A Crafter's Life

Musings on Self-Improvement

I have a whole category on my blog called Audiobooks and Podcasts. Many of these posts have to do with the latest “self-improvement” genre audiobook I’ve read. Most of these audiobooks I’ve borrowed from local libraries via their Overdrive or Hoopla apps.


If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ve likely endured many reviews on various non-fiction “self-improvement” books I’ve listened to and occasionally read hardcover.

Recently another reserved “self-improvement” audiobook became available for download, The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life by Robin Sharma, and in the midst of listening to the book, I turned it off and exclaimed: “Enough of this #$%&, I am tired of ‘self-improving’!”

As I was sharing in a recent conversation with my friends Michele H. and Anne T., I am completed burned out on listening/reading anything that has to do with “self-improvement”.


I’ve read a jillion (this number is way bigger than the imaginary number a zillion, ha!) self-improvement books, gained plenty of insight and attempted to live the best life possible but that did not stop awful things happening like my spouse suddenly passing away in December 2018 (yes, yes I know that you cannot read self-improvement books to protect yourself from bad things happening, but I guess in the back of my delusional mind I thought I was safe from major disaster as I was always trying to be the best person possible..).

I admit that some of the “self-improvement” type genre books such as Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (see post New Library Stack and Option B) helped me tremendously on my grief journey.  And I am sure there are some other books out there that could help me, but I am just too burned out on the genre to read anymore right now (or anytime in the near future).

I am so done with “self improving” for now. 

Now it’s time to find some good yummy fiction to listen to or read!


The irony of this recent decision is the moment I said “enough with the self-improvement” genre, every audiobook I had on reserve at my local library became available. So I actually have in my current online library account the following “self-improvement” books I can now borrow/download for 21 days:

  • The Self-Love Experiment by Shannon Kaiser
  • Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson (okay he did write a really awesome self help book I listened to a while ago: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, and it helped me “chill” on a lot of things)
  • Meta Human by Deepak Chopra
  • Good Habits, Bad Habits by Wendy Wood
  • The Third Door by Alex Banayan

It is sort of the like the “self-improvement” genre was having a major go at me as I was trying to give it up by sending me everything I had reserved at once.

Nope, returned them all!

(I wonder if now I will become a terrible and grouchy person since I’ve stopped “self-improving”…)


33 thoughts on “Musings on Self-Improvement”

  1. I have one called Atomic Habits I am trying to finish. You won’t become grumpy. Most of what you have read is there in your brain. It becomes a part of you and you exercise those habits without realizing it.

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  2. Good decision! That’s not to say that all self-help books are rubbish. But there is such a wealth of wisdom and insights in literature and fiction, and so many of these books to read. (For example, the author Elizabeth Strout gives such wonderfu insights into human nature through her characters Olive Kitteridge and Lucy Barton.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments and insight Mariss 🙂
      I agree – I think I could get a lot out of more fiction and I did enjoy Olive Kitteridge! I need to ready Lucy Barton!


  3. Quite right, especially as I like you just the way you are, honest, open, talented, generous , kind and fun. And yes I know all that from your blog and the comments you leave on mine. So what’s left to improve?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are already a good person. All the self-help books wind up making me feel that there is more wrong with me than I knew. While that first book Self-love seems interesting for you, it might be better to hold your own self-love experiment without being influenced by the author.

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  5. I loved this: “Enough of this #$%&, I am tired of ‘self-improving’!” I had a similar reaction recently and decided to take a break from that genre and read/listen some highly recommended fiction. That was the BEST decision I’ve made in a long time 🙂 Since the beginning of the year I’ve listened to “Where the Crawdads Sing” and “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”. Both were very good books but Where the Crawdads Sings was written so beautifully it completely transported me. I will most likely listen to it again in the future.

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  6. First off…MEMES!!! You know I love them :)) Second, I don’t think I’ve ever read a self-improvement book, unless you count writing advice books as self-improvement. While I’m sure there are some with terrific advice, I’m too much of a cynic to try one. Actually, I’m not sure I could get the book without my eyes rolling right out of my head. Here’s to being our best selves without a stack of books telling us how to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay so I already thought you were super cool and now your level of coolness has increased! No writing advice books are specific to a task so I do not think they could in that genre. I have read self help books that did not make my eyes roll but lately all of them make my eyes roll (and that is why is was time to stop). Glad you like the memes 🙂


  7. Good novels can often deliver just as good life lessons as self help books, sometimes it sticks better too because they come with an emotional resonance you don’t always get from self-help books.

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  8. Yay for you! Like your other bloggy friends, I doubt that you are going to turn into terrible and grouchy person! I have never been a fan of the genre. Not only does the smug tone of the books irritate me, but I think we have a strong moral compass that points us in the right direction to be the best we can. From what I have read in your blog, you have people around you and in your past that help to keep that compass steady.

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    1. Thanks so much Anne for your insights and belief I still stay cheerful 🙂 I can definitely see your point about the smugness! Some books are just overly “rah, rah, go team”, etc! I so appreciate your comments 🙂


  9. There was a time I read self-help books and a time I stopped. A long time ago. Thinking back, I remember the decision had to do with feeling good while reading, but everything turning to fluff after I finished.

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  10. I love the meme about library entertainment. It’s so TRUE!

    As for self-help books, once you’ve gained a few years you realize that they all say the same thing. All anybody needs to grasp is, “You know right from wrong, right?” and “Choose Happy.” to live a great life.

    Of course, you are kind and also a creative so you already have a leg up in the be- the-best-person department without anybody else’s advice. 😅😁

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