They help people improve quality of life: Therapist
There was a significant rise in the publication and readership of self-help books in 2020 among youngsters because of the pandemic.
Srikant K, manager of The Bookhive, Church Street, informed The Observer: “There was a surge in the purchase of self-help genre books last year in the first unlock. Many students came to buy books like Rich Dad Poor Dad, Who Moved My Cheese and Atomic Habits.”
According to a WHO survey, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted critical mental health services in 93 percent of the countries worldwide while the demand for mental health is increasing. As a result, people suffering from mental health issues are going for alternative means to make themselves feel better, said Manasi Likhite, a Mumbai therapist.
“Self-help books are those which aim at giving people tips and hacks to deal with certain psychological problems, change behaviour and habit patterns. Basically to improve one’s quality of life,” she added.
Sanidhya Sharma, 21, advertiser at The Glitch, a creative agency, said: “I read Atomic Habits and The Almanac. These were recommended on some of my favourite YouTube channels. “They made me understand why I lacked motivation, and why it was essential for me to counter that.”
Self-help books turned out to be helpful for Muskan Bihani, a working professional, since they helped her maintain peace of mind even in tough situations. “During the pandemic, everything was very dull and stressful. These helped me find peace and also taught me how to be patient,” she said.
Rutuparn Kulkarni, a management student, said self-help books somewhat help readers. “I read Atomic Habits and it made my perspective wider and tried to make me a punctual person,” he said.
According to Goodreads, a website for book recommendations, 110 self-help books were published in 2019. The number rose to 124 in 2020.
There is a big market for self-help books, said Aruna Naidu, a self-publisher from Bengaluru. “In the beginning of March 2021, for the self- help book I was publishing, we got 150 pre orders. By the month–end, we sold almost 3,000 copies. That is how demanding the self-help genre is.”
About the topics that come under self-help genre, she explained: “Motivational, healing, spiritual and mental health are some of the major topics. Apart from that, now there are self-help books on finance, startups and women.”
“There were a lot of bulk orders from the corporate sector and some schools,” Naidu shared.
Yash Asrani, an NMIMS student, said self-help books enable one to revamp one’s thought and provide a perspective. “I read Ikigai, The Secret, and Grow Rich…. These books emphasized on the basics and taught me how consistency and honesty set successful apart from the rest.”
Swarangi Karnik, a student from Mumbai, said she read a few self-help books recommended on the Web. “I read Think Like a Monk and Who Will Cry When You Die during the pandemic as I was going through a rough phase. These are extremely helpful if you apply it in real life and do the exercises recommended by the authors.”
Therapist Likhite said: “A good self-help book has some roots in psychotherapy approach, so they guide well. Self-help books are like Band Aid. They will heal a scratch and a surface-level wound; they will be of no use in case the wound is deeper and requires deeper intervention.”
On the other hand, some people had a different view about self-help books.
Joannmaria Mathew, a Reva University student, said they don’t really help. “I think they will only help for few days, and after that you are back to your old self.”
Ninad Gadre, a management student, said of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: “I read this book in the pandemic and did not like it one bit. The book is all over the place. It starts off well but fails to keep a grip over the readers and defeats the purpose of a self-help book.”
Asked why he chose to read it, he said: “It was all over social media, hence I was curious. The only good thing about the book was its branding and marketing.”
Amruta Sanjay, a graduate from Mumbai University, accessed audio self-help books during the pandemic. “I had a major accident some months ago and was bedridden. I was stuck physically and mentally. That is when I heard about Ikigai and The Monk who sold his Ferrari. They taught me how to deal with negative thoughts and how to change my perspective of life.”
Some of the self-help books in the Amazon Best Sellers list areThe Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy, Think like a Monk by Jay Shetty, Atomic Habits by James Clear and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.