Helping Me Help Myself [NOOK Book]

Overview

Beth Lisick has had a lifelong phobia of anything slick, cheesy, or that remotely claims to provide self-empowerment. But on New Year's Day 2006, she wakes up finally able to admit that something has to change. Determined to confront her fears head-on, Beth sets out to fix her life by consulting the multimillion-dollar-earning experts. In Chicago, she gets proactive with The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In Atlanta, she struggles to understand why "women are from Venus." She gamely sweats to the oldies...

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Helping Me Help Myself

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Overview

Beth Lisick has had a lifelong phobia of anything slick, cheesy, or that remotely claims to provide self-empowerment. But on New Year's Day 2006, she wakes up finally able to admit that something has to change. Determined to confront her fears head-on, Beth sets out to fix her life by consulting the multimillion-dollar-earning experts. In Chicago, she gets proactive with The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In Atlanta, she struggles to understand why "women are from Venus." She gamely sweats to the oldies on a weeklong Cruise to Lose with Richard Simmons on the high seas of the Caribbean. Throughout this yearlong experiment, Beth tries extremely hard to maintain her wry sense of humor and easygoing nature, even as she starts to fall prey to some of the experts' ideas—ideas she thought she'd spent her whole life rejecting.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A delightful, Plimptonesque exercise in immersive journalism exploring the strange world of "self-help."Lisick (Everybody into the Pool: True Tales, 2005, etc.) devoted a year to various gurus in an attempt to self-actualize. She endeavored to become a Highly Effective Person under the auspices of Stephen Covey, to fortify her soul with Jack Canfield's Chicken Soup, to get fit with Richard Simmons on a cruise ship, to straighten out her perilous finances with Suze Orman, to consistently discipline her young son with Thomas Phelan's 1-2-3 Magic method, to figure out John Gray's Mars/Venus gender dichotomy, and generally to live a better, happier life. It is to the reader's great benefit that Lisick is: 1) a mess, 2) cynical and horrified of cheesiness, and C) effortlessly funny. Her visualizations didn't go right, she didn't have the right clothes for the ghastly seminars and on Simmons's cruise she got high and made inappropriate advances to a surly young musician accompanying his mother. Lisick makes keen use of comic detail, as when she charts the deflation of Simmons's hair over the course of the cruise. She is tough on the well-paid experts, but fair, sincerely laboring to suspend her skepticism and game to put their advice into action. Some of it works: A home-organization expert helps Lisick's family emerge from their chaotic clutter, and Phelan's discipline strategy tames her truculent toddler. But of course the book is funniest when things don't go so well. The author's revulsion over Gray's retrograde sexual stereotypes (and disturbingly smooth, buffed appearance) is palpable and highly amusing. Her articulate hatred of the anodyne platitudes in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Wayprovides a tonic for anyone dismayed by fuzzy New Age smugness. None of that from Lisick, who is sharp, irreverent and endearingly screwed-up. Her experiment may not have solved all of her problems, but she got an enjoyable book out of it. Funny, perceptive and surprisingly open-hearted under the cynicism. Agent: Arielle Eckstut/Levine Greenberg Literary Agency
Seattle Times
“wildly funny” and “a cross between David Sedaris and Susan Orlean.”
Bust Magazine
“Beth Lisick’s latest book is a wildly fun read that falls somewhere in between memoir and a Cliffs Notes guide to the self-help genre.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Lisick has created a hilarious, knowing tale of a year of willing ridiculousness.”
People
not only hilarious but enlightening... Readers will be inspired: If a woman in a banana suit can clean her closet and pay off her credit card debt, surely you can, too.”
Los Angeles Times
“sweetly neurotic, funny and occasionally insightful.”
Entertainment Weekly
“A witty, disarmingly earnest account of the year [Lisick] spent test-driving renowned self-help franchises.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061746666
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/17/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,172,976
  • File size: 699 KB

Meet the Author

Beth Lisick, author of the New York Times bestseller Everybody into the Pool, is also a performer and an odd-jobs enthusiast. She has contributed to public radio's This American Life and is the cofounder of the monthly Porchlight storytelling series in San Francisco.

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Read an Excerpt

Helping Me Help Myself
One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone

Chapter One

January

A lesson in cringle-stifling

Technically, you wait until January 2 to start your resolutions, right? When everything is supposed to be getting back to normal, when banks are open and mail delivery resumes, that must be when you jump in and blindside this nascent, unsuspecting year with your hot new program. Because, if you're like me, the first of January is already shot. It's noon and you're just getting in the car to drive down to your parents' house to collect your four-year-old son and will spend the next six hours sinking into their battered leather sofa with the central heat blasting while emptying a wooden bowl of its potato chips and staring at a football game on the enormous TV screen before eating a half-pound of ham and polishing off the rest of the See's candies. See what I'm saying? You can't attempt anything new or revolutionary under those circumstances.

