I know that most of you will read this and make a frown or do a face thing expression of confusion mixed with disgust at this ridiculous topic. Self Help Books, yes. I have read some and I can tell you about a few that I think for my fellow nerdy readers might be useful. I have to say, they might not be the standard ones you’d expect. It’s just stuff that I feel helped me learn.
Granted, I’m not a perfect being and still heavily in the proces of learning to control my anger and hatred for the human race, but I believe that these books have actually helped me come to grips with myself and learn to love the bomb…. Not the boob, I already praised that highly. Let me list them for you here with some explanation and perhaps you can find something for yourself.
Mind that I’m part of an audience that likes the nerdy-side of things and therefor finds solace in reading books that are nerd-inspired, geeky and that I can relate to on a personal level. I’m sure there’s plenty of sports writers and such who can do that just as well for you if you’re into that more. Oh… and hockey. Let’s see about that bullshit of the self-help industry.
Stephen R. Covey – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Oh yes, you’ve heard this one before, so stop me, stop me oh stop me…. It is after all still the most effective, well written book in the whole genre. Sure, it’s a bit idealistic and supposes some grand wisdom in its seven habits, but not without reason pretty much every other book refers to this one. I guess in a way it speaks to so many people due to it being very middle of the road and staying close to an abstract level. The anecdotes help in giving you a sense of understanding though. I do believe that this book may be a bit over some peoples head though. If you want to give it a try, go for the abridged audio version first. Not only does it speak much more to you, it also stays closer to the core ideas instead of jumping in the deep end.
I mean, this is kinda like the Jedi manual when it comes to it. So it might scare you away at first, because you first need to grasp some basics and be OK with not moving at immense speeds forward. I felt empowered at first and disillusioned after a while, because of its almost religious striving for mastery. This kind of brings me to my next title.
Wil Wheaton – Just A Geek
What I felt was most important to help understanding myself is being understood and able to relate to things. I have never been able to put my anxieties and worries to words, they never made much sense to me and felt very instinctive. The Covey book put me onto reading more and so I started getting into this biographical account of Wil Wheaton. Wil is the kind of guy, whose humor and take on life I really appreciated as soon as I started to get into his stuff. Specially his ‘law’ on gaming really appealed to me and even got me to name my blog after it.
In his book he tells his story and though I havent been a struggling actor with a glorious past, I was a guy (or am, but I chose not to see it that way. anymore) who graduated with a thesis that was called brilliant and then failed to live up to anyone’s expectations, mostly my own. I felt I could relate to that. In his book, there’s some shifts of personality, of approach to things that you can learn from. For someone in the acting bizz, everything is larger than life. Not just the successes, also the failures. It thought me about those, but also about what it means to be driven and follow your gut.
Chris Hardwick – The Nerdist Way
Thanks to Wil Wheaton I found out about Chris Hardwick, a dude that, like me, had struggled with some health issues in the past and had shifted that around. The difference is that Chris is, unlike me, highly productive and succesful. That is exactly what Hardwick tries to bring across in this book, making it awesome. The silly way he does it in appeals to me too, because self-deflating humor has become a huge part of me and the way I deal with myself. I mean, you can hardly be a dick to yourself, right?
Turns out you can and I do that a lot. Instead of rising above, facing things head on, I tend to flee. I do that in an almost scorched earth way sometimes. Chris speaks to me in the sense that he has been there, he has been down to a lost, alcohol guzzling has-been and back to the top in a place he wanted to be. that feels amazingly powerfull and therefor something to learn from.
Kevin Smith – Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good.
Yeah, I found inpsiration in the work of Kevin Smith, you know… the guy who is Silent Bob. It’s maybe not even this book, but the podcasts he did with Jason Mewes (Jay) about some real life problems. A lot of the book is about this friendship and it shows how far you can go in doing your best for others. Also another story of falling down and getting up again, learning and growing and finding that crock o’ gold at the end of it all.
The podcasts deal more with looking back and making fun of your own fucked up mistakes in the past life that you have to deal with. Acceptance is a way to growth that is pretty hard and that lesson is definitely in here too.
Gordie Howe – Mr. Hockey
I did say I love hockey, right? This book is about the challenged life of Gordie Howe, the absolute superstar of hockey. He went on to play till he was 50 years old, being the oldest NHL player of all time, only surpassed in points way later by Wayne Gretzky. It is kinda ok if you are surpassed by ‘The Great One’. The book shows remarkable love for the game and humility from the man. Its amazing to read how even in his eighties he still notices every aspect of a game he watches. There’s a lot of quirky little things in there that show how normal the guy is.
Gordie Howe is an inspiration to go for what you believe in and stick with it. Not untill they tell you to quit, but up till you think its time to quit. Humility, respect, acceptance and love, its all in there in the life of a real stand up guy.
Alright, I suppose this is sort of a weird list of books to consider self-help. I also have to admit that by now, I hate Covey’s book. It’s way to high flying. Anyways, I think books inspire, not the ‘right books. What inspires you might just as well be Harry Potter. As long as you keep reading, you find idols, icons, villains and dreams. The most important thing is to keep having those.
I tricked you a little bit into reading this. I hope you still enjoyed that and maybe you’ll pick one up from my list.