Around 70 percent of the most sought-after books in bookstores in 2018 expose how Brazilian are seeking techniques to help them reduce concerns and make the reader better able to cope with common difficulties in life
The ranking of the most sold books in Brazil in 2018 reveals that 70 percent of these works – according to the Publishnews website – are self-help books, indicating how Brazilians are looking for techniques to help them cope with concerns and make them face better common difficulties in life through changes and self-control. The best-seller, for instance, was “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”, with almost 400 thousand copies sold.
The fact that the book, written by author Mark Manson, is the most sold book in the country tells a lot about the situation Brazil is undergoing, says psychoanalyst Christian Dunker, a professor at the Psychology Institute of the University of São Paulo (USP). “The book deals with the importance of protecting ourselves from the radioactivity around us, this infinitude of problems, and the climate of tension people are going through, since all this becomes a source of anxiety,” he says.
Psychiatrist Felipe Augusto Dufloth, however, claims that reading books like this, despite making evident the quest for more freedom, does not solve the issue. “Only ‘not giving a f*ck’ won’t solve any problems,” he says. According to him, this ‘freedom’ demands responsibilities. “You have to face the problems, because suffering also helps us to reflect, create and discover the reason for that suffering,” he points out.
Other books which topped the charts in 2018 – like “O Poder da Ação” (“The Power of Action”), “The Power of Habit”, and “O Poder da Autorresponsabilidade” (“The Power of Self-Responsibility”) also show the readers’ quest or manuals to life. “They strengthen the idea that you should be the lord of your habits, and that the impositions made by others shouldn’t cause you any concern. There is a fight against the idea of having someone always telling you what to do, and people have been looking for tips on how to get rid of that,” adds Dunker.
According to psychologist Carolina de Souza Walger, of Paraná’s Regional Psychology Council, people who purchase self-help books such as these do not necessarily suffer from anxiety of depression. They are, however, clearly bothered and worried about society’s impositions. “And, the more people see it as a suffering, the more reading self-help books ends up being an extra way to try to cope with the situation,” says Carolina.
“We are seeing a very great demand from people regarding a healthier way of dealing with other people’s opinion, the constant struggle against status and beauty standards, the organization of time, and tips on how to be a successful professional. All these things create anxiety,” she explains.
The positive side of looking for books like those is that that is an indication that the person wants to understand him or herself, and have questions that need answers. “This is good, because it means you are willing to take care of these questions, whether they concern the way you love, earn money, relate to other people, or solve problems,” she says.
The book, however, doesn’t have to be seen by the reader as a manual, to be followed literally. “It must help you to think,” points out Christian Dunker.
According to Carolina, a reverse effect may happen when the reader tries to put into practice all techniques showed in self-help books. That happens because they increase all chances of frustration if the reader is not able to achieve the goals which have been proposed. “One example is that fact that the person thinks he or she is overweight, and the book tells that person to accept his or her body. Not everyone is ready to accept that, and in such cases the reading may add another frustration, and might even be harmful, aggravating that suffering,” she explains.
Therefore, it is important to face reading as one of the countless ways to seek help, and not the only one. “If you feel something is wrong, don’t try to solve the problem on your own, thinking the book alone will solve all your problems,” counsels the psychologist.
According to her, it is necessary to combine reading with conversations with trustworthy friends and relatives, seeking spiritual support – for those who have any form of religious belief – and therapy. “In the same way someone goes to a doctor and undergoes a treatment when they have a pain in their kidneys, people need to seek an expert for the illnesses of the mind. After all, any mental suffering is treatable. All you have to do is use the right medicine,” she concludes.
Most sold self-help books in 2018:
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (Mark Manson) – 439,251 copies
- The Miracle Morning (Hal Elrod) – 189,595 copies
- Seja Foda! (Caio Carneiro) – 165,595 copies
- Combate Espiritual (Father Reginaldo Manzotti) – 148,570 copies
- O Poder da Ação (Paulo Vieira) – 141,681 copies
- The Power of Habit (Charles Duhigg) – 125,664 copies
- O Poder da Autorresponsabilidade (Paulo Vieira) – 119,337 copies