Personal development books are the new rage these days. However, first a distinction must be made between personal development books and personality development books. The latter helps people improve one aspect of their life which is one’s outward appearance which is a combination of behavior and looks. Personal development is a more comprehensive and encompassing area of improvement. It includes personality development but also many other areas of improvement. It involves improving oneself from within in a spiritual, moral, physiological, emotional sense. It stresses on improvement in one’s thinking because that affects every aspect of one’s life. The effects of personal development manifest themselves in many ways especially through personality development.

An avalanche of books

There are many published on personal development in the market. They are written by authors who have varied backgrounds. Some authors specialize in writing these and have dedicated their whole life to them. They have made a career out of writing these kinds of book and are experts. These kinds of reading materials are rich in academic advice and tips because they draw from a rich pool of pre-existing books. These tend to be great religious and holy books, rich epics that have religious connotations or established books in the field of psychology, great literature and travel book. Since the source material is of such high quality these books tend to be very useful for the believers. Their biggest short coming is probably the author’s lack of real life experience. Some critics feel that they represent an ideal which is difficult to attain. Even some readers feel that these reading material are too idealistic.

The second major category of personal improvement book is the ones written by authors who are not full time writers at least to begin with. These authors are often people who specialized in some practical work and at a later stage decided to write personal improvement book. These reading material typically are a healthy mix of the idealistic but tempered with the wisdom of practical experience. They are also deeply colored by the personal experience of the author. There are mixed reactions to this genre. While some readers like the fact that the authors are more grounded in reality and this will percolate down to the book, some find them a curious hybrid that are too niche for everyone’s liking. The influence of the author’s personal experience is also a turn-off for some readers who want to read a book that is neutral in its perceptions.

A little caution is good

The category itself is huge. It is also a very fast growing segment in self help books. Worldwide the desire for self improvement is driving this market resulting in the growth in sales for these books. However readers must exercise caution when deciding which books to buy. Many of these materials are nothing better than scams with authors recycling previously written books. Some of these books are covertly political and that is also very dangerous. Since these can change the thinking of the person they are potentially very dangerous. A badly written book or even a well written personal development book has the innate capacity to ruin a healthy mind.

Stephen C Campbell is a Master NLP Practitioner, personal coach who runs Self Development programs and a free membership site.
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