Why self help will not change your life | Marianne Power | TEDxLeamingtonSpa

Why self help will not change your life | Marianne Power | TEDxLeamingtonSpa

In this humorous and witty talk, Marianne walks us through the year she spent dedicated to, not only reading one self-help book a month, but actually following everything it recommended with some disastrous consequences. Marianne is a writer and freelance journalist who lives in London. Her first book, Help Me!, is about her attempt to sort her life out by following the rules of a different self-help book every month for a year. The book has been translated into 28 languages and has been optioned for television. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx



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Louise Corrans

I so resonate with this talk!

Yan Souldance

I'm the living proof of how self-help books work! And I'm the happiest and best I've ever been. It's what you do or don't with the information, not the books themselves. Instead of all the doing, fixing, wanting, needing more, wish you could've just stopped for a minute to see and appreciate how much you have. What changed my life from them is to be ok with not being ok, and to see how enough I am without being perfect nor having more. 
I think at the end she actually proved how those books worked after all. It just took much longer for them to kick in.

Zeit Geist

I wonder if she's even subconsciously aware that she's conductting a SELF-HELP TedTalk

Doreen Narissa

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Markus Klassen

Amazing Talk. Really honest and to the point.

Ivan Mejico

Great talk. Great points. I remember the other TED talk with similar title also speak of approaching self-help from a position of growth rather than achieving goals and not to let other people control who you should become; instead look inwards and start from there.

In my humble opinion there's no harm on reading self-help books. As long as you hone your BS detector and watch out for those really bad ones.

Paul Danon

It may be that some well-intentioned self-help writing is aimed at people who have lost all hope (rather than those of us who could just do with a morale-boost). The authors merely want to get those unmotivated people to get out of bed, wash and dress. They thus overstate what's possible in their lives in the hope that such sky-high objectives will somehow motivate their readers to do something fairly basic. Hence the unrealistic hype. One does hope that not too many people take the recommendations too seriously, resigning from steady jobs to pursue unresearched pipedream-enterprises for which there is no demand. At least one self-help book has a disclaimer which effectively says that the ideas therein are overstated so don't sue us when they don't work. The books also contain some rather sinister teaching about relationships, where you're told to ditch people who don't help you reach your goals.

Rich Samuel

I found that when fixed one area of my life that fixed other areas. I wanted to start saving money so I stopped buying do much fast food and I also lost weight… Shout out to Dave Ramsey!

Female Jeffrey?


"a cross between Buddha and Beyoncé"

D'Fantastic Creatures

Self development books will only help you of what to do and how to do it right, but it is not magic, its not hocus pocus, and definitely not easy. Still up to you. I feel you need someone in your life, not self development book..

Marta Wyngaard

Like everything in life, to succeed in what you want to accomplish, you have take a little bit from here and a little bit from there. And in a process of reiteration- do, evaluate, correct, modify and try again, things could start changing.
Thankfully to some of the ideas and suggestions that I picked up here and there, I was able with humility and dedication to change in areas that needed to be modified.
But you know, I am a dyslexic, Adhd woman from a generation that was not diagnosed. So, I learned to find my answers by myself.
There is nothing more difficult than being out of control when you are a child. You think you did the right answer, and then, you came back to find that you have reversed a number or forget a word. So what you do when things do not go the way you wanted in the first place? You ask why. And that why question will guide the path from dark to light. Now, I know a lot about my life not because I read books that promise a magic pill solution, but by using some of their ideas (not all), I can move to clarity in my life.
It is not too hard asking yourself those questions because as humans we are always expressing ourselves thru thoughts, actions, behaviors, reactions, etc.
Thankfully for me, when I was searching for an answer, I can have several youtube videos or books that can give me a hit- not a solution.
Yes, I have a master from a reputable university in literacy and learning disability but searching in research papers that only look at dyslexia in vary narrow slots or cover certain subjects and not others because universities are also political beings that respond to the powers of the market – whole language liberal universities, Phonic- conservative university, and so on. If I find a self help book that address some of my issues, I will scan it (yes I read fast despite than E/ is my second language).
It is never the self- help industry because like any industry it has a product to sell, is us customers that have to be educated to know if we want to buy that product or not.
In the end there is a saying – I will say it in Spanish first and then, I will translate it Si el milagro es tan grande, hasta el santo desconfía- If the miracle is big, even the saint does not trust it.
Good luck,
Good luck in your search for answers.

Kaje Simpson

This is a very underrated Ted talk. One of the more human ones I’ve heard.

Judy Martuscello

You need Jesus! He's REAL!

Reagon Cassim

Beautiful! I love how this truly helped me appreciate now. God bless those on the same journey

Chris Waltz

Self-help books are not the problem. It's your core fundamental beliefs about life and yourself that are the issue so if you're living from a place inside yourself of fear and your actions and thinking is coming from Fear your life's going to be complete s*** but if it's coming from a place of unconditionally loving kindness then the quality of your life will be better. You need to learn about your core fundamental beliefs that make up Who You Are then do the work on yourself to undo the damage or negative programming that you've received growing up. It's a lifetime Journey and self-help books can be helpful but it's easy things like 12 steps or getting help from a professional therapist or counselor that move you in the right direction plus if you don't know what you want one needs to figure that out first. Self-help books are more guidelines for a healthy life.

Kevin Fitzsimons

To say the entire self help world is totally rubbish is actually… well, total rubbish. I’ve had a very positive experience of it and I have lots of valuable things in my life now that I wouldn’t have without it! ‘The secret’ is rubbish to be fair but don’t condemn the entire industry because of that! You have to apply common sense to self help! If it resonates go for it, if it doesn’t reject it.

Sam O

Stage orange to stage green baby


the thing is self help is an industry and they are there to make money off of our insecurities… lots of people trying to be a guru and taking your money

Aurelia Margolis

Nice video! I was able to build a big income stream investing with a professional broker Mrs Jane.

Jamie Cecilie Lange

Something that did actually help me in my life was doing more risky, scary or uncomfortable things. Not things that were scary to others, but things that were scary to me. Things that I actually wanted to do.
It actually helped my anxiety, up to a certain point.

I get her point though… You shouldn't have unrealistic expectations of yourself.

jel ly

i love how chill and smiley the crowd and she is

Patrick Gri

She obviously has no clue and was in a dark hole before and seems to be still read the books practice them and live

Denise Myers

This isn't the fault of the self-help books. Nobody forced her to keep buying things she couldn't afford. Don't keep buying books and weekends when you can't buy food. The books and self-help community didn't fail. She didn't check herself with her finances.

Robyn Mcsharry

That is good that you still use the bus instead of driving. Better for the climate and therefore, everyone else.

Force Lightning Cable

Since TED talks so often end up being about self-help, and this presentation could reasonably be interpreted as self-help material, this means that we’ve arrived at the point where the self-help industry is eating itself alive.
Welcome to late capitalism.

Tammara Sporysz

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Raisa Loventa

Thank you so much. This has helped greatly.


Good video… I'm not trying to recommend another self-help book, but there are therapies that deal with your inner critic and accepting your flaws, perhaps that cuts straight to the source of what we are really wanting to get out of self-help, which is the feeling that we are fine the way we are 😀

William Brent Coats

"The Secret" is nonsense!. Bills will not appear by thinking about them, nor cheques, unless you're Albus Dumbledore!!! Ironically, she is giving a LOT of self-help advice.

Paul Westcott

Very helpful good talk. I hope her warmth and smashing smile will give her all she would like.

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