The sheer volume of self-help books has increased exponentially in the past decade and the scope has widened too. While many books still focus on achieving personal fulfillment and success in relationships, there are now more schools of thought on how to achieve those goals. The most popular subjects of the self-help genre are those books dealing with romantic relationships. In any given season, one will find a plethora of advice on dating, getting to the altar, surviving marriage, parenting, divorcing, and dating again, but more and more writers are including gay and lesbian relationships, or romance after the age of 60. Stress management is a staple in self-help literature, and although no writers have come up with anything particularly unique over the years, the need for updating and for refreshing techniques still exists. Newer books also address more specific problems, such as post-traumatic stress and bullying. This column presents some of the most recent books on the topics of general life enhancement, performance improvement, increasing mental acuity, stress relief, relationships, and niche issues. The books below address subjects as diverse as modern etiquette and the death of a child, and their tones can be inspiring as well as in-your-face. Most have something to offer everyone; it’s just a matter of taste and potential audience to consider when making a purchase.
Chapman, Sandra Bond. Make Your Brain Smarter: Increase Your Brain’s Creativity, Energy, and Focus. Free Pr. Dec. 2012. 304p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781451665475. $26. self-help
Chapman (founder and chief director, Ctr. for Brain Health) takes a neuroscientific approach to providing comprehensive brain fitness plans for all ages. After explaining the specifics of frontal lobe activity (e.g., planning, decision making, judgment) she helps readers perform relevant self-assessments and implement exercises to enhance integrated reasoning. Some of the tips include focusing on one task at a time, getting a good night’s sleep, and focusing on things that have the greatest impact. Not only does Chapman deliver specifics for teens, adults, and the elderly, she includes steps to rebound after brain injury and stave off decline in dementia. One of the best books in its field.
Dembling, Sophia. The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World. Perigee. Dec. 2012. 208p.index. ISBN 9780399537691. pap. $14. self-help
This book is a perfect example of a writer taking a “problem” that’s been around for a long time, well before Carl Jung coined the term introvert. Qualities of introverts, according to Dembling, include mulling ideas over before speaking, hating the telephone, and having a wealth of creative energy under the surface. Because of her blog, The Introvert’s Corner, which she writes for Psychology Today , Dembling has had an enormous outpouring of gratitude from introverts around the world. In this book she affirms the quality of introversion, and sets out to define, delineate, and understand it. The best part of the book is Dembling’s turning the extrovert advantage upside down and creating a respect for this way of being in the world. It’s about time!
Cornwall, Deborah J. Things I Wish I’d Known: Cancer Caregivers Speak Out. Bardolf & Co. 2012. 258p. ISBN 9780983618485. pap. $19.95. self-help
Having served for more than 20 years as a leadership volunteer and board member of the American Cancer Society, Cornwall has a wealth of knowledge about cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. The stress of caregiving is the main topic of this comprehensive book, and she discusses how to advocate for one’s patient, help children with cancer, understand “pull-aways” among family and friends, and manage expectations for medical professionals. She includes helpful chapters on seeking normalcy and enjoying time together before a loved one’s death. A much-needed support tool for an ever-growing portion of the population.
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The following titles are reviewed in the December 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Jago, Wendy. >Wired for Success: Using NLP* To Activate Your Brain for Maximum Achievement. Tarcher.2012. 288p. bibliog. ISBN 9780399160424. pap. $15.95. self-help
Norcross, John C. Changeology: 5 Steps To Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.S. & S. Dec. 2012. 272p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781451657616. $25. self-help
Renaye, Paula. Living the Life You Love: The No-Nonsense Guide to Total Transformation. Diomo. 2012. 269p. ISBN 780967478692. pap. $15.95. self-help
Wiseman, Richard. The As If Principle: The Radically New Approach to Changing Your Life. Free Pr. Jan. 2013. 304p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781451675054. $25. self-help
Green, Wendy. 50 Things You Can Do Today To Manage Stress. Trafalgar Square. (Personal Health Guides).2012. 175p. bibliog. ISBN 9781849532020. pap. $10.95. self-help
Ford, Julian & Jon Wortmann. Hijacked by Your Brain: How to Free Yourself When Stress Takes Over.Sourcebooks. Jan. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9781402273285. pap. $14.99. self-help
Tristan, Kathryn. Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living. Atria. Dec. 2012. ISBN 9781582703879. pap. $14.00. self-help
Komrad, Mark S. You Need Help!: A Step-by-Step Plan To Convince a Loved One To Get Counseling.Hazelden. 2012. 265p. ISBN 9781616491482. pap. $14.95. self-help
Lavender, Neil J. & Alan Cavaiola. Impossible To Please: How To Deal with Perfectionist Coworkers, Controlling Spouses, and Other Incredibly Critical People. New Harbinger. 2012. 192p. ISBN 9781608823482. pap. $16.95.
Victoria, Barbara. It’s Not About You, Except When It Is: A Field Manual for Parents of Addicted Children.Central Recovery Pr. 2012. 210p. ISBN 9781936290949. pap. $15.95. self-help
Bacon, Armen & Nancy Miller. Griefland: An Intimate Portrait of Love, Loss, and Unlikely Friendship. Skirt!: Globe Pequot. 2012. 176p. ISBN 9780762780846. $19.95. self-help
Jantz, Gregory L. Battles Men Face: Strategies To Win the War Within. Revell. 2012. 233p. ISBN 9780800719692. pap. $13.99. self-help
Lyme, Alan Philip, David J. Powell, & Stephen Andrew. Game Plan: A Man’s Guide to Achieving Emotional Fitness. Central Recovery. 2012. c.200p. ISBN 9781936290963 pap. $15.95. self-help
Rochefort, Harriet Welty. Joie de Vivre: Wining, Dining, and Romancing Like the French. Thomas Dunne.2012. 304p.
ISBN 9781250004567. $24.99. self-help
Evans, Jimmy with Frank Martin. Lifelong Love Affair: How To Have a Passionate and Deeply Rewarding Marriage. Baker. 2012. 231p. ISBN 9780801014789. $19.99.
Fahey, Maryjane & Caryn Beth Rosenthal. DUMPED: A Grown-Up Guide to Gettin’ Off Your Ass and Over Your Ex in Record Time. Sellers. 2012. c.144p. ISBN 97814162084808. pap. $14.95. self-help
Reilly, Natalie. What Your Mother Should’ve Told You: And Nobody Else Will. Allen & Unwin. Jan. 2013. 166p. ISBN 9781742379425. pap. $15.95. etiquette