Self-help books are designed to provide readers with information and real-life stories which can help them focus their efforts to overcome a particular personal problem. They offer advice on virtually every personal topic, from romantic relationships and financial success to self esteem and career paths.
The best self-help books are written by proven experts and offer tangible, sensible plans that anticipate the problems and difficulties readers may have when they try to implement the advice, offering solutions and alternate strategies to try. This genre has been scrutinized and criticized for failing to provide the kind of advice that an average, everyday person could realistically implement. Inferior self-help books also tend to focus on relatively meaningless success stories and anecdotal tidbits that have little to no bearing on the reader's life or situation.
Some of the best-selling self-help books of all time include the relationship tome He's Just Not That into You, the heartwarming Chicken Soup for the Soul (and its many sequels), the groundbreaking 1936 self-help pioneer How to Win Friends and Influence People and the personal success-oriented Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Most experts in the field point to these when asked for a list of the greatest self-help books ever written.
Self-help audio books are becoming increasingly popular, as they permit readers to reabsorb important lessons simply by listening to the playback again and again. Many popular titles are now available in audio formats.
Examples of other top-selling self-help books include:
Given the immense volume of self-help books available, it's vital that readers think critically when evaluating titles under consideration and the authors who wrote the books.
In general, credible self-help books are written by accredited experts. Look for books written by family therapists, marital therapists, relationship counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, successful entrepreneurs and social workers. Look for promotional language that delivers realistic, unexaggerated claims about the level of success the reader can hope to achieve.
Dubious self-help books will break virtually all of these guidelines. They are written by people who inflate or misrepresent their credentials through the use of elaborate, confusing language. Any book that offers instantaneous or one-stop solutions to difficult problems should also be viewed with suspicion. Most of the free self-help books available online fall into this category. No reputable author needs to rely on affiliate marketing strategies to generate sales and revenue.