WSIRN Ep 121: “The Secret” to a great self help book

Today’s guests take getting lost in a good book to a TOTALLY different level. Kristen Meinzer and Jolenta Greenberg host By The Book podcast, a bookish comedy show that catalogs the ultimate buddy-read: together they live by the rules of different self-help bestsellers, for two weeks at a time. Kristen and Jolenta are SUPER funny and have tons of dirt to dish about living to the letter of books like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Secret, The Miracle Morning, and more. My high-stakes job this week is recommending 3 titles for them to consider living through NEXT. No pressure.Let’s get into it!


What Should I Read Next #121: “The Secret” to a great self help book with Kristen Meinzer and Jolenta Greenberg

Check out By The Book podcast: Website | Apple Podcasts | Twitter

Connect with Kristen Meinzer and Jolenta Greenberg on Twitter.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Some links are affiliate links. More details here.

• The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• Tyra’s Beauty Inside and Out, by Tyra Banks (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo – and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up, by Richard Lloyd Parry (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• The Power, by Naomi Alderman (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self, by Manoush Zomorodi (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• The Little Book of Hygge, by Meik Wiking (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• What To Say When You Talk To Yourself, by Shad Helmstetter Ph.D (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• Why Good Things Happen To Good People: How to Live a Longer Healthier, Happier Life by the Simple Act of Giving, by Stephen Post Ph.D & Jill Neimark (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure, by Mireille Guiliano (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex, by John Gray (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F***, by Mark Manson (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, by Margareta Magnusson (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book, by Dan Harris (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• Color Me Beautiful: Discover Your Natural Beauty Through the Colors That Make You Look Great and Feel Fabulous, by Carole Jackson (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live, by Melody Warnick (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero (Amazon | Barnes and Noble IndieBound)
• You Are A Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth, by Jen Sincero (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right On The Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams, by Steve Economides (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You, by Dolly Parton (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• Here’s The Situation: A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades, and Getting in Your GTL on the Jersey Shore, by Mike Sorrentino (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)

Have you ever lived according to the rules of a self-help book? Should Kristen and Jolenta try out that title, or should they steer clear? Tell us all about it in comments. 


Leave A Comment
  1. Charity says:

    I love listening to By the Book and found it such a pleasant surprise to hear Kristen and Jolenta in this episode and already look forward to them using Anne’s recommendations in future episodes. I still like French Women Don’t Get Fat, but with the caveat that I read it and like to follow the spirit of it and not to the word. (I definitely never did a leek weekend and as a result still love leeks.)

  2. Stacy says:

    Fun episode to listen to despite that fact that I share Kristen’s disdain for self-help books. Felt like I was listening to a kindred spirit. I almost made it through the podcast without wanting to add a book to my TBR list, but the Dolly Parton book may sneak on there. How can you go wrong with Dolly?

    • Diane says:

      Really love your laugh and your enunciation! Are you from the Midwest? I am a native ND.?
      Love self-help books:)
      Thanks Anne

      • Kristen Meinzer says:

        Hi, Diane! I’m from Minnesota, and on top of that, I was at least half raised by my beloved Nanna, who grew up in North Dakota. I’ve been told I have a pretty strong upper midwest accent, as a result…but I don’t hear it. Ha!

        • Diane says:

          I knew it!! You definitely have a mix of Minn and ND! I felt like I was listening to family?
          I have lived in NY for 34 years and I still have the ND drawl!

  3. Bonnie says:

    Listened to the show on my run today and was instantly thinking of Color Me Beautiful! Read that one repeatedly in my tweens (before tween was a thing). As I recall lots of advice about haircuts and eyeglasses for your face shape, correct eyebrow shaping, ways to tie scarves, etc. Should be a treasure trove of helpful information. If you want to go more in depth there is also a color me beautiful make up specific book. Got that for my 14th birthday along with a makeup mirror (so I could correctly apply for daylight, candle light, and fluorescent) and a collection of Maybelline Shine Free.

