They've Researched Self-Help Books. Here Are Their Favorites...

Posted by Cybil on March 3, 2020

 
The cohosts of the By the Book podcast, Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer, are hitting the bookshelves themselves this spring with their new release, How to Be Fine: What We Learned from Living by the Rules of 50 Self-Help Books. In each episode of their podcast, the two take a deep dive into a different self-help book, following its specific instructions, rules, and advice to the letter. Then they share their observations with their fans. Now, in their new book, they synthesize the lessons and insights they’ve learned from their extensive self-help reading.

In honor of their new book, we asked the coauthors to recommend some of their favorite self-help books. Be sure to add the books that pique your interest to your Want to Read shelf.  

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Meinzer: When Jolenta approached me with her idea of living by the rules of self-help books for a podcast, I was totally on board, ready to tear them apart. Obviously, I’m the skeptic in this friendship. Jolenta is the opposite. She likes crystals and tarot cards and wants to believe the promises of self-help books.
 
Greenberg: At least, that was the case when we first developed the show. But after living by the rules of all these books, and experiencing their benefits and drawbacks firsthand, we’ve both become less firm in our positions. I’ve come to question more books, and Kristen has come to appreciate more of them. 
 
Meinzer: Some of the worst ones, it turns out, still have some kernels of useful advice. And some of the best still have bits and pieces we’d leave by the side of the road. No book is perfect. And no book will work for everyone. 
 
Greenberg: Below are a few we’ve liked. But keep in mind, just because they worked for us doesn’t mean they have to work for you. No one is more of an expert in how to be you than you.

Jolenta Greenberg's Choices

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"As the title implies, this book is about how to talk to yourself. If you’re like me, and struggle with self-esteem and all-consuming shame, this book is beyond helpful. Added bonus: It’s a straightforward and simple read. Dr. Shad Helmstetter lays out how internal self-talk affects our views of the world and how through practice and choice words we can see ourselves in a way more positive light."


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"This book powerfully lays out how body politics hurt us as individuals and a society at large. Written by poet and activist Sonya Renee Taylor, the book’s main message is that compassion is the anecdote to a world full of body terrorism. It’s full of pointers on how to love yourself through making friends with your body and challenging how you view the world around you. It’s a must read for anyone wanting to explore radical acceptance."


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"This book totally caught me by surprise. I was expecting a dry, boring business book, and I was totally wrong. Suze Orman lays out the story of her own dysfunctional relationship with money and uses the book to explore common fears and painful experiences people associate with personal finances. Her nine-step advice helped me confront my own fears and beliefs about money and gently guided me toward taking more ownership and pride in how I manage my money. It’s great for anyone who’d rather not read a book about money but knows they probably should."


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"Finnish journalist Miska Rantanen introduces us to how people in Finland take relaxing to a philosophical level. While it looks like drinking at home, alone, in your undies from the outside, the purpose of Päntsdrunk is to help reestablish your equilibrium after a long day of work and give you the time to indulge in “meaningful meaninglessness.” As an introvert who often feels ashamed of wasting time watching reality TV on a perfectly beautiful day to recharge, I found this to be a refreshing read."


Kristen Meinzer's Choices 


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"Perhaps, like me, you feel anxiety over the state of the planet as well as a sense of helplessness in the face of government and corporate powers that seem to care little about the environment. But when we tried to live a greener life by following the steps of Zero Waste Home, I felt some of that helplessness lighten and greater happiness sink in."


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"John Kralik was going through an especially tough time in his life when he set out to write 365 thank you letters in a year, as a way to focus more on the good things in his life. During the time we lived by this book, I lost my job and was facing some sad and scary health issues. As was the case with Kralik, writing thank you letters made me feel more grateful, and bonus: They made me feel less alone."


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"I can think of no greater happiness boost than practicing acts of kindness. In Why Good Things Happen to Good People, Stephen G. Post and Jill Neimark present research that explains why this is the case and provide tips for incorporating more kindness (and happiness) into your own life."


