Distilled Self-Help or Who is helped actually?

Hello everyone,

Today I want to write about interesting and hot topic these days as Self-help movement. And the main goal of this post is to try to figure out the useful parts of it.

The traces of the self-help moment are dated back to 19th century when the book of Samuel Smiles ‘Self-Help’ was published in 1859. Actually traces are even older if we consider works of ancient philosophers.

What really matters though is not the origins but the evolution of self-help movement and how it came to be as it is today when there are legions of self proclaimed self-helpers helping in most part enrich themselves.

But there are a number of real pearls, for my opinion, even in this sea of self-help chaos.

I think that any approach be it self-help or any other kind must have a scientific basis and must not be taking seriously without testing it first.

So according to this guideline I want to describe a number of self-help authors and their books that may be of use to you.

It is possible to split self-help movement into a number of intersecting fields. For example field that has its roots in popular psychology, pseudo-science, coaching, general literature. I`ll describe them in more details below.

I want to start from coaching field as it is called today. One of the prominent figures in this filed was Dale Carnegie who started his course on public speaking back in 1912. Dale Carnegie was a teacher and a salesman by education and used his skills to promote public speaking and sales courses becoming in effect the first coach of modern kind.

His most famous book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People‘ from 1936 is still readable and useful. Though this book hardly may be called scientifically based it still has useful advise that may help you in everyday communication with people. Dale Carnegie leave a heritage of Dale Carnegie Training that flourish to this day.

Next one worth mentioning who was a contemporary of Dale Carnegie was Napoleon Hill. He started as a journalist that happened to meet with one of the richest persons of his time Andrew Carnegie (not related to Dale Carnegie). Mr. Carnegie  challenged  Napoleon Hill to interview prominent people of his time and figure out what made them successful in life. As a result of this challenge came a number of books by Napoleon Hill and most famous one was ‘Think and Grow Rich‘ from 1937. This book is a collection of story based advises and wisdom. So it has no science based roots still there is a zest to it that may be useful.

Another person that also comes from sales background was W. Clement Stone. He collaborated with Napoleon Hill on one of Stone`s books ‘Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude‘. Main point to be taken from the book is this quote ‘Every great man, every successful man, no matter what the field of endeavor, has known the magic that lies in these words: every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.

It seems that real burst of self-help movement was ignited by Earl Nightingale that had a radio program on self-help topics and appeared on TV. His well known master piece is the ‘The Strangest Secret‘ that was no more than motivational pep talk to salespersons at the company Mr. Nightingale worked at the time. The main point to be taken form his talk is this ‘Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.’

Next person who happened to start his career as salesperson at Nightingale-Conant Publishing was Brian Tracy. Mr. Tracy has produced wealth of content throughout his coaching career and the most remarkable for my opinion is ‘Maximum Achievement‘ book from 1993. If you`ll ignore pseudo-science subconscious mind stuff the book still has some insights and quotes from W. Clement Stone etc.

[Attention here comes opinionated view]

As you may have noticed there is a strong relationship between self-help courses and sales. I mean those who teach how to succeed are trying to sale there courses, books whatever in the first place. The content though sometimes important is on the second place.

There are many more self-help authors these days but those above stood out.

A few words on pseudo-science filed. I tend to put there Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) though it has interesting basic assumptions, The Secret movement and the like.

And last but not least is the field of general literature, I`ll mention Richard Bach`s ‘Illusions‘  and Paulo Coelho`s ‘The Alchemist‘ as worth glancing.


Thanks for investing your time in reading this.

I hope it was worth it.

Till next time.


Choose your track to SW development

Hi everyone!

Have you ever thought of what are various resources for learning programming?

If your answer is yes than this post may help you find resources that most fit you. They may help you get an experience for career or hobby in programming.

As a person who is in the middle of getting programming experience I looked for and found a number of most useful resources for my opinion.

It is possible to differentiate those resources according to price, depth of material and its level etc.

At first I want to describe them in a general way and then I`ll provide a table that will summarize those descriptions.

One of the important criteria that is taken into consideration is certainly a price of learning. There are a number of possibilities to learn courses on programming for free.

1. Udacity is one the interesting sources for learning programming. All of the courses there are for free. All of them are taught by people form academia. Courses rated according to learner previous experience such as beginner, intermediate and advance. Most of them use a web enabled Python language as a basic mean of implementing programming exercises.

One of the key features of Udacity courses is that they are highly interactive with lots of quizzes and every course has a number of programming assignments for each lesson.

In addition to free courses Udacity now provides an opportunity to learn a number of them for a fee with dedicated coach that may help to achieve better results and this path has formal certificate that is given after successful project completion.

Brief summary for Udacity:

  • free and not so,
  • certification courses for a fee,
  • detailed academic level courses,
  • highly interactive,
  • transcription for various languages,

2. Next one is Khan Academy. This resource has courses both on computer programming and computer sciences for free. Those courses consists of video material with no assignments or quizzes but with interactive web enabled Python programs for hands on experience. It is unknown to me if they are taught by people with academic background.

Brief summary for Khan Academy:

  • free video materials,
  • no assignments,
  • interactive web enabled Python working programs,
  • transcription for various languages

3. Coursera  is in some way as Udacity but different. Most of the courses there are free but there is a possibility to get a certificate of completion for fee. It has for my opinion the highest academic level out of resources described earlier. It have learning tracks with built-in courses according to syllabus. It has quizzes and assignments. But less interactive than Udacity courses are. Courses are taught in various languages.

Brief summary for Coursera:

  • free courses and not so,
  • certification courses for a fee,
  • highest academic level courses,
  • courses are taught in various languages

4. Udemy also has free courses and ones for a fee. Some of them taught by academics and some not. Courses for a fee consist of video material for a lifetime usage. It also has a certification track for a fee.

Brief summary for Coursera:

  • free courses and not so,
  • certification courses for a fee,
  • lifetime usage of material for a fee course

5. Pluralsight is not free at all but has a wealth of programming courses that taught by developers. It has monthly or annual subscription. There are two types of fees. “Basic” and “advanced” one. For the basic you`ll get video materials for the period of subscription and for the advanced one you`ll be able to get code snippets, presentation and certificate. It is possible to view videos also on mobile. There are no assignments or quizzes whatsoever.

Brief summary for Pluralsight:

  • courses for a fee taught by developers,
  • monthly or annual subscription,
  • certification for “advanced” fee,
  • no assignments or quizzes

So for the summary of this all here comes a table

Resource Basic content for free (Yes/ No) Advanced content for a fee (Yes/ No) Taught by (academia/ developers/ other Interactive(Yes/ No) Localization(Transcription/ Language support)
  1. Udacity
Yes Yes, coach, certification Academia Yes, highly English, Transcription for a number of languages
  1. Khan Academy
Yes No Other Partially Transcription for various languages
  1. Coursera
Yes Yes, certification Academia Partially Taught in various languages
  1. Udemy
Yes Yes, certification Other No English
  1. Pluralsight
No Yes, certification Developers No English

That`s it for today.

See you.

Java Code Geeks