My dad, who's gearing up for triple bypass surgery later this month, is filling Eli in on the game using some of his favorite phrases like "barn burner" and "deep yogurt." Eli's not much of a football fan, but he can get into the novelty of it during holiday gatherings. My son, Gus, is momentarily content, doing a connect-the-dots book on the coffee table in front of me as I watch this football coach get more and more agitated. My first thought is: I'm glad it's not me he's yelling at. Then it dawns on me that I've been hearing a lot lately about "personal coaches" and "life coaches." It's usually in the context of a joke, or oneof those newspaper lifestyle features you can't quite believe is real. One of those stories where it seems like the journalist is just interviewing her friends and passing it off as a trend. But maybe I should find a coach to help me. The thought of it makes my scalp tingle, but it might be time to admit that if I put my mind to it, anything could happen. I'm already doing okay, so I've got nowhere to go but up, right? It could even be entirely possible that by the end of the year I will actually be able to say it—"life coach"—without using a cartoon voice or making air quotes with my fingers.

"I need a life coach," I practice saying to the TV.

There are supposedly 30,000 certified life coaches in the world right now, and lord knows how many unlicensed practitioners lurking about on Craigslist, which means that each time I say those words with a sneer I am essentially hocking a giant loogie on a group of people who are only trying to help (and I'm sure some who are preying on your insecurities, which can be found in any profession, including dentistry, landscaping, and the small but influential army of body waxers). I'll start with opening my heart a little and trying not to be mean for sport. Being mean, as I've learned from Gus and quite a few blogs, is one of the easiest things in the world.

The first time I ever heard of a life coach was a couple of years ago. Some guy I'd met at a party, the kind who introduces himself as "an entrepreneur," was carrying on about a dinner party he'd thrown to which he'd invited everyone in his employ—"my people," he'd said. I was a little hung up on the reality of it anyway, a dinner party for the eight people who work for you—not for you at your company, but just, you know, the housekeeper, the accountant, the pool guy, and the like. The staff. (How did I even meet this person?) He said he had wanted to invite everyone "from his life coach to his housekeeper" but wasn't sure if his house-keeper would feel awkward, because she didn't speak that much English, or—"and I know this is terrible to say," he conceded—if his life coach would feel "insulted" to be invited to a dinner party that included the housekeeper.

Quality problems.

I went on to quiz him, in a not unkind manner, about what he and his coach did together as I tried to wrap my mind around it. You pay this person to help you achieve your goals. You are so focused on yourself and your quest for fulfillment and happiness that you hire a professional to motivate you. You're okay, but you want to be the best you can be, and you have a very specific idea of what constitutes this Ultimate You. The corners of my mouth were involuntarily turning downward as I spoke, nearly twitching as if they were being pulled by strings. Interesting that I have none of these reactions when people tell me they are in therapy. I have heard of life coaching being called "the new therapy," and supposedly it's much more popular with men because of the bro-friendly nomenclature.

Just hanging with my coach. We're coming up with a game plan!

But why am I so critical of someone who's trying to improve his life? Do I think if I don't keep up, I'll be the last loser standing? Part of it is that the intimacy of having a personal coach freaks me out. I can barely get a pedicure without feeling ridiculous for imposing my feet upon someone for twenty minutes. How could I dump my whole life in someone's lap?

It's not that I don't have a plan. What I want to do is spend the year putting some well-known self-help programs to the test, but I am lacking any semblance of an entry point. Do newbies really just walk down the self-help aisle at the bookstore and pick up whatever looks appropriate? For something so monstrously pop-u-lar, it sure is difficult to get hooked up. Where's the pusher willing to give me the first one for free?

Helping Me Help Myself
One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone
. Copyright © by Beth Lisick. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. <%END%>
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Splits!     ix
January: A Lesson in Cringe-Stifling     1
February: A Career-Defining Moment     23
March: Hug It Out     54
April: Shape Up and Ship Out     86
May: A Place for Everything (Is Not the Basement)     129
June: The Hammer That Rocks the Cradle     155
July: Party Over Here     178
August: Stalled Out     180
September: Creation Theory     182
October: Add It Up     203
November: You Are Not Here     225
December: The Existence of God     244
Afterword: July 30, 2007     263
Acknowledgments     265
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 36 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2014

    Heeeeereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp me!

