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A self-help book is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a book written to help the reader with a personal problem such as a relationship, health or behavioral issue. Self-help books are usually written by a psychologist, life coach, doctor or other expert on a certain topic.
Television psychologist Dr. Philip MacGraw, known as Dr. Phil to his fans, has authored many popular self-help books on weight loss and relationship issues. These are common topics in the self-help genre, but business how-to self-help books are also in demand. The Dummies series of books that includes guidance on work topics such as how to master a certain software program is a good example of the business self-help book. Rather than taking a course, a business person can often save a lot of time as well as money by learning new computer skill through books.
Of course, while business solutions may be rather easily gleaned from a self-help book, a book alone is often not the answer when it comes to serious relationship and health problems. Some may argue that a self-help book may give a reader the excuse not to see a medical professional in person, but rather rely on what they read to guide their actions in trying to solve a big problem on their own. Yet others would point out that a self-help book written by a reputable author advises the reader when to seek professional help and this is true for most self-help books.
What a self-help book can do is give the reader more information and more ideas about how to solve his or her problem. Self-help books are not designed to be a substitute for face-to-face interactions with a counselor, psychologist or other professional, but are designed to advise the reader generally on what to do. Whether the book is about how to overcome shyness, how to become more assertive, how to get along better with a sibling or how to argue effectively with a spouse, a self-help book can give added insight to the problem.
If the author of the book has experienced success with his or her methods regarding a certain area, why not communicate that to others in the hopes of helping them also? A reader would be more likely to buy and read a self-help book on weight loss written by a professional whose clients did lose weight or written by an individual who lost weight than he or she would without proven success. It’s a good idea to make sure the book is produced by a reputable publisher and that some proven success using the method or information in the book has been documented before you consider buying a self-help book.