I recently encountered the wonderful phrase “self-help refusenik”. It is a good phrase. I wish I could apply it to myself, “Jen Evans: self-help refusenik” has a nice ring to it. Alas, my relationship with self-help books is one of those complex love/hate things. I don’t refuse them, I embrace them with all my fickle soul then end up sorely disappointed.
I’ve read lots of these books and I can report that I am still as screwed-up, messy and ponderous as I was the first time I eagerly opened my copy of The Mind Gym back in 2005. I was convinced that it held the key to my future success and happiness. Ha! A likely tale! Turned out that it held little more than some fun multiple-choice quizzes and a few snazzy venn diagrams.
The keys to success and happiness can’t be found in books, but here are some titles that I’d happily add to my collection:
1. Your Aren’t the Idiot, They Are
Because life gets a hell of a lot easier when you stop blaming yourself for everything.
2. Feel the Fear, Drink Some Gin and Do It Anyway
The opening chapter will be the touching tale of how gin helped a writer overcome her crippling fear of spiral staircases. Not at all based on personal experience.
3. Dresses with Pockets, Brown Boots and Big Knickers: The Busy Girl’s Guide to Style
Seriously, these are all you need.
4. The Secret is…
…a bag of fairytale shite. By all means, ask the Universe for a red Ferrari but don’t be surprised when you have to work your bloody arse off to pay for it and ultimately deem it to be “a bit ostentatious”.
5. How To Be Friends but Disagree With Your Mother
Harder than it sounds, but perfectly possible. Sometimes. Features tried and tested methods such as the “smile and nod” manoeuvre and the “Marks and Spencer’s Sale” distraction technique.
6. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Procrastinators
Written by someone who should have been doing their tax return but got distracted by a pigeon on the windowsill, then descaled the kettle and reorganised the bookshelves into colour blocks before deciding to write an inspirational book about their experiences.
7. MentalGymnastics: Thinking = Exercise
A treatise on why thinking really hard about going to spin class is essentially the same as going to spin class. And you can do it whilst eating a Snickers!
Jen Evans is a journalist specialising in culture. She owns a copy ofThe Secretbut hides it when people come around for dinner. You can read more of her writing on her blog, Bookish Brunette.
Image via Wikimedia Commons