    CrystalKIT

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    Advice 101

    Moving to result two like you asked.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    To Advice 101

    No, I dont know her email. And my parents took my Ipod touch so i cant contact her in any way except for in person. Which will be very very very awkward... And we don't really talk much because I try to avoid her. And since we haven't talked in a really long time... I think the situation will get worse. I think? Ok anyways please help me out here. You're doing great so far.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2014

    Barf

    The main principal in life...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2014

    Ember

    I think you shoukd go up to him and say "The note is nit what I intended to say, I thought it meant (whateves you wanted to write). Please forgive me and i hope we can still be friends."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Teagan

    I say that you write him another note in ENGLISH that says thats not what you wrote, and then write what you wrote the first time. Also, dont trust google.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Silver

    I second what anna said

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Anna

    What you need to do is go up too him. You need to tell him that thats not what u wrote. Tell him what you really wrote. If that dosnt work try to get your brother to help you

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    I need advice on....

    I like a guy in 9th grade but I am only in 7th. He and my brother are basically best friends, though my brother is a year and a half younger than me. Anyways, He told my brother he LIKED me. I wrote him a valentine on Valentine's day saying I really liked him but in French. He used Google Translation. It said I want to have it with you. That is so not what I said!!! And now he just looks away depressed when I try to talk with him..HELP!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    WinterBone

    She licked her paws boredly.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    Silverclan will help the kits

    Any of the kits are welcome at silverclan. My name is Silver star. My deputy Icepelt and i would be happy to help. We are at death fighters res2. You will be greatly cared for!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    Need advice we gpt a clan now hiring

    Go to gazz

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    Please adopt

    Coalkit snowkit whitherkit bastetkit flowerkit silverkit whitekit shrivelkit sandkit downykit eclipsekit lunarkit mintkit peppermint whipkit creamkit quietkit autokit bastiskit glowkit downkit linkkit grasskit duskkit dawnkit sunnykit sunkit pinekit marshkit crystalkit diamondkit brightkit swiftkit teeterkit totterkit sunsetkit nightkit...and they are all at christmas carol res 1!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    Treewing

    The female shadekit owlkit and windkit at jay fly res 3

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    ~Hello Love. It's me, your bestest friend in the world. Misery Katana Darkstreak. I would like to take a look at the issue of you posting an add in my clan. It's okay sweeite, l won't hurt you. If you AKE DOWN THAT AD RIGHT FREAKIN NOW!! WHAT GIVES Y

    Take down your ad at Bloodclan! NOW!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2013

    Stormhearts bio

    At blue buttons result 2

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2013

    Smokekit's bio

    NAME: Smokekit (and um...Mistletoe, Bon-Bon, Vike, and Smoky, but more about that later) --- AGE: 3 moons --- GENDER: Female --- APPEARANCE: Light gray fur that occasionaly looks matted, reason later. Stormy blue eyes. --- PERSONALITY: or should I say personalitieS. I have Multipe Personality Disorder (not in rl though) (If you've seen Total Drama and remember Mike, It's like that) My personalities are: Mistletoe: a fun loving goofball, who is always cracking jokes. Bon-bon: a sweet but, um, forgetful "dumb blonde". Smoky: a crazy old shecat wo never stops complaining. Vike: completely evil, i suggest you stay away when he appears. *note: my appearance never changes, except for matted fur when Smoky. My voice does. I will alway label my post Smokekit, so you have to guess who I am...speaking of* The regular me is very sweet, sensible, and caring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2013

    Fernclouds bio

    Name:ferncloud. Age:20 moons. Apperance: a black shecat with brown eyes. Persenality: shes kind. Loving. Treats others with respect.. and above all.. a great warrior who will protect her clan. Kin: snowfur ( sister. In lightning clan). Mate: jaggedpeak. Kits: none but wants to be a mother. Ask her anything you want to know

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2013

    Jaggedpeak's bio

    NAME: Jaggedpeak <br> AGE: 29 moons <br> APPEARANCE: A large muscular smoky grey tom with red eyes(i have no powers at all) he has broad shoulders and sharp claws. PERSONALITY: Wise calm quite patient butvcan be violent when pushed too far. MATE: Ferncloud <br> KITS: Bellespot <br> ket me know if you need anything else!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    Flametails bio (different profile ad update)

    Name:above gender:tom pelt:ginger tabby fur with emerald eyes mate/kits:ravenheart and there kits personality:forgiving wide emotions never backs down froma fight other:ask

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews

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