Friday, January 30, 2009

Review of Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone

I loved this book!

I have been a Beth Lisick fan since hearing her do a reading at a local event with other authors. I read her last book, and eagerly reserved this one at the library when I heard about it. I was not disappointed!

The book details how Beth wakes up on New Year's Day and instead of making a frivolous resolution (like learning how to do the splits, which she ponders for a few minutes), decides to actually try to improve her life via the very popular and slightly controversial route of self-help books and motivational speakers. She pitches the idea to her publisher, receives an advance that helps her register for seminars and pay for travel, and she's off!

It was funny how timely this book was for me, since I am also (like millions of Americans) embarking on new self-improvement strategies as of the beginning of the year. I'm also now reading a self-help book, which is not something I ever do...and I checked that book out before I checked this one out! (Review on that one to come...but I'm already having a hard time with it.)

Beth is hilarious and engaging and the book had several "laugh out loud" moments for me. Because she lives in the same town I do and frequently mentions local neighborhoods and landmarks, I feel like she could easily be one of my friends. I can just see listening to her tell these stories over lattes. Hey Beth, call me, okay?

Beth reads a new book/goes to a new seminar each month, and tries to keep an open mind, suppressing her natural cynicism and sarcasm and trying to see if any of the advice will actually work. This is a big problem for me too, so I could relate. Already, as I read the self-help book I checked out, I'm having a hard time swallowing language like, "our wellness path," and "creating a new experience of ourselves." Beth reads books and attends seminars by Suze Orman, Deepak Chopra, Richard Simmons, John Gray, and even psychic Sylvia Brown. At the end of the year she has made some improvements and gained some new perspective, although she is very honest when she feels that she's watching an infomercial instead of a speaker who's honestly invested in helping people.

I would totally recommend this book. I read it in two days--it's funny while still making you think about the things you do in your every day life that could possibly use a tuneup. Now, if I can keep an open mind long enough to get through one self-help book, I'll be happy....

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