Books to curl up with: a librarian's musings

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


We think of self help books as a modern phenomenon. Thousands are published a year. Many calling for radical transformation with little or no effort.

I recently read an article in the newspaper The Scotsman. It was about a book written in 1859 by a man incongruously named Samuel Smiles. Mr. Smiles wrote a best seller called Self-Help. In it he said that success is the result of hard work. That things worth having do not normally come easy. He illustrates his ideas with examples of real people, who worked hard to have the success they had. They "helped themselves".

The book is still in print and I was able to borrow a copy on interlibrary loan. The book has dated to some extent, but all in all Mr. Smiles still has something to say. And I don't think he would say it in an infomercial.


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