How Do I Choose the Best Self-Help Materials?

Christina Edwards

Before choosing any self-help materials, you should first have a clear idea about what you want to improve about yourself. Books, CDs, and videos are all great self-help materials, and some self-help information can also be found on the Internet. Friends and doctors may be able to recommend self-help products, but you should also make sure that they are easy to understand and come from a trusted authority on the subject. Many self help resources may also be targeted toward a particular gender, age group, or religion.

Self-help books may be beneficial for children and adults.
Self-help books may be beneficial for children and adults.

Any self-help materials you try should focus on an area that you are looking to improve about yourself. Self-help resources that are not targeted toward your specific problem will usually do you no good. For example, a childless person will usually find a parenting self-help book rather useless.

The Internet is full of self-help resources, and many of them are available free of charge.
The Internet is full of self-help resources, and many of them are available free of charge.

You should then decide which type of media you want your self-help materials to be in. Self-help books are very popular, for example, and these can be found in book stores and libraries. Movies and CDs are another option. The Internet is also full of self-help resources, and many of them are free.

When choosing the best self-help resources, you may want to ask trusted individuals for advice. Friends and family members who have dealt with similar problems may be able to recommend an excellent self-help resource, for instance. Your doctor or self-help support group may also be able to recommend materials.

The best self-help materials for you, however, will largely depend on your personal preferences. Make sure that they are easy for you to understand. Flip through self-help book and read a few pages, if possible, to make sure that you like the author's writing style. If you are a more lighthearted person, for instance, you may not benefit from a self-help book that is completely serious.

You should also consider where the self-help resources come from. The best self-help materials are typically written by experts in their fields. A psychologist specializing in depression, for instance, would usually be able to write a credible self-help depression book.

Many self-help materials are geared toward a specific type of person. Self-help resources may be targeted toward either men or women, for instance. Self-help materials are also available for different ages groups, from children to teenagers. Christian self-help resources may also be beneficial to spiritual individuals.

It's important that self-help books are easy for the reader to understand.
It's important that self-help books are easy for the reader to understand.

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Discussion Comments


@KoiwiGal - Self help materials aren't just contained in books. There are audio tapes and seminars and other materials available as well. I do think people should look up library resources of course, but the first port of call should be self help websites, particularly those set up by people who are reviewing different kinds of materials. Either that or forums, where you can get good advice on things that have actually helped people overcome their problems.


@pastanaga - I think that's good advice for anyone who is looking for self help materials. Shop around. Go to the library and check out a whole bunch of different kinds of books on the topic that interests you and see what is out there. See what books they all reference and check those out as well.

Don't take this kind of scattershot approach for your entire journey, because eventually you'll want to get deeper into knowledge, but until you know what you don't know and you figure out where to find it, you could fall victim to any number of scams. Self help materials are always going to sound as if they are the answer to everything, because that's what they want you to think.


I've found that counselors tend to be very good at recommending self help books. Since they have to read a lot of them in order to stay up to date in their career, they have a good sense of what is worth reading and what isn't.

Just beware anyone who is too fanatical about a single book or author. In my experience there isn't a single book that is useful for every single situation and anyone who says there is just hasn't read enough to know differently.

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