Thursday, June 02, 2016

Read these books. Be a Better Person. It's Easy

Just saw this on The Guardian: Top 10 Books to Make You a Better Person. I used to buy for the Self-Help section in the bookstore I worked for. Some Self-Help books make more sense than others. At least this list isn't about recommending Coelho's The Alchemist (boring), Carnegie's How to Make Friends and Influence People (meh), or Tolle's The Power of Now (you realise he's just repackaging other people's ideas and selling it back to you, right?).

This list seems more like a introduction to soul-stirring prose that raises your consciousness.

Then a thought hit me: What if I don't want to be a better person? What if I just want to know about myself, as I am, warts and all, and not need to feel like I am not good enough, and I need to be better? What if I am good enough, imperfect as I am?

What if I don't believe books will make me a better person? What if I believe reading all the books in the world wouldn't mean anything unless you also live a full, rich life? Learning and reading might give you knowledge, give you a clue on what to do, where to go - depending on what you read. What if I believe what will actually make you a better person is experience. Doing stuff. Connecting with people. Living life. Learning from mistakes. Rinse and repeat.

Why do people think reading a few books will make you a better person? That's crazy. What might work for him, might not work for you. What makes this writer's life experiences better than yours? His life is his, just was your life is yours. What he brings to the reading of the book, will be different from yours.

This article makes me want to throw a book at the writer.

2 comments:

Jonathan said...

You've just reminded me about "The Celestine Prophecy", which was kind of a self-help viral success back in the mid 1990s. I read it, and thought much the same as you. I guess some people like to be told, whereas some people just have inquiring minds. Maybe.

darkorpheus said...

I remember "The Celestine Prophecy". Always thought it's a little "woo-woo", but then again, I haven't read it, probably will never read it.

I get that there is something to be learned from everything - even if the lesson is: What NOT to do. Still, do people really thing a book is going to CHANGE THEIR LIVES?

Really?