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Best East Bay Book 

Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone by Beth Lisick

Ever since the overachievement set went mainstream, it's been hard to figure out when it's a good idea to fine-tune yourself toward physical/financial/occupational/marital/parental/spiritual betterment and when to just embrace your flaws and get on with it. Beth Lisick, a long-standing pillar of the San Francisco literary scene who lives in Berkeley, is here to help. She spent a year wading through reams of self-help literature so we don't have to. She flew to seminars, including a Cruise to Lose cruise with Richard Simmons, fished morsels of good advice from oceans of self-help chaff, and grafted them onto a funny memoir of her year-long effort to become a better person. She does improve, but she remains endearingly, approachably imperfect. She fumbles through the platitudes, non-sequiturs, and mind-changing insight of self-help experts, honing her ability to know when to keep her skepticism in check and when to let it rip, providing an invaluable resource for lazy people who are too cool to seek self-improvement programs but who could use a leg up in the personal-growth department.

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