Having a conversation with a dear friend of mine led us to this topic.
Why do we call books that are nonfiction and are for the sole purpose of bettering your life "Self Help"?
For myself and my friend there seems to be a negative connotation behind the "Self Help" phrase. Let me back this claim up with some academic research.
Sociologist Donald Black argued that what we call crime can be defined adversely from the point of view of the perpetrator the pursuit of justice. Hence the name Self-Help. Criminals justify the acts they commit based on their morality.
This mostly applied to the lower classes, as the elites and the middle classes pursued justice with the legal system. I found this useful and relatable information in The Better Angels Of Our Nature by Steven Pinker. The point of this novel is to explain how our society has become less violent over time.
How can we relate to having non-fictitious books of which we call self-help. Yet we can refer to the most heinous of acts self-help. I understand that words can have different meanings in different contexts, but let us rephrase the word self-help and give a positive substance to what it truly means to accumulate self-help.
For the betterment of our thinking let us rename self-help with Personal Advancement. I can't take all the credit for this since it was a collaborative effort (more on collaborative effort another time).
I dislike telling people I am reading self-help book because it makes it seem that I am broken, I need help, I am lost, and worse of all that I am in a predicament. On the contrary to this belief of self-help I am looking to learn, discover, and grow.
Personal Advancement is a way to truly explain your journey for improvement into the world of nonfiction publications.
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this post. To be continued....
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