The danger of self-development books and what to study instead

April 22, 2019 productievekennis 3 min read No Comments
Image of the danger of self-development books

The danger of self-development books and what to study instead

April 22, 2019 WhatDisciplineMeans 3 min read No Comments

Self-development books, they are all over the place. They can be really helpful, but there is one downside: eventually you will get stuck. By only consuming self-development things you will get into a loop. Everyone should get out of that loop by reading psychology in stead. In this article, I will explain why.

The trap of self-development books

Self-development is one of the most popular book genres. The books are amazing. They teach you new things, motivate you, inspire you. You can learn strategies from the best of the best and start implementing straight ahead. Awesome!

Well, there is one trap. And that trap is getting stuck without you even noticing it. Getting stuck in your progression. Getting stuck in changing your perspective on yourself or the world.

Now, I am not saying you should never read self-development books again. Because there are honestly a lot of valuable self-development books out there. I would just advice you to change it up with reading other genres every now and then. One of the most impactful genres for your personal development will be psychology.

Start reading psychology instead

My favorite solution to break up your pattern of reading self-development books? Start studying psychology.

Psychology teaches us much about ourselves. But, it makes us also understand the people around us better.

By studying psychology you become a better communicator and you develop critical thinking skills or refine your current ones. Besides that, you also further develop your research skills. Those skills come in handy, because you can apply them on the self-development books you are reading or have read.

Where to start?

A lot of people think psychology is a really specific subject. It is not. There are many different theories and there are many psychologists that have done their own research on it.

I would advice you start reading psychology by sticking to the most common theories first around the next few subjects:

  • Developmental psychology
  • Behavioral psychology
  • Personality psychology
  • Social psychology

From there you can further deepen your knowledge by the interest you have in certain things.


Reading psychology might sound intruiging. Totally understandable. However, you do not necessarily have to start by reading psychology. You can also study psychology by watching videos on Youtube. I will list a few Youtube channels for you.

Jordan B. Peterson

Jordan B Peterson is a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Toronto. By now, this man is a well known speaker and author as well.

Peterson has done amazing lecture series on Youtube. He even organized them into playlists for his viewers. I would advise you to check all of his lectures out. It is a great way to learn from a great psychologist and professor without you even being his student.

Acedemy of Ideas

Acedemy of Ideas is a Youtube channel that is loaded with value. They go in on the deeper aspect of psychology and philosophy.


On the Youtube channel of Yale University there is a playlist of lectures as well. On this playlist you will get an introduction to psychology.

Now, I have to be honest, the lecturer is maybe not the most inspiring speaker. However, there is still a lot of value to be found in this playlist. If you have trouble watching the lectures, at least try to watch the third lecture on Freud and the fourth lecture on Skinner.

Break up your pattern

Break up your pattern of the self-development books. Stop that streak for a bit and study psychology. You will find out more about yourself, others and you will become a better communicator. 

If you want to know more ways on how to acquire knowledge you can check out the next two articles I wrote:

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