    (This is Where You Belong is also a great book.)

  4. Hayley Balmer says:

    Hi Anne

    I love your podcasts and usually listen to them while I am gardening. I wonder if you could put the books into categories in the shownotes as sometimes I can’t remember whether a book was loved or hated by the time I get to read them. Thanks.

    • Anne says:

      We get a lot of requests to do this, and a lot of requests NOT to do this as well, because many see it as spoiler-ish. That’s why right now we list titles in order of mention. If we ever change or make other options available we will make sure you know!

  5. Jana says:

    I love it when my favorite podcasters get together – this was a great show!

    Color Me Beautiful helped me in my early 20s; I keep my color swatches with me and STILL USE THEM at age 58!! It is a way to simplify clothes shopping and build your wardrobe so that everything goes together. I can’t wait to hear By The Book’s experience with a book I’ve been living by my entire adult life (minus the makeup part. . . sigh.)

  6. Christine says:

    I binged By The Book after hearing about from you. I enjoy it quite a lot. Just wish there wasn’t so many F bombs. Your show with them had zero and was terrific. I don’t recommend their podcast to many of my friends because if that. To be honest, I was kind of shocked when I first listened to have found them via WSIRN.

  7. If you want to try a step-by-step personal finance guide, I think the best one out there is I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. His tone, which tends towards making fun of people for being idiots, could be funny for quoting on the show, but his guide itself is concrete and useful.

  8. Cathleen says:

    What a fantastic show! I enjoy all of the WSIRN podcasts, but this one made me laugh out loud, especially when Kristen and Jolenta talked about The Miracle Morning. I had heard and read a number of people rave about that book (and I mean enthusiastically, whole-heartedly, and passionately rave about the book!), so I got the e-book. Oh my, oh my. What insipid drivel. I was shocked at how poorly written it was and how superficial (and wrong-headed) the whole “level 10 life” concept was. I’m an even-keeled person, but if I could have, I would have hurled the book across the room (but I didn’t because it was on my Kindle). Kristen and Jolenta articulated so clearly what I found so objectionable about that book. On the more positive side, I enjoyed listening to both of them so much, that I’ve subscribed to their podcast. Thanks so much, Anne, for another great podcast!

  9. Kate says:

    Such a great show and now I am loving By the Book, too! Also, because of Kristin and Jolenta, I feel comfortable now chucking my copy of Miracle Morning. 😉

  10. Abby says:

    I loooooooved this episode! Talking about books with folks from another book podcast: genius! I subscribed to By The Book immediately after listening to this episode. And then I downloaded Dolly’s book 🙂

    I know Kristin and Jolenta prefer books by women and POC and I LOVE that. I did have a recommendation that strays from that with Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman. This book has *everything*: it’s tender and hilarious and a bit raunchy. Not self-help so much as anecdotal evidence of his own values. I loved it and think of it often!

  11. Bridget says:

    It was so much fun to hear my favorite podcasters all together! I think the entertainment factor of Color Me Beautiful would be amazing, but if you want a more updated version go to Life In Color by Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo.

    I also would love to hear you guys (can you tell I’m from Minnesota) do Wine. All the Time: The Casual Guide to Confident Drinking by Marissa A. Ross.

  12. Sheryl Esau says:

    I almost skipped over this episode when I read it was about self-help books until I heard one of them hates self-help books! I knew I was in! This was a fun show and now I’ll tune in to their podcast, too. Color me beautiful was a great suggestion. I remember reading that with my mom back in the day, and a friend just told me a few weeks ago that I’m an “autumn” (which I’m totally not an autumn, I hate those colors LOL). I really loved Men are from Mars back when I read it and still own it. Wonder if it would read the same for me now as it did then. Probably not, but I still use the “would you” instead of “could you” and a few other tips that I thought were pretty good. But this made me curious if I would like the book now.

  13. Kristen Meinzer says:

    Thank you so much, Kathleen, for subscribing! And thank you, Anne, for introducing us to so many of your wonderful fans!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.