Self-help greatest hits

“101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think” by Brianna Wiest

Brianna Wiest is one of my top 3 favourite authors at Medium. And this book is like all of her best articles put together into a book form.

The book has a similar approach to her articles, where it feels like a notebook of the main point summaries from all self-help books ever written. It’s thought-provoking, it’s precise, it’s wise, it’s beautifully written. And plenty to choose from, literally out of 101 short chapters.

It covers a wide range of subjects, from subconscious behaviors, to daily routines, emotional intelligence, social intelligence, cognitive biases, resistance, and to nice little segways every now and then like the one about experiences we don’t have English words for yet.

It discusses and analyses some difficult feelings and/or situations, such as how people close to us or people that we once loved can become stranger again, how to identify uncomfortable feelings that actually indicate that you’re on the right path, what the feelings you most suppress are trying to tell you, how people hold themselves back from real happiness, why we subconsciously love to create problems for ourselves, Ideas you’re keeping about your life that are only holding you back, and what to do when you don’t know what to do with your life or when you’re stuck.

It provides some alternative perspectives and inspirations, like signs that you’re doing better than you think you are, things we misunderstood about emotions, how intrinsically motivated people become the best versions of themselves, ways suppressed emotions are appearing in your life, or even reasons why heartbreak is often crucial for growth.

And it also teaches us some psychological tools and hacks, such as how to not let irrational thoughts ruin your life, why you shouldn’t seek comfort, why you should thank the people who hurt you the most, things you need to know about yourself before you’ll have the life you want, how to measure a good life, there’s no such thing as letting go, there’s accepting what’s already done, and small ways to deepen your relationship with anyone.

All in all, the book is a great entry point to the self-help genre, or indeed a wonderful refresher of the main points, while we can still learn a bunch of new things from it. Highly recommended.