The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Read to make yourself better

While trying to brush up on my almost non-existent drawing skills, I stopped by the Oviatt Library and picked up a book called ‘The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,’ by Betty Edwards. The book itself is a drawing-instruction guide that helps people improve in the craft.

Little did I know at that time, I’d just borrowed a self-help book.

For those people looking for immediate service and don’t want to shell out big bucks for it, self-help books just might be the thing. These books range from useful gardening tips, to how-to guides that range from everything like learning to play an instrument to getting in touch with your spiritual side.

‘There are many reasons for self-help books,’ said CSUN psychology professor Michael Gardner. ‘People who are in pain, people looking for answers, or [who] want to help themselves financially’hellip;self-help books are interesting to those people.”

Self-help books are niche titles that are attractive to many demographics, which is why they continue to be peppered throughout bestsellers lists. In testament to the selling power of these books, one of Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club picks last year was Eckhart Tolle’s, ‘A New Earth,’ which went on to sell millions of copies and top Amazon’s best sellers list in 2008.’ ‘ ‘

Sales regarding specific self-help titles are determined by hot topic issues so books regarding weight loss or financial help are in this year. A dieting book titled ‘I Can Make You Thin’ managed to take first place as the bestselling book on the Barnes and Nobles list, bypassing many of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire novels.’ ‘ ‘

The accessibility to quick answers is what makes these books appealing to the general public.

‘A lot of people have answers and they will sell you those answers,’ Gardener said.

Some CSUN students look to self-help books for academic troubles or ‘how-to-guides’ like Business Law freshman Cody Taylor, who said he and his friends use these types of books.

‘I’ve used ‘Algebra for Dummies’ and ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Computers Basics,” Taylor said. ‘They give you the basic steps to help you and make things more plain and simple.’

For a book to motivate her and raise her spirits, marketing sophomore Marissa Macgauley purchased ‘Chicken Soup for the College Soul.’

‘I like ‘Chicken Soup for the College Soul,” Macgauley said. ‘I thought the stories were inspirational. I think [these books] are helpful for a lot of people who need that extra boost. If a book can do that then it’s beneficial.” ‘

Some students however find little to no use for self-help books when the Internet offers instant access to vast amounts of information for free. In addition to that, some students don’t depend on self-help books like freshman psychology major Lupe Llerenas.

‘I like to figure things out on my own,’ Llerenas said. ‘If you don’t need these books then you should do it on your own.’

Self-help books can be a useful tool, provided the right amount of time and attitude invested in them. They can help people learn a skill, strengthen a love life or improve confidence. They are easily accessible since many of the books can be found in local bookstores or in campus libraries. But Garner advises students to be aware that some of these books could be a waste of your time and money.

‘Be careful and [do] not blow your money on junk. Gardner said. ‘Look at many sources.’

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