Self-help books have the potential to help—and to harm. Authors in this genre range from those with a mission to serve you to those with a mission to scam you. Critical thinking is a must for both readers and writers.
Before you start writing a self-help book, build good karma by using the following resources.
New Harbinger is a first-rate publisher of self-help books, which its editors define as those that “teach readers how to master essential life skills.” The company’s website is a gold mine.
Above all, read New Harbinger’s guidelines for how to write a self-help book. You can tell that these hard-won suggestions emerged from decades of editing experience. They offer useful guidance for writing any non-fiction book.
This is Jeremy Dean’s digest of psychological research that’s relevant to daily life. Dean reads peer-reviewed journals and writes about studies in a way that’s simple without being simplistic.
For some warnings worth heeding, see his posts about self-help books. These include Is Modern Self-Help Just a Massive Money-Making Scam? and 6 Self-Help Books for Depression Recommended by Experts.
ABCT publishes a list of books that have earned the association’s “self-help seal of merit.” These books are recognized as “consistent with cognitive-behavioral therapy principles” and based on “scientifically tested strategies” for overcoming difficulties.
Christian Jarrett, an academic psychologist associated with the British Psychological Society, writes another popular blog based on reviews of reputable research. Check out CBT-based self-help books can do more harm than good and and Positive psychology exercises can be harmful for some.
Gary Gutting on How Reliable Are the Social Sciences?
Gutting is a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He raises concerns about social scientists’ abilities to make reliable predictions about how people behave outside the research lab. These are big questions that invite humility about the words we put out into the world.
Also check out…
healthfinder.gov—a major portal for health information from the federal government
Hazelden Betty Ford, where you can link to free resources and online communities of recovering people