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The Authoritative Guide to Self-Help Books

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0898623741
ISBN-10: 089862374X
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

To guide lay readers-and librarians-through today's proliferation of self-help literature, the authors have compiled opinions from over 500 members of the clinical and counseling divisions of the American Psychological Association. Using a five-point scale ranging from "extremely bad" to "extremely good," the evaluators were asked to rate over 350 titles, the majority published in the last decade. Each of 33 topical categories is given a chapter, which provides an overview of the literature, descriptions and evaluations of the titles, and positive or negative recommendations. Other chapters list the 25 best self-help books and nine strategies for selecting. Appendixes present chapter bibliographies and a chart of the ratings for all books surveyed. Author and subject indexes are also included. More evaluative than Bill and Linda Katz's Self Help: 1400 Best Books on Personal Growth (Bowker, 1984) and more appropriate for lay readers than John T. Pardeck's Using Bibliotherapy in Clinical Practice (Greenwood, 1993), this resource is recommended for both public and academic libraries.
Carol R. Nelson, Ball State Univ. Lib., Muncie, Ind.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: The Guilford Press (May 6, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089862374X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898623741
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,050,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
While this is not true research - no double blind, or placebo controls - this is pretty impressive anecdotal evidence. 500 psychologists and therapists recommend what self-help books really do help, and which are mediocre or downright dangerous. My only complaint is that it is now 9 years old - many new books have been written based on good research (see John Gottman - "Why Marriages Succeed or Fail" and Prochaska, DiClemente, and Norcross - "Changing for Good")

Where is the second edition?

Edit - "Authoritative Guide to Self-Help Resources in Mental Health" by Norcross and Santrock is the updated version. 2000
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Format: Paperback
Two psychologists and a research associate, all affiliated with the University of Texas at Dallas provide an annotated bibliography of books identified and evaluated by more than 500 clinical and psychologists -- all members of the American Psychological Association holding the Ph.D. degree -- from the first national, large survey on this topic.

Commenting that, "The people with the most influence on which self-help books sell best and worst are the wrong people -- they are the publishers, the owners of large bookstore chains, and a hodgepodge of authors with a vast range of credentials, psychological knowledge, and competencies...", the author's hope that general readers and mental health professionals will carefully consider the opinion and ratings indicated in this book before purchasing and/or using self-help books.

Some 350 self-books, divided into 33 categories, selected by the authors from the shelves of national bookstore chains, recommendations from colleagues and gleaned from reading references of in books and articles about self-help books, and from those added by respondents to the survey instrument are evaluated using a five-point scale -- five stars and a dagger.

Noting that while debate still swirls around the question as to whether self-help books can be of great benefit to patients not engaged in therapy, it will be of more interest to authors and publishers to read the comment: "Therapists increasingly recommend self-help books to their clients...[and,] In our national survey, 70% of the mental health professionals said that they had recommended three or more self-help books to their clients in the last year.
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