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"Yes, the title sounds manipulative. And yes, a lot of smarmy salespeople swear by this book. But turns out, it’s also useful for those of us who don’t consider ourselves smarmy and just want to make friends. Central to the book’s thesis is a love for people and a belief that we can all get further with kindness than blunt criticism. And yes, I legitimately made new friends while we lived by this book!"



Which self-help books would you recommend to your fellow readers? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)

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message 1: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Waugh Some years ago I read 'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron. It was not perfect, and it did irritate me on some pages, but I found it encouraging. It helped me to focus on what I was doing, not on what I might be doing! I think reading it again would be helpful. Certainly, giving myself the right to some time alone, just to sit and write, is even more necessary now than it was the first time around.


message 2: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Waugh THE ARTIST'S WAY by Julia Cameron


message 3: by Fenris (new)

Fenris If you liked The Artist's Way, I think you might also like "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. It's philosophy and the art of writing.


message 4: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Waugh Fenris wrote: "If you liked The Artist's Way, I think you might also like "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. It's philosophy and the art of writing."

Will look that one up, Fenris. It starts with the disadvantage that I don't like the title. 'Bones' make me shiver!!!!


message 5: by Fenris (new)

Fenris Ah! Well if the title is too off-putting, then go with her "The True Secret of Writing", it's similar enough and covers the same territory. Both are wonderful books on creativity.


message 6: by Karl (new)

Karl Weber If you had a challenging childhood, or any trauma, the body keeps the score will change your life


message 7: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Waugh Fenris wrote: "Ah! Well if the title is too off-putting, then go with her "The True Secret of Writing", it's similar enough and covers the same territory. Both are wonderful books on creativity."

I shall certainly look both of them up at a quiet, leisurely time.. These minutes feel like cheating. There are so many things I have to get done today. All of them can be categorised as housecraft.

Incidcentally, last night I managed to finish reading 'Under a Wartime Sky' - first time I have heard of the writer, Liz Trenow. Found the book very interesting. You might care to look that one up. It just came out this month and I stumbled across it by accident.


message 8: by Jt (new)

Jt The book 29 Gifts is a revelation. You commit to giving a gift (not monetary specifically) to anyone per day for 29 straight days. Really, a must read. I'm on day 15 and looking forward each day to finding creative ways to give. Yesterday it was giving a tired clerk a little back rub!


message 9: by Fenris (new)

Fenris Sylvia wrote: "Fenris wrote: "Ah! Well if the title is too off-putting, then go with her "The True Secret of Writing", it's similar enough and covers the same territory. Both are wonderful books on creativity."

..."

Thank you!


message 10: by Jay (last edited Mar 03, 2020 10:56AM) (new)

Jay Valentino Jt wrote: "The book 29 Gifts is a revelation. You commit to giving a gift (not monetary specifically) to anyone per day for 29 straight days. Really, a must read. I'm on day 15 and looking forward each day to..."

Isn't this a bit awkward in today's MeToo movement and not touching people at work?


message 11: by Fenris (new)

Fenris DanielJHines wrote: "I get paid over $137 per 2 hours working from home with 2 kids at home. I just got paid $ 13460 in my previous month It Sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it . Its..."

Reported for SPAMMING


message 12: by Joanna (new)

Joanna Karl wrote: "If you had a challenging childhood, or any trauma, the body keeps the score will change your life"
That is such an incredible book! It took me a long time to get through though, so much meat therein.


message 13: by Soha (new)

Soha I read How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh a year or so ago. She's hilarious, to the point and not at all condescending as she uses her own life experiences to help us understand how we can become better versions of ourselves. It's realistic and I read particular parts from it whenever I feel like I need some motivation in that aspect. Highly recommended.


message 14: by Ankit (new)

Ankit Malasi Karl wrote: "If you had a challenging childhood, or any trauma, the body keeps the score will change your life"
I second this


message 15: by Audrey (new)

Audrey Hood I have two that I've read recently. "Help Me!" by Marianne Power and "Maybe you should talk to someone" by Lori Gottlieb. Both are excellent, funny, profound and uplifting.


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