Sunday, January 10, 2010

Self-help books, part 1: 'personality quotient'

I must have been about 12 or 13 when I read my first self-help book: What's Your PQ*? (*Personality Quotient).

I don't remember exactly what it advised, but my take-away was to read Time magazine before going on a date so I'd have something to talk about (it would be years before I'd need that one) and to liven up my wardrobe with colorful neck scarves.

I remember walking home from the library and running into Kay Stokes, who was a year or two older and lived just down the block. "What books did you check out?" she asked. I showed her. "That again? This is the third time you've read it," she said. I flushed with embarrassment. "Well, uh, I never got around to reading it before," I lied.

My mother told me I'd have a better personality if I stopped thinking about myself and smiled more. Easy for her to say. Although I didn't know about introverts and extroverts at the time (that would require a different self-help book), I was the former and she was the latter. I mean, you can be an introvert and still smile and be interested in others, but you can't do it all the time.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that whatever else that book said, I didn't do much to incorporate its advice into my life. Which would be a pattern. Just like the organization for which I work, which hires lots of consultants and then ignores their advice, I have a history of collecting self-help books and, um, ignoring their advice.

Today, I Googled the title of the book to see whether anyone has mentioned it. Turns out there are people running businesses that will conduct workshops and evaluations to help you maximize your Personality Quotient in the name of making you more employable, or to help corporations make you more productive. I don't think neck scarves are required.

13 comments:

Respectfully Yours said...

Interesting how some of the tips still stayed with you all these years. I will think of your post everytime I see a scarf or Time magazine. LOL

Ms Sparrow said...

Seems to me that personality development is a life-long process.
That became very obvious to me when I went back for my 50th class reunion and met old friends. We really didn't connect very well because we had developed in very different ways.

The Good Cook said...

Everyone loves a listener. That's what I've learned in my 50+ years. That and I love scarves.

I tell my kids all the time, no one ever learned anything by talking. Try listening. You will be the most popular person at a party - because everyone else loves to talk and they need someone to talk to.

Moogie said...

A beautiful scarf looks fabulous flying in the wind of a BMW convertable cruising down the highway.

Kathy said...

I use to feel the need to read self help books years ago. Now I avoid them as much as possible. I found one book that truly changed my life this past year and I am reading it again right now for the second time as a refresher and that is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Awesome "self help" book if it needs to be categorized as such.

I had a job where I had to take a personality test. I took one before I was hired and then took one later. They really liked that stuff. It said I was great, but kept my concerns to myself. They told me to work on that.

I did and five years later when I was actually brave enough to stand up to them, they cut my pay so I would quit. I did and found the best job I ever had. Not sure if I ever thanked them for that!

:)

UberGrumpy said...

Did you ever read 'Who Moved My Cheese'?

The most stupid business book in history; it'll debunk the whole thing for you.

And it only takes about a minute and a half to read

The Peach Tart said...

I kind of did the same thing. I must have dozens and dozens of self help books. Then I finally took training and became a life coach.

DJan said...

I have always been intrigued by books on self discovery, but self help books I avoid, since they tend to be geared toward convincing you that you need help. If I could have been born an introvert instead of an extrovert, I would have. Introspection is much healthier than "look at me!"

Nancy said...

I've read my share over the years, but I love your analogy of self-help books and consultants. LOL!

I think I'm becoming an introvert the older I get. I seem to need less and less interaction. Or maybe blogging is all the interaction I need. That could be troublesome for my extroverted husband...

JenJen said...

I left you a prize at my blog.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am an introvert also..except if you know me really well then I kinda come out of my shell. I chuckled..you actually read Time.. (I did too..Ha!) But I read it because I was a reader and devoured everything..I can remember being nervous about what to say on a date..but I grew up with more boys as friends than girls..so I could talk..fishing, hunting, baseball..:)

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

All good comments, thanks! UberGrumpy, you are right about that cheesy Cheese book. See the reader reviews on Amazon...they'll make you chuckle. Or not, since you've already said approximately the same thing, and quicker!

Zeemaid said...

that cracked me up - neck scarves and time magazine. I liked to reread books too.

My mother said something similiar to me in school too.. there's nothing wrong with you you just need to be happier.

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