Nineteen of the 51 books I read in 2018 could be considered self-help or personal development. Some teeter on the edge of memoir rather than self-help. And so far in 2019, eight of my nineteen books could be considered self-help or personal development.
That’s about 40% of the books I’ve read since the beginning of 2018. And I still have quite a few more books on my TBR Trello board.
I’m not the only one who reads a lot from this category. In 2016, the self-improvement book market was at $800 million with a projected growth of 6% per year.
Do we need all the self-help books?
Yes. Because when I pick up a new book or add one to my TBR list, I need:
- The right message
- Delivered by the right person
- At the right time.
If any book fails to meet one of these three requirements, then it usually doesn’t end up being a good read.
A book can have a great message, but if the writing style doesn’t suit you or you’re having a rough day, you may not gather any meaning from it. On the other hand, the author could be amazing, and the timing is fitting, but the message may not be what you need to hear.
Meaningful messages also need to be repeated.
If I could read something that motivated me to make a behavior change or shift my mindset, and then never need to revisit that idea, then maybe I would read less in the self-help category.
However, you have to put what you’re reading into practice. Buying a book about self-improvement or keeping a stack on your nightstand signals that you’re thinking about making a change. Reading that stack shows that you’re more invested. But reading about change is not the same as actually changing.
To make a change, you have to act. At some point, you have to put down the book and put meaningful messages into practice.
Find the right message delivered by the right person at the right time, then go out and do something with what you’ve read. Repeat and practice daily.