Self-Help Books Will Ruin Your Life

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So, I’ve received thousands of messages from people asking me for book recommendations and not one of them has ever given me any sort of context, no mention of any specific challenge they’re trying to solve, or particular skill they’re trying to develop, and I’ll tell you why, it’s because they’re not really looking to accomplish anything.

What actually they’re looking for, unbeknownst to then, is for things to somehow be accomplished for them, searching for a magical book that will awaken them to a secret knowledge that will somehow unlock their ability to take infinite, effortless  action. 

This book does not exist. 

And the reality of most modern self-help books is actually the opposite of what most people believe them to be, where the more that we consume them, the less able we are to actually do things. 

Self help? More like self-destruction. 

In this video, I’ll show you exactly what’s happening, and what you can do to get off the hamster-wheel of consumption, and back onto the path towards accomplishment. Let’s begin.

Most modern self-help books cause more harm than good

“The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins is a perfect example of how a well-intentioned book can cause more harm than good.

This book can be summarized in a single sentence: 

“The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 and physically move or your brain will stop you.”

It’s actually a pretty amazing piece of advice, I think that anyone who has actually applied it would agree. But why, for a concept that can be fully summarized in a single sentence, do we need 239 f*cking pages?

I’ve read the book, the first 33 pages are literally just a build-up to how effective the 5 second rule is, along with how Mel discovered the rule, then on page 34 comes the explanation, and the remaining 205 pages are basically just an all-out-assault on the intelligence of anyone who reads them, testimonial after testimonial of people talking about how the 5 second rule changed their life, some of them told from the perspective of Mel, some of them copy and pasted from the Facebook group. 

Now here’s the thing,  anyone who actually reads the book through to the end, is going to be weaker as a result. Let me explain, assuming the length of the audio book,  the average person will have spent 7 hours and 35 minutes of their life reading a book, whose sole piece of actionable advice is that you should take action on things within 5 seconds, in other words, you’re reading a book that repeats over and over the importance of taking action within 5 seconds, while spending 7 hours and 35 minutes positively reinforcing not taking action. 

And there are so many other modern self-help books that follow this same format, blog posts that have somehow been bloated out to hundreds of pages, half the book consists of useless anecdotes, while the other half is just the same information repeated over and over. 

So, now that we’ve established why these books are preaching action while conditioning inaction, it’s time to take a good look at what makes them so popular. 

People read modern self-help books to feel good, not to improve

In the modern age, there’s never a moment where we can’t immediately access something that makes us feel good, we are born into a system where profit is the goal, and so by time we’ve reached the age where we get to start making decisions for ourselves, we’ve been fully indoctrinated, hardwired to believe that we should always seek pleasure and avoid pain. Nowhere is this belief more destructive than when it comes anything having to do with improving ourselves, where we should actually be seeking out pain and discomfort. 

To grow we must challenge the  beliefs we most cherish, push ourselves past our perceived limits, pain and discomfort are indicators that we are actually growing.

Modern books understand that we’ve been conditioned to seek out pleasure in every moment, and so their authors have been conditioned to help us achieve just that, this is why most of them are packed to the gills with “filler” content like “success stories”, and hey, as a business owner, I completely understand the value of using social proof to help shape expectation, as humans, we’re much more likely to embrace a particular concept or strategy if we’re given examples of how other people have transformed their lives by using them. 

And using “social proof” in self-help books isn’t anything new, Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”, published in 1937, starts off with a couple of amazing success stories of people who successfully applied the knowledge that the author is about to share, but unlike most modern self-help books, Hill then proceeds to actually share that knowledge, with extreme attention to detail. 

I’m ashamed to admit this, but there was a time, where I thought that “The Secret” was the greatest book ever. Why? Because others had told me that it was the greatest book ever. Why did they think that? Because Oprah told them.

After reading it, the idea that I could visualize an open parking space at the destination I was headed to, and then magically, sometimes finding one, made me a believer. Years later, I mentioned my love of “The Secret” to a girlfriend, who then proceeded to show me, point by point, why she thought the book was garbage. 

How it conditions people to expect the universe to make things happen for them instead of making them happen for themselves. Up until this point I had never heard anyone critique The Secret, which made me realize that I had never even had the faintest idea to think critically about it myself. This is where I started to realize that most people don’t read self-help books critically, they read them to feel good, they don’t read self-help books to actually improve themselves, they read them to feel like they’re improving themselves, without actually having to do anything.

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Most modern self-help books cause more harm than good

Most self-help books preach the importance of taking action to receive benefit from the knowledge they teach, yet often contain hundreds of pages of filler content. They preach taking action, while conditioning us towards inaction.

People read modern self-help books to feel good, not to improve

Modern society indoctrinates us to seek out pleasure in every moment, while anyone seeking personal growth should actually be doing the exact opposite. As a result, most modern self-help books are designed to say and repeat things that make us feel good, instead of challenging us or prompting us to think critically.



Ok, so here’s my official book recommendation.

First, make sure you have a goal, then, choose a book whose information you can read slowly, no more than a chapter a day, and apply consistently towards the realization of that goal. The only way to actually learn something is to apply it, over time you’ll find that some of what you apply will stick, and most of what you apply, you’ll forget.

This is normal, and it’s part of the process of bringing information from theory to reality, part of the process of becoming your own person, with your own strengths and weaknesses.

I find that a lot of people, especially those who are new to the concept of self-improvement, have the idea that they should read modern books because the knowledge is more recent, and thus more relevant, this could not be further from the truth. 

Classic self-help books are considered classics because the information within those books is timeless. You’ll find that these books are just as relevant today as when they were written, books like “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz, and “The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin are all books that I’ve read and consider to contain incredible knowledge when read slowlyand applied consistently. 

Then you can graduate to books like “The Tao Te Ching” or  Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil”. These are books that will require you to have already taken a massive amount of action in life to possibly even begin to be able to understand and if you’re not ready, trust me, they will let you know. 

Alright guys, I work really hard on these videos, our whole team works hard on them, and if you can appreciate that, all I’m asking for is for you to take a single second to click the like button. 

If you like being challenged mentally, make sure to follow me on Instagram, @NelsonQuest.

If you need help figuring out goals I recommend that you check out my Dark Mode system, which is a productivity system I developed for myself to help me set and then achieve big goals. You can grab it for free.

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In one of my next videos, I’ll be taking aim at content creators who make videos titled “how I read 100 books in 1 year” And how unless you review books for a living, or have photographic memory, only a complete moron would read 100 books in a year.

This is the path.

Ciao and cya in the next post. 


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