Where’s the Other-Help Section?

Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

Try this: go to a bookstore. Any bookstore. Chain. Independent.

Used. Whatever. And ask for the self-help section.

You know what? You will be pointed to the self-help section. You’ll find books on relationships. Mental health. Exercise. Diet. Spirituality. Religion. You get the idea . . . Lot’s of information!

Now. Ask for the . . . “other-help . . . section.” The . . . well, that’s one point I’m making . . . it’s awkward, isn’t it?

We have book after book on self-help. A whole large section. Sections of sections. But where’s the “other-help” section?

Even the label is awkward. Because we — and by “we” I mean Western culture — “we” haven’t conceived of such a section for our bookstores, have we?

Sure, there are books about helping others. In the religion section. In the philosophy section. Even in the self-help section. But there’s no section called “helping others.”

What’s up with that?

Here’s the thing: I found it striking when I first started flying from the US to England some thirty years ago. In US airports, bookstores were full of self-help books. In England, there were nearly none

Unfortunately, that has changed in the past three decades. Gatwick airport now has self-help books. But it’s a contagion caught from the United States. It isn’t a natural-born phenomenon. In Mexico City, same thing.

You get the idea.

Why? Why is helping yourself so much more . . . what?

Prominent? Popular?


Why is helping the self a thing and helping others not?

Just wondering.