The annoying thing about self-help literature

2 min read



It sounds tempting: just write another self-help book with pseudo-smart calendar sayings that offer little to no practical value, but flatter the inclined reader to such an extent that they will recommend your book to all their friends and acquaintances. We live in aphoristic times, because no one has time for endless tracts anymore, and we have already gotten out of the habit of the attention span necessary for this. So why not another book like this? Because one is "serious" about philosophy? Because one considers it to be something culturally significant that must be protected in some way? Well, that could also be argued in the opposite way.


We're usually only serious about the not-so-serious stuff, the calendar sayings that make us feel sublime while we strive for resilience and self-optimization. But you don't get both from a self-help book. Practice and theory are usually much too far apart here and even those who have tidied their room are far from being able to trigger profound behavioral changes in themselves (or in others!). We know this from behavioral psychology: nothing is simultaneously as rigid in reality and as agile in theory as human behavior.

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