Deepali Dutta

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Why do we read Self Help Books in secret? After all,these books are supposed to help me be a better person.

I always shy away to share the Self Help Books I read. Books on Public Speaking,Time Management etc.I don't know why people find it funny and easy to comment when they see these books on my book shelf?

Though I don't really bother ,what the other person thinks about it ,I usually share the good things in the book.
How do I handle the situation?

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    Mar 6 2012: I think you expressed it well. What they think and say is of little matter to you. Remember that no one can make you feel bad without your permission. We all like to demostrate our strengths but we conceal our weaknesses. I am impressed that you recongize your weaknesses and are correcting them. This tells me a lot about you as a person and I am impressed with your honesty and desire for self improvement and learning. These people who make the comments are making a joke to conceal their weaknesses. All the best ..... Bob
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    Mar 3 2012: I think a lot of people still see any open gesture for self improvement as threatening, along the lines of ....'oh no, they're changing....what if that means I have to change?'. Essentially change on any level unsettles a lot of people.

    Yes, 'self help' books have got a reputation in the last decade for ridicule. I tend to agree with Vineet, I know many people read them because they seek to understand deeper meaning in things. I've just bought one today called The Architecture of happiness by Alain de Botton. I don't see it as self 'help' as such but no doubt it will 'help' me somewhere, and almost certainly (where appropriate) I'd pass it on.
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      Mar 3 2012: I agree with you. A sudden change in any person is not welcomed, even if it's a positive change. And when people see that 'sudden' change, they would certainly start guessing the reasons for the change, for obvious reasons. And here in Ms.Dutta's case, people have seen the self-help books, so they obviously tend to comment.
      (Thumbs-up! to your reply. It was great)
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    Mar 4 2012: Deepali, How wonderful to have the chance to inspire you. Thank you for posting this thought-provoking and important question.
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    Mar 3 2012: Hi Deepali,
    Interesting isn't it. We all face problems in life and none of us are good at everything, so its actually very sensible to seek out ways of improving our skills and performance. You're right though, I don't discusss my self improvement reading with anyone. I have books about how to get things done, persuasion, speed reading and project management which should look okay on an office book shelf, however, I've also got books about workplace bullying, dealing with people you can't stand and another one on how to spot and deal with a control freak. So I guess it's better they stay on my home book shelf!

    You could ask the person who finds your reading material so amusing what books of this type they read - and when they say that they don't - you just respond by saying "Really!". They'll go away thinking they're the odd one out... :-)
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      Mar 3 2012: Thank you for responding Heather,

      Isn't it draining that we have a separate book-list for every place, books at office are different from books at home. :) Anyways ,its like you dress up differently for every occasion.

      I like you suggestion given in the end... :)
  • Mar 3 2012: Wrap these books with new cover and print " managing the change" or "Cloud computing" (I do not know what it is - frankly) 'Substitution Economy " or : Design Funnel" etc., - and observe - just for sake of it - you will find that there will be a marked change in their perception and they read it and do not want to talk or question it because they do not about it. These books like Public Speaking or Time Management - became very old - they laugh at you - because - " You are still following those books? " to say. Instead replace them with Bengali books and any thing connected with latest trend.

    I suggest you visit you get 300 pdf files -You like them very much.
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    Mar 3 2012: Frankly, most people read self-help books NOT beacuse they really need help, but just beacuse they want to know different philosophies and thinking approaches of great psychologists and authors. And infact, most people understand that. Most of my friends do. But if someone makes sarcastic (somewhat) comments, I think we can conveniently understand that he/she doesn't have a taste to appreciate reading such great books; it's perhaps their fault. And no doubt, we need not be furtive for reading self-help books.
    And maybe the best way to handle your situation is to show to your friends (or whoever comments on that) that self-help books have sold millions and millions of copies worldwide. There's a HUGE list of great self-help books: First Things First, 7 Habits of highly effective people - by Stephen R Covey; I'm Okay You're Okay, Sigmund Freud's books..... and so on... they've sold millions and millions of copies.
    It's indeed fascinating to understnad situations from the great-author's point-of-view which is very different from our perception. They have a whole-new way of thinking. Some of them might just change of lives!
    People must and do understand that self-help books are not like remedies or medicines that a sick person takes.
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      Mar 3 2012: Hi Vineet and Stuart,

      Firstly,thank you for responding.I really think its silly to even bother,what the people(who have no habit of reading) ,but now that you guys are pointing me towards understanding the authors thinking/point-of-view,I am concerned that I really pic up books to overcome what I am lagging at.

      To explain it further,I really hope to become a good Orator, want to excel at public speaking and so I buy books on the related topic.But I have also been buying books on personal growth, leadership and being succefull managers...these are all my aspirations and I feel reading books on these topics is like a preparation for tomorrow.

      I would like to know from you guys,if I am following any old fashioned ideology, do you think there is any other way to personal grooming or to sort for help rather than reading such books?
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        Mar 3 2012: To become a better orator, reading up on how to shape your arguments and to get your listener's attention are probably valuable, but some skills really need practice as well, this one in front of a real audience.Your friends may be condescending about self-help books, but the fact that such books are a very large component, I believe, of modern book sales, both the sort of copy you can hold in your hand and the e-book version, suggests you have millions of people's worth of company! Not only that, but for any self-help book you are reading, there is a fair chance you could find an online study group or community of enthusiasts for it. Aside from self-help books, there is quite a proliferation of coaching and advice blogs with large readership and people sending each other links.
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        Mar 3 2012: Yes, I think there is another better way of personal grooming, but it might sound ridiculous to you. I belive that "personal grooming" is an outcome of a series of personal counselings - that personal grooming has to come from WITHIN. Analyse yourself and identify the main changes you need to make. This is better than reading books, because books can provide you with really good philosophies and approcahes, but the analysis which is critical cannot be done by anyone except you!
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          Mar 3 2012: Vineet,

          I've gone through that self introspection period already and it really is a MUST for every one to be best at what they like/feel good about.

          Ive read these amazing books( again from my Self help category) StrengthsFinder 2.0, and Now, Discover Your Strengths,which have been very helpful to me in determining what i am gud at and what i really want to focus on. So I am going to continue finding answers to my questions in such books.

          Thanks for responding.
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        Mar 3 2012: Deepali, you are not 'following any old fashioned ideology' at all. Having identified what it is you'd like to improve, (that's often the most difficult part) I would recommend you find someone you live or work with who can help you champion your goal(s). Fritzie is right- practice, practice, practice wherever and whenever you can. I would also say that essentially it is WHAT you want to talk about which matters. I'm sure it is authentic to you, that is to say something which you value greatly. Public speakers who excel speak from the heart and I would recommend you really dig deep into what you want to say and importantly WHY you want to say it. The fluency and flow will follow naturally when you are passionate about something. Above all, trust that what you have is worth saying, I have no doubt it is. Be courageous, it will be far worse if you do not say something which you feel needs saying. The world needs more inspirational speakers. The very best of luck on your journey. Please do let me know how it goes.
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          Mar 3 2012: Wow Stuart,

          I have never spoken about my longing to become an orator before to anybody,and sharing my view point on TED today has really made my soul talk.
          The biggest challenge of public speaking for me is the "fluency and flow" and you've hit the nail on dot. "Be courageous, it will be far worse if you do not say something which you feel needs saying." I cant thank you enough for those inspiring words from you.
          Its just few hours back,that i posted this question,and i already have a convincing answer.

          I am going to re-read your post again and again until I am prepared!!