I have to confess something to you. I'm not a fan of self-help books.
For the longest time, I was stubborn. I held those books in very high contempt. What could a book teach me? What could I possibly learn from a book that was seemingly designed to help me? I don't need help!
But I did. And I found the help I needed in not-quite self-help books. Not books that were categorized officially in that spot, but ones that had a profound impact on me nonetheless. And it wasn't always expected.
Many years ago my wife and I were at a bookstore and I found myself looking at books by the Dalai Lama. Live in a Better Way spoke to me, at least in title. And at the time I had had nothing more than a passing fascination with Buddhism. But I bought the book. And I devoured it. So many words in it gave me so much hope, so much care, that I actually felt like I was healed at the end of it.
It helped me consider things in a different light, in a different way: my life, love, death, and everything. It didn't prescribe how to do things, not intentionally. It simply presented its topic and gave the hardened soil of my soul a little water and sunlight.
That book pulled on things I already knew, long knew, about myself. And it started to encourage me to explore the world in this way. It didn't start my journey. But for a short time, it gave me the space I needed to begin to truly find myself.