‘Feel the Fear changed my life the first time I read it because I took action: I felt the fear and quit my job. But since then I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone – I’d hardly stepped out of bed. And then with Sunday’s hangover finally fading, while I re-read Feel the Fear for the fifth time, I had an idea. An idea that would stop me being a depressed, hungover mess and turn me into a happy, highly functioning person.
I wasn’t just going to read self-help, I was going to DO self-help’ – Marianne Power
If there is ONLY ONE self-help/self-improvement book you pick up this year…make it this one! Marianne Power has written a remarkable book that will resonate in some manner with everyone. Originally published with Picador in 2018, it has received top praise from many quarters, but I think the Sunday Times says it best, referring to Marianne Power and Help Me! as ‘the Bridget Jones of self-improvement.’
Marianne Power had it all, professionally and privately, she was living the dream, at least that was the perception. But Marianne was lost, unhappy, unable to explain her frustration with her life, yet knowing that something was wrong.
‘At thirty-six, my friends were ticking off the various life stages while I was stuck in the same life I’d had since my twenties. I was always single, I didn’t own a house, and I didn’t have a plan…The truth was I had no clue what I was doing with my life. And the cracks were beginning to show..’
So Marianne decided to embark on a project, one that would solve all her problems.
‘One book a month, followed to the letter, to see if self-help really could change my life. I would do it for a year – so twelve books in all. And I would systematically tackle my flaws one book at a time: money, worrying, my weight….Then at the end of the year, I’d be…perfect!’
I have purchased self-help books over the years for various reasons. Susan Jeffers Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway is in my locker beside my bed. I even bought a special hardback anniversary edition some time back! I’m not a huge advocate of self-help books in general but I did recently listen to a Tony Robbins’ podcast featuring Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, and was very inspired by his words. But of all the words I have ever read or listened to, it’s those of Marianne Power that resonated with me the most.
Maybe it’s the Irish connection, maybe it’s Marianne’s open and honest writing but something just clicked when reading her words. In living her life according to these self-help books and committing a year of her life to do so, Marianne takes the reader on a journey through the many struggles and challenges she faced with a refreshing directness and openness.
Marianne Power chooses books with titles that will be familiar to many including The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and F**k it: The Ultimate Spiritual Way by John C. Parkins. She also attends a Tony Robbins rally Unleash the Power Within and attempts Rejection Therapy with Jason Comely. She tackles her financial situation with Money, a Love Story by Kate Northrup and many many more.
Marianne puts herself way out of her comfort zone in many areas of her life, attempting life-changing actions with the hope of positive results, all done in her now trademark honest manner.
Marianne became very obsessive in her approach to this project. There were times her mental health suffered. She had many highs but also many, many lows.
‘With each book my expectations of life increased. I didn’t just want a happy life, I wanted an outstanding one! The higher the bar was set, the more I felt like I was failing. The more I hunted down Perfect Me the more she eluded me. The more desperate I became to be happier, the less happy I became..
But I see now that perfection does not exist and happiness comes not from getting what you think you want but opening your eyes and recognizing that you have everything you could possibly need right now…’
With every book she approached, Marianne made discoveries about herself and looked more closely at her relationships with her family, her friends, with money and most importantly with herself. Packed full with inspiring and insightful observations, Help Me! is a heart-warming, touching and very funny account of self-discovery.
Marianne Power is a journalist who in her early years had a very privileged life. She splashed money around and lived a life that many of us can only dream of, but yet it wasn’t enough. At no point does the book feel self-indulgent but instead a breath of fresh air with a directness and candor that just makes you want to be her friend!
Help Me! is a very sincere read, an authentic insight into one woman’s life and how she tried to fix it. It’s at times poignant and funny, it’s down to earth and it’s so very charming, entertaining and most certainly inspirational.
‘Trying to find happiness might seem like a selfish endeavor but it really isn’t. When you are as unhappy as I was for years, your unhappiness leaches into the air and affects everyone around you. You are not patient, you are snappy. You are not truly kind, you are cut off from others, locked in your own prison of misery. You are also, quite often, a worry to those who love you…’
(On an aside, I recommended Help Me! to a buddy who chose the audio book edition and she was equally blown away by Marianne’s words. Could not say enough about the experience…)
(c) Swirl and Thread
Order your copy online here.