Psychological Self-Help

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With 20,000+ different self-help books sitting on book shelves
somewhere, the biggest problem is finding the book you need! These
are the conditions: (1) publishers favor one-topic books, (2) self-help
writers often recommend only one or two types of self-help methods,
and (3) self-help authors range from untrained in psychology to world-
class experts, thus, the quality of information in books ranges from
worthless (or even harmful) to the best available. Thus, what you get
in a book may be very limited--a small slice of applied psychology.
Certainly, the quack and the mystic won't reveal their ignorance on the
front of their books. So, obviously, a person seeking up-to-date
knowledge about a problem has a problem. Genuine expertise about
self-help books is not available, certainly not from publishers or
bookstores. No one has read all this stuff. I have read a lot of it and
attempted to provide you with summaries. This book cites and
recommends the best books I could find, but quickly finding the
knowledge you need at any one time is a monumental task that needs
solving in this age of information and technology. Most public and
university libraries have relatively few self-help books, but through a
state-wide, inter-library loan system you can get many books (if you
know the author or the title). 
So, in case you assumed that some intelligent body (psychologists,
publishers, a government agency) was coordinating and insuring the
cogent development of personally helpful psychology, disabuse
yourself of that good idea right now. While publishers grind out their
2,000 new self-help books every year, they do not print general, broad
scope, introductory self-help textbooks for teaching students to
prevent or cope with common personal problems. Why not? As we will
see, because schools and colleges don't offer personally useful
psychology classes (partly because there isn't an acceptable textbook).
However, don't forget: amid the junk, there are lots of good specific-
focus books available, if you can find them. 
My conclusions again are: coping effectively with life in general--
and all lives are complex--requires us to know how to handle many
ordinary problems as well as knowing how to improve what we already
do well. That requires a basic knowledge of useful psychology which
can be applied by everyone in almost any situation. Currently, the
typical specialized self-help books fail to provide us with generalized
self-control, and there is no bibliographic system to help you find the
specific information you need for solving today's problem. 
There are about 9,000 bookstores in this country, although many
of the small ones are being driven out of business by the giant
discount chains. Bookstores are just a part of the publishing business--
they provide storage bins and advertisement for selected new books.
They stock only a fraction of all books in print. The chain bookstores
don't even order their own books; they just shelf whatever corporate
headquarters ships them. The clerks don't know the contents or
quality of the books in stock, and certainly not unstocked books. So
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