am totally drawn to this - it fits me perfectly with my project driven life.

Beth Lisick tries a new self help thing each month for a year - she thinks that it might be a better resolution then learning how to do the splits. Seriously, that is her thinking. She has never bought a self help book and she i
...more
Phoebe
I read Lisick's book "Everybody into the Pool" and it was really funny. She lives around the corner from me and often references life in South Berkeley in her writing, which makes it even more fun to read. I couldn't wait for more Lisick humor when I picked up this book from the library.

"Helping me Help Myself" didn't deliver. It sounds like it will be a funny and informative romp through the self-help movement, made all the more hilarious because Lisick's life is so crazy and unique. ("Everybod
...more
Adriana
In Helping Me Help Myself, Beth Lisick wakes up on New Year's Day with a banged-up knee and a head full of nagging issues. At the age of 37, she’s doing pretty well for herself on the surface: she’s happily married, has an adorable son, and owns her own house. However, it is the little things that make her life not-so-perfect. She’s disorganized, out of shape, and still lives pay check to pay check. Lisick decides that over the next year she will seek out the advice of the top self-help gurus in ...more
Trish
I don't know what I expected, but this wasn't really it. I guess I thought it would be funnier, more mocking of the self-help stuff, since I think the attitude of the author is the same as mine and most people I know who were raised in a certain era, in a certian geography. Basically, Beth is a hipper version of myself, but I would have been way more judgey and sarcastic than she is. She makes such an earnest effort to keep an open mind in each area, which is laudable, but most of the sections j ...more
Amy
Beth Lisick, who knew...! I've never heard of this author, and this book was just kinda sitting in those awkward library displays they have out front, so I grabbed it, and I am so glad I did. The premise of the book will keep you reading--twelve months to put self-help schemes to the test; fascinating. Lisick's humour is sarcastic and sharp and clever but such a nice contrast to some really deep, really meaningful life lessons for the ordinary, average human. Her writing style is amazing; she is ...more
Lisa Wolf
Beth Lisick's "Helping Me Help Myself" falls into the growing category of "my year of xxx" books. You know, my year of cooking the entire cookbook, my year of following all the rules in the Bible, etc. In this case, the author wakes up one New Year's Day, decides her life isn't really going as well as she'd thought, and decides to devote the next year to improving herself by seeking out the top self-help expert in each of her problem areas. She spends a month on personal finance, a month on fitn ...more
Patricia
I think the universe was telling me something when the library system sent me both "The Secret" and this book at the same time. I'm not the skeptic that Beth Lisick is; in fact I had already read four of the self-help gurus she consulted: Steven Covey, Suze Orman, Deepak Chopra and Julia Cameron. I also have my own organization self-help guru, the Flylady. So this was familiar territory to me.

"The Secret" lives on the edge of this book. She keeps hearing about the movie, but never actually gets
...more
Michael Lipsey
Beth Lisick spent a year getting every kind of self-help. A great idea for a book, but the execution was flawed. For one thing, she is broke, and gurus cost, so she mostly goes to cheaper events or events she can get into without paying. Or she skips the guru and just reads the book. She is an acute observer, but she really doesn't have all that much to observe. And she pads her material with extraneous events like going to the opening of Bloomingdales.

The best part of the book is something she
...more
Jessica
This is one of those "do a thing for a year" books. Lisick decides to dive into the world of self help, and spend the next year learning how to change her life from the top self help gurus, like Deepak Chopra, Suze Ormon and Richard Simmons. I enjoyed it, but at first I wasn't completely convinced that I was going to. In her first chapter, she writes about what led her to the decision to do this...she wakes up bruised and groggy from her New Year's Eve party, and can't remember what happened to ...more
misha
When I saw this at the library I almost hopped up and down, I was so excited. I had read about this book, and was excited to read it, and there it was - I hadn't even reqeusted it.

But sadly, this was one of those books where I thought- thank god I'm good at speed reading. I did want to finish it, but I didn't want to spend too much time doing it.

I don't want to say too much bad about the book, because it looks like the author lives nearby and works with friends of friends of mine. She could be
...more
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Beth Lisick, author of the New York Times bestselling book Everybody into the Pool, is also a performer and odd-jobs enthusiast. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies including Best American Poetry, the Christian Science Monitor, and Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Movement. She has contributed to public radio's This American Life and is the cofounder ...more
More about Beth Lisick...
Everybody into the Pool: True Tales Yokohama Threeway: And Other Small Shames This Too Can Be Yours Monkey Girl: Swingin' Tales It's a Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths About Life in Your Twenties

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