What are your favorite self-help books?

What are your favorite self-help books? –@YoavEzer

“Self help” is a weird phrase. I don’t like most of the self help industry and here’s why: it’s 1000s of books written by people who have experienced mild failure and little success but they want to make million crowding that section of the bookstore. So who are they helping? Also, when you look at recent self-help books (a lot of the authors mentioned in “The Secret”) they seem to be doused in scandal. Who needs it?

Also, what are they helping you do? Many self-help books are about making money. I’m convinced before you can truly make money (and keep it, and be happy with it) you have to first make sure all the energy is properly flowing inside of yourself. This is the entire basis of my post on “The Daily Practice” http://bit.ly/fuiRS9.

So instead of recommending anything that is on the bookshelf I’m going to recommend a few public domain titles:

A)     “The yoga sutras of Patanjali” are not just for people interested in yoga. The text is from 300 BC and contains 195 lines. I think what was happening is that Buddhism was stealing so many adherents of Hinduism that it provoked in a very marketing-like fashion, a response. So this guy, Patanjali, basically repeated what Buddha said but added a few more things (“sitting straight”, which led to yoga) and more on breathing (which led to the study of pranayama).

My post, “How to Deal with Crappy People” http://bit.ly/jyJFzP was based on Chapter 1, line 33 of the Yoga Sutras.

B)     I recommend the Lojong Slogans written in the 12th Century AD. It was a set of 59 lines used to transmit Indian Buddhism to Tibet. And basically discussed how to work through the things that plague your soul (similar to many self-help books today). PemaChodron (a popular self-help writer today from the Buddhist tradition) bases much of her work on these slogans.

C)    More contemporary. Wallace Wattles book, The Science of Getting Rich (written in 1900 so is public domain) is the basis for most self-help books afterwards (even Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” from 1937 is based on Wattles’ earlier works and “The Secret” is almost 100% based on it). Wattles approach is very serious: money is good, never think about poverty, only think about getting rich. Never worry about your past, never talk about it, never associate with anyone who can bring you down. Only think about being rich and how good that will make the world.

If I had to recommend one contemporary guy I’d pick Eckhart Tolle. While he mentions Jesus frequently in his book his work is very much based on a sect of Hinduism called Advaita Vedanta and mostly based on the work of a guy named RamanaMaharshi.