I work at a bookstore. It’s a large store and the biggest bookstore in Athens so we get a lot of customers buying a whole mess of books. Some of the most often bought books are our self-improvement books.
Now when you think self-improvement, I’m sure your mind immediately jumps to books on “How to Win A Guy in 10 Days” or “Forget Him: How To Be An Independent Woman” (Those titles are both completely made up on the spot so any relation to a real book is purely coincidental). Self-improvement books, however, cover a massive amount of different ways one can better their lives. There’s books on dealing with personality disorders, becoming more sociable, learning to trust, becoming happy again, etc.
They aren’t all written by celebrities either. Some are written by people who are experts on the matter and others written by those who have “been there, done that.” I can’t say that I have read one yet but I am a professional at perusing the section since so many other people have the tendency to grab all the books in one area of self-improvement, without fail, every single day, and leave these books lying around elsewhere. It’s very frustrating. [Note to self: write a book called “What Did Your Parents Teach You?: Learning To Put Things Back Where They Belong.”]
I know everyone thinks that booksellers judge customers for whatever they’re buying at the store. Some think that we laugh at their purchases secretly after they have left. We don’t. Personally, I admire those who have the gall to come up to my register and place a self-improvement book on the counter (and I give monster props to couples who buy couples-related books at our store). It makes me think that they are genuinely trying to improve their situation in life even though they can’t afford or don’t have time to see a therapist. It’s nice to see that people are trying and that this world isn’t full of people who are unhappy and unmotivated to help themselves. Even though I already know the world is full of good people, it’s nice to get reassurance on that.
So please, don’t feel ashamed of buying a self-improvement book at your local bookstore. I will never think less of you for it. Promise.