A History of Self-help

19 Nov 2021
4 minute read

Reiterate is a tool to help you improve yourself. It fits into a long and somewhat ignominious category of self-help tools. If you browse through the self-help category on Amazon you’ll find a long list of titles all eager to explain their magical techniques that will improve your life. The Power of Now. Think and Grow Rich. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

These books all sell because people buy them looking for a quick fix, a way to turn their life around. By and large, they don’t work. The self-help industry peddles miracle cures for problems that are too complex for any one book to solve. These books are bought, read, and forgotten. There’s a long history of self-help literature, going all the way back to Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Many people have bought that book and sung its praises, but I suspect many more have bought it and found it did nothing for them.

So how can I justify making a self-help app?

First of all, I created Reiterate for myself. I thought I had identified a specific deficit in my learning ability, and I felt I could make a tool to shore that up. That’s a fundamental part of being human. Humans make tools to extend themselves and strengthen their weaknesses. I wear glasses because my vision is weak. I use an alarm to wake up on time, and no one thinks me the worse for it. Why not use an app that can help me focus on my game play? If other people find it helpful, so much the better.

I think there is value in a self-help book, as long as you view it as a piece of the puzzle, and not a magical cure-all. No one book is going to contain the secret formula that can help you study, that can organize your life, or bring you happiness. And I don’t claim that Reiterate will magically put you on top of the Ranked ladder. That’s silly.

But… you can assemble your own self-help program, from the pieces you find. There won’t be a complete recipe for happiness in any one book, but perhaps you can read a self-help book and pick up a useful tip or two. And do the same from another. And then you can start to see how each bit fits into your own life, and then maybe synthesize something greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how real change happens.

For Reiterate, give it a try. It’s free. It’s highly configurable as well. It has a lot of moving parts, so to speak. You can use some aspects of the app while ignoring others. You might find some parts of it more useful than other. If you find that it can help you, even only a little, that’s good enough. Perhaps you can combine it with some coaching, or videos. Perhaps you will find some new and unique way to use it, a way that would only be useful to you. That’s perfect.

Reiterate is not a magical app that can guarantee you a spot at the top of the ranked ladder. I can make no promises that using it will improve your game. But it can be one piece of the recipe you assemble in your quest. A set of tools customized to fit your personal needs. With that combination of tools, and a steady, dedicated work schedule, you will be in an excellent position to climb.

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