What’s a Shelf-Help Book?
When your self-help books decorate your shelf instead of being read, you’ve got a collection of shelf-help books doing no one any good.
I love reading. I particularly love reading personal growth and development books. These books are also known as self-help books. When I hear about a book I think I want to read, sometimes I buy it just so it’s physically in my world. That way, I don’t forget about it. It’s there to decorate my shelf before I read it.
When Self-Help Turns Into Shelf-Help
When it stays on that shelf for a long time, that’s when it becomes a shelf-help book instead of a self-help book.
Unfortunately, the number of books on my shelf-help list has grown faster than the read list. There’s an extensive number of shelf-help books sitting on my bookcase now.
I think I need an intervention.When your self-help books decorate your shelf instead of being read, you've got a collection of shelf-help books doing no one any good. Click To Tweet
Turning Shelf-Help Into Self-Help
In order for me to get the value out of those self-help books, I need to read them. Even though I love reading, it seems I lack the discipline to read what I’ve got before buying more.
What I need to do is make a choice of one book on my shelf right now and read it. When I’m done with that one, choose another–and continue through all my shelf-help books until I’m done.
Sound like a plan?
I just can’t help myself from putting more books on my shelf. I don’t want to miss out on a good read because it wasn’t on my list and I forgot the title. Does that sound like anyone here or am I the only one who does this?
I suppose I could create a Trello board full of titles, but it just wouldn’t be the same as having these physical books sitting on my shelf.
Hmmm, it’s sounding more and more like I need an intervention, doesn’t it? 😱
Don’t suggest I get audio or kindle books, either. Not for this genre. I love holding this type of book in my hand. It’s so much better to underline, highlight, write notes in a physical book.
How I Read Self-Help Books
In a previous article, I described my secret about how I read personal growth books. I have a technique where I write on the blank flyleaf pages in the front or the back of the book. I suppose you can look at it as a form of annotation.
As I read along, I write on the blank pages all my notes, inspirations, and the most important ah-ha points I take away while I’m reading. I include the page number where the quote is or where my creative idea was inspired, so those passages in the book can be quickly found again. In the future, I can open up the book and quickly review my most important take-aways inside the cover and first few pages. I can even find where each quote corresponds in the book’s text because I added the page numbers.
Self-Help Book Clubs
In the past, I’ve started personal development book clubs. We would read a new selection monthly and then meet to discuss what we learned from the book of the month.
Part of the reason I decided to start book clubs was my extensive collection of shelf-help books! It held me accountable to do my monthly reading selections when I facilitated the discussion for the book of the month. I knew I would be reading one of the shelf-help books per month and this discipline worked for me.
I’ve recently introduced a book club element into my She’s Got Content coaching mastermind group I facilitate weekly. We’ve compiled a list of books that we’ll be working through this year, one month at a time. And yes, some of the selections on that list are from my shelf-help collection.
What’s On My Shelf-Help List Right Now
These are some of the books on my current shelf-help list–in no particular order. Definitely not a complete list, either 😉. Maybe you can help me get through my shelf-help list.
How You Can Help Me
Look over the list and tell me in the comments below which one you think I should read next. As I read through this shelf help list, I’ll review the books here on the blog and link to my reviews.
That will help hold me accountable, too!
Here’s my current list of shelf help books.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Big Potential by Shawn Achor
Design Your Dream Life by Denise Walsh
Get Rich Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas
The Asshole Survival Guide by Robert I. Sutton
The Awakened Woman by Dr. Tererai Trent
Do Less by Kate Northrup
The Middle Finger Project by Ash Ambirge
Everything Is Figure Outable by Marie Forleo
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
Think Like a Stripper by Erika Lyremark
Wired For Joy by Laurel Mellin
Take The Stairs by Rory Vaden
Steal The Show by Michael Port
Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards
What’s On Your Shelf-Help List?
Do you have shelf-help books that you’ve been meaning to read? Like me, maybe the only ‘help’ these books are giving is to help take up space on your shelf. If you want to put these books to use, here are some ways to get through them.
Start a Book Club
Consider starting a book club to motivate yourself to get through the list and hold you accountable. It’s always fun to discuss these types of books with others. Nowadays, global book clubs are easily formed with Zoom or other conferencing platforms. And it can even be a book club of two–you and one other!
Commit, Create a Deadline, and Get Accountability
You can also make a list of your shelf-help books and a deadline for each one. Then have someone hold you accountable to read it by a designated deadline of your choosing.
Let Go Of The Shelf-Help Books
Clutter is stressful. If shelf-help is becoming clutter, take action to turn shelf-help into self-help! You have to let go of some things in order to make room for the good stuff to come into your life. Sometimes, that’s as easy as reading the books that are sitting right there on your shelf and putting their wisdom into action.
If there is no way you want to read those books taking up space on your shelf, then give them away or sell them on eBay or Marketplace. Give someone else a chance to improve their life with these books.
Share Your List and Your Vote For My Next Read
What are some shelf-help book titles you’ve got on your shelf right now? Share your titles in the comments below. Tell us why you picked up that book in the first place. I might find another title to add to my list. I’ll make a promise not to buy any new ones, though, until I start making progress through my current shelf-help list!
Don’t forget to tell me which title above I should read next–I’ll be anxiously waiting to see which book you pick for me!