Through self-help books one teaches oneself to be economically, emotionally and intellectually mature and independent. The whole process has a lot of psychological as well as spiritual base.
Self help books inculcate in the reader the spirit of self-reliance. There are of course likeminded support groups to lean on. It is not a partnership of dependence but of co-operation. Examples can be given of self-help legal practice, homespun advices and many more. In course of time self-help books are leading guides in the field of education as well as business. Psychology plays an important part in the writings of these self-help books. These books have led to self-help movements.
According to prominent psychiatrists the self-help books are quite distinct from the professional counterparts. The latter cannot provide friendship, emotional prop up, first hand experimental knowledge, self-identity, roles in life with a meaning and above all a sense of being belonged. Self-help books links people with any kind of health condition. It is especially applicable to those who are mentally unstable. However everything does not work for everyone. The same applies to these self-help books. People going through similar travails form lobby groups and by sharing problems many knots are untied. Actually self-help books bring about link with like minded people – contact between peers.
The self-help books are based on an ancient concept of autosuggestion. It is repeating to one self the magic words of ‘I can! I can!’ The books are getting worldwide acclaim from humble beginnings. Self-help legal services are also expanding. The Internet is now an invaluable tool for the popularizing of self-help books. On a gigantic scale free information is being provided leading to self-empowerment.
The self-help concept, now being codified in books, has a long history. It goes back to 2,500 BC when we first come across the advice poems of Hesiod. It is an adaptation of Eastern philosophy and thought. The Stoics of Greece offered similar advice of awakening the powers of the self. The ideas are expressed in ancient proverbs of different cultures of the world from time immemorial. The word self-help found a place in legal parlance when it came to be acknowledged that a person has the right to plead his own case in court of law.
Nothing talks about self-help more lucidly than the famous saying ‘Heaven helps those who help themselves’. Samuel Smiles in the late 19th century authored the first book on personal development. The title was Self Help. This principle of self-help or autosuggestion is used widely in the treatment of curing alcoholics and the like. It is the self that cures and the self that destroys. It is a question of awakening the self. These self-help books advise certain techniques to achieve this goal.
In this field of work Dale Carnegie is a famous name in the first half of the 20th century. In 1936 he published his all time best seller – How to Win Friends and Influence People. It reflected his own successful battle against repeated failures. So far 50 million copies have been sold and continues to sell captivating each new generation. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill also hit the market inspiring people about the power of thought.
Researches show that self-help books have captured the market in a big way covering a wide variety of topics form weight loss to friendship gain. One can teach oneself how to become even a politician and win laurels. There are critics who say that these are easy answers to difficult questions that cannot be really implemented.