Chicken Soup For Your Radio

I wish I wasn't so darn skeptical about the whole self-help thing. Every time I see a Chicken Soup For Your — insert person/ethnic group/age group, I want to throw boiling... er... soup on them. However, that's not to say that I haven't occasionally dabbled in gurus — don't repeat this, nameless internet reader — but I own the Tao of Pooh in hardback. Hardback! Well, I'm not the only skeptic out there, despite what those shiny self-help aisles are peddling. The irrepressible Beth Lisick was a hardcore skeptic herself — until she made her New Year's resolution to binge on them. A different guru every month — I'm talking Richard Simmons, that Mars/Venus guy, and even the Chicken Soup dude. She went for it... question is, have you ever gotten help from a guru? Why or why not?

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Beth Lisick,
After some champagne last night, I made my resolution. I woke up and seem to have misplaced it. Is there anywhere I can find it?

Sent by Alan Black | 3:03 PM | 1-1-2008

This topic, interview and Lesick's book call to mind a quip I recently heard:
"I went to my local bookstore and asked a salesperson is she could show me where the 'Self-Help' aisle was. She replied, 'Wouldn't that defeat the purpose?'"

Sent by Fr. Charles Wood | 3:30 PM | 1-1-2008

I read on long book by tony Robbins and Joseph McClendon. They spend a lot of time on neurolinguistic programming which explains why so much of this self help stuff does work. We all learn in differnet ways. i've read several of these books and they have definitly helped. I see so many people who are financially successful or who have prestigeous positions who are just miserable in their lives and miserable to be around. Who wants that?

Sent by Steve | 3:37 PM | 1-1-2008

i find that the benefit of "The 7 Habits" is that it teaches me to identify and react to influences based on principles instead of reacting. i think it's important to remember that your sceptic guest is trying to sell a book.

Sent by tracy saville | 3:42 PM | 1-1-2008

The late Robert Anton Wilson, a guru malgr?? lui, once wrote something like, "Finding a perfect master is ideal only if your desire is to become a perfect slave."

Everything I've ever read from a self-help type has either seemed trivial or highly suspect; then again, I'm nearly unhypnotisable.

Maybe people who are easily led are better off being easily led by these guys and gals than (say) fascists or fundamentalists (easy for me to say, since I don't count myself among them, always a dangerous sign), but it's possible that the self-help culture will prove to be a gateway meme.

Sent by Dabney Braggart | 3:45 PM | 1-1-2008

Great topic!

I can personally say that Dr. Napolean Hill's book, Think & Grow Rich, along with many other motivational writers and speakers greatly influenced my life. When I was getting out of the Navy twenty years ago, at the age of 21, I had absolutely now idea which direction in life to take. These books on financial growth and realizing one's own potential to succeed, have made me who I am today. They open open our awareness to the unlimited potential that we as humans have. I see them Dr. Napoleon Hill and others like him as life coaches.

Tom Stephens
Discovery Bay, CA

Sent by Tom Stephens | 3:54 PM | 1-1-2008

Oops!

I actually meant:

lifehacker.com

Sent by Ken | 3:55 PM | 1-1-2008

I have a poem from a song by John McCutcheon that guides me. The song is "Kindergarten Wall." Here it is:

Of all you learn here remember this the best,
Don't hurt each other and clean up your mess.
Take a nap every day and wash before you eat.
Hold hands, stick together,
Look before you cross the street.
Remember the seed in the little paper cup,
First the root goes down, then the plant grows up.

I find that this poems has a solution for any problem/crisis that I might be facing. I hope it helps you too!
Happy New Year,
Jan in Chandler

Sent by Jan Muscarella | 3:56 PM | 1-1-2008

There are 3 writers who helped me greatly in becoming the person I am today. Roger Housden with his book "Seven Sins for a Life Worth Living." It's a great book that will teach you to enjoy your senses, doing nothing useful, and say no. Oriah Mountain Dreamer with "The Invitation" and several others is inspirational. "The Invitation" forces you to take a look inside and evaluate yourself. I also credit my ability to carry myself with grace and consider myself a lady to the book "The Art and Power of Being a Lady" by Noelle Cleary and Dini Von Mueffling. What a wonderful examination of what makes a woman a lady and some great guidelines to help remind yourself daily exactly what a lady you are!

Sent by Eve | 4:07 PM | 1-1-2008

Two thoughts:
It is interesting to see how much Buddhst philosophy is present in self- help lit and on Oprah.

From my experience therapy can be a financial and emotional drain when the therapist offers little feedback. Perhaps these books fill a need that therapists are unable or unwilling to do.
I would love to hear a show about what makes for good therapy.

Sent by marie | 5:20 PM | 1-1-2008

I think the person at the end really summarized it well. These books contain information that we all already know. But in life, we get so wrapped up in what we are doing that we never think about the ideas. When someone reminds us in a book, it allows us to begin reapplying the principles that we already knew. So it shouldn't just be discarded as garbage because it's stuff that everyone already knows. What it should mean is that we shouldn't pay much for it, like Beth said, an old used copy is just as good to give us a fresh look at our lives.

Sent by Jeff | 10:18 PM | 1-1-2008

Beth mentioned a series of executive books that have been condensed for quicker reading. I didn't catch the full title of the company that makes them and wondered if you made note of it. Thank you.

Sent by Kim | 10:43 PM | 1-1-2008