Help yourself to a new book
If you step into a bookstore, you might notice a section labeled "self-help". You might also notice that the section is getting bigger. That's because more people are turning to self-help books for advice. Last year, the Guardian reported that sales of these books in the UK rose by 20 percent, to a record high of three million books.
Self-help books try to guide readers through various life problems. Popular themes include getting along with coworkers, time management and finding happiness.
Different kinds of people write self-help books, including some celebrities, but usually these books are the work of psychologists.
Paul Sweetman, the owner of City Books in the UK, said the current political climate might be one reason why more people are reading self-help books. Over the last two decades, the world has seen terrorist attacks, economic crises and new popular movements.
"People come into the shop and they're really fed up about things. They're looking for reassurances and peace of mind," Sweetman told the Guardian.
In addition, millennials – people born after 1990 – tend to be more aware of their own flaws and shortcomings, according to US psychologist Caroline Beaton. This means they're more likely to feel a need to improve themselves.
Self-help books used to be something people laughed at. Many people didn't take Chicken Soup stories or "success theory" books too seriously. But now they're more respected. "They're as good to read as any novel," Sweetman said.
Whatever the reason for the increased interest in self-help books, it's nice to know that help is at hand if we need it. But are these books truly helpful? Read one and find out.