There is no more ridiculed literary genre than the self-help book. It wasn’t always like this. For two thousand years in the history of the west, the self-help book stood as a pinnacle of literary achievement. The assumption behind this long tradition was that the words of others can benefit us not only by giving us practical advice, but also – and more subtly – by recasting our private confusions and grief into eloquent communal sentences.
With the growing secularisation of society, it is presumed that the modern individual should manage the business of living and dying by relying on sheer common sense, a good accountant, a sympathetic doctor and hearty doses of faith in science. As citizens of the future we aren’t supposed to need lectures on how to stay calm and free of anxiety.
But we need self-help books like never before – The School of Life
The School of Life has just launched a series of six intelligent self-help books, put together by some of the leading minds in the field, examining some of the great issues of life – work, sex, money, emotional maturity, digital life and changing the world. The quirky covers are designed by Marcia Mihotich, and like the books themselves are a refreshing approach to the self-help genre. Bright colours and simple shapes make the playful design instantly recognisable and easy to read.
Contributors include modern day philosopher Alain de Botton, Tom Chatfield, a writer and technology theorist , and psychotherapist Philippa Perry (aka Grayson Perry’s other half), who combine rigorously researched material with common sense and a good dose of humour to produce these new guides for everyday living.
Marcia Mihotich is a graphic designer and illustrator originally from New Zealand, now living and working in Clerkenwell, London.
The books are available to buy here.