"Self-improvement books: those who need them won't read them or heed them."
- Anton Szandor LaVey
"If you're looking for self-help, why would you read a book written by somebody else? That’s not self-help; that's HELP! There's no such THING as self-help. If you did it yourself, you didn’t need help! Try to pay attention to the language we’ve all agreed on."
- George Carlin
"If you are motivated enough to go to the store and buy a motivation book, aren't you motivated enough to do that? So you don't need the book. Put it back."
- George Carlin, 'Napalm & Silly Putty'
As much as I love these quotes, I can't completely knock self-help books. After all, I credit much of my inspiration and progress in my own clutter-conquering to Don Aslett's Clutters Last Stand.
I've been through other self-help books, tapes, etc. from other sources on a few other subjects. How effective are they? Well that largely depends on the individual. Even aside from that, I've noticed that some self-help sources were mostly empty pep talk and vague generalizations (John C. Maxwell comes to mind). Some however, like Aslett's books, give advice that's specific and practical, along with exercises you can do yourself. So I suspect that some of the reasons self-help books and self-help programs fail for some people, may include being either too much of the first category (vague pep talk), or that the reader is just lazy and brushes off the exercise, only skims the book, etc.
A few weeks back, I decided to get into Tony Robbins. You've probably seen him here and there over the years. Right now I'm in the middle of his 30 day "Personal Power" program. It sells on his site for $300. Is that how I got it? Hell no. I stumbled across the series on cassette tape, in a used book store. Then I transferred them to my hard drive, cleaned up the sound, and exported them to mp3. Granted it was a little time-consuming doing this and the mp3s are still far from benig the best quality, but hey, I bought all the tapes for under $15. So far, I'm liking the program. As for the details of how this can help with clutter, that's another story. I'll mention that as it comes.