Some self-help assistance

By Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / December 31, 2008
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There was no shortage of self-help books released in 2008. If you bought all of them, perhaps you're a happier, more self-aware person who is in a better relationship and wears better outfits. Of course, you're probably out a few hundred dollars; these books tend to cost about $20 each.

Before any more of you spend your hard-earned cash and your precious time on these life guides, let me do the work for you. Today, I'm offering up my inaugural summary of self-help books released in the past 12 months. I've boiled them down to a few sentences each for easy reading. For many of these books, one sentence is enough.

"Intelligence for Your Life: Powerful Lessons for Personal Growth" by John Tesh: Figure out what you like to do and do it with passion. Open doors on dates. Also, put your credit cards in the freezer.

"The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully" by Joan Chittister: Don't be afraid of getting old. Also, senior citizens are awesome.

"Before You Plan Your Wedding . . . Plan Your Marriage" by Greg Smalley, Erin Smalley, and Steve Halliday: The person you're marrying will actually be in your face all the time after the party is over. Consider that. Also, once you're married, try to spend 20 minutes a day doing something nice for your spouse and maybe you won't get divorced.

"We Can't Stay Together for the Dogs: Doing What's Best for Your Dog When Your Relationship Breaks Up" by Jennifer Keene: Your dogs are like hairy kids. Don't take your anger out on them. Massage them. Massage yourself. Rinse. Repeat.

"The Truth About Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It" by M. Gary Neuman: If you are a woman, there are things you can do to prevent your man from having an affair. They include complimenting him a lot. Also, if your husband has a female friend, he is probably sleeping with her.

"The Sexually Confident Wife: Connecting With Your Husband in Mind, Heart, Body, Spirit" by Shannon Ethridge: Don't be afraid to take your clothes off, because you probably don't look that bad.

"The Law of Attraction, Plain and Simple: Create the Extraordinary Life That You Deserve" by Sonia Ricotti: Stop being so negative. It's bumming everyone out.

"Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth" by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener: Real happiness is on the inside, even though having awesome things happen to you helps.

"Being Truly You . . . for Women: Discovering Your Own Unique Wardrobe Personality" by Angela Marshall: Make sure your outfit matches your soul.

"Being Truly You . . . For Men: Discovering Your Own Unique Wardrobe Personality" by Angela Marshall: Same goes for dudes.

"The 30-Day Heartbreak Cure: Getting Over Him and Back Out There One Month From Today" by Catherine Hickland: Experience the sad, but very, very quickly, please.

"The Broken American Male: And How to Fix Him" by Shmuley Boteach: Your man feels like a failure because of society. Validate him, please.

"My Answer Is No . . . If That's Okay With You: How Women Can Say No and (Still) Feel Good About It" by Nanette Gartrell: If you stop being such a lame doormat, people will probably still like you.

"Happiness for Dummies" by W. Doyle Gentry: Don't worry, be happy.

"Boyfriend University: Take Advantage of Your Man and Learn While You Can" by Jennifer Sander and Lynne Rominger: You'll live a better life if you learn how to drink cognac, play poker, and fix your car. You know, boy things.

"What Men Say, What Women Hear: Bridging the Communication Gap One Conversation at a Time" by Linda Papadopoulos: Women are always jumping to crazy, crazy conclusions. They should stop doing that.

"Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love" by Christine B. Whelan: SWANS (Strong Women Achievers, No Spouse) are actually quite desirable to smart men. It's the media's fault for suggesting otherwise.

Feel all better now?

Thought so.

See you next year.

Meredith Goldstein can be reached at

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