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pallen123's avatar

Are self help books usually written in second person view?

Asked by pallen123 (1519points) May 13th, 2010
16 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

In terms of narrative mode, is second person technically the perspective most often used in self help books, or non-fiction books that speak directly to the reader—like the Mehmet Oz book “You on a Diet”?

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MissA's avatar

The first-person point of view is used mainly in fiction, when a story is told from the point of view of one of the characters, using “I” and “me” throughout the story. This point of view allows the reader to see all the action of the story through the eyes of that single character; when the “I” of the story is the main character, the reader can, quite literally, get “in the head” of the narrator, experiencing all of the main character’s thoughts and feelings. You would rarely use this point of view in a formal essay, because when writing an essay, you usually want to remain objective in the argument you’re presenting.

The second-person point of view isn’t used very much, simply because it’s very difficult to write from this point of view without confusing the readers (who might think the author is addressing them). This point of view is also used mainly in fiction, when the story’s narrator uses “you” to address the main character, such as in a story where the author (narrator) is addressing a younger version of himself. Such a point of view would also be inappropriate for a formal essay.

The third-person point of view is the one you want to use for a formal essay. In this point of view, the author uses “he” and “she” to describe the action of the story. This point of view allows for distance between the author and the characters, as well as for an “all-seeing, all-knowing” (or omniscient) narrator. Using this point of view in a formal essay enables you to be objective in the argument you’re presenting and not bring your personal feelings, thoughts, or experiences into the essay.

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pingela's avatar

But yes, self-help is the one place where non-fiction often uses the 2nd person… because the author IS addressing the reader, and so “you” is appropriate.

janbb's avatar

You can get the most out of them when they are written that way.

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chamelopotamus's avatar

Like the late great George Carlin once said: “It’s not SELF-help!.....It’s HELP!!!”. So true and so funny…:)

SeventhSense's avatar

True dat, if so we would have come up with it on our own. Yet, I suppose “Help directed at the Self” is a little wordy.

Coloma's avatar

Most self help books are titled entriely wrong too, all soft and gooey, like ’ I’m okay, your okay’ Uh, no, you are NOT okay!

I’d like to see a more hardcore, no nonsense approach, titles such as:’

’ You are fucked up, here’s what you can DO about it!’

‘The Dummys guide to fucked upness!’

’ Wake up and smell the dysfunction’

I’m sure you all can add a few titles of your own. lol

anartist's avatar

So you are planning on writing one? In the “tough-love”/tougher humor style that we so love on Fluther?

Coloma's avatar


It would be a fun project!, wanna co-author? lol

SeventhSense's avatar

The soft sell huh?~

Coloma's avatar


‘The ‘soft cell’ managing your sloppy brain!’ lol

SeventhSense's avatar

Hey hey hey….easy now. Retract the claws there Groucho.

Coloma's avatar


Sheesh dude!

Whats up with always taking a persecuting stance?

I am being HUMOROUS, another book title, a PLAY on your words!

There was absolutely nothing personal in my retort!

SeventhSense's avatar

Well likewise but any attack on my brain I take umbrage to.
It’s my second favorite organ.

Coloma's avatar


Um….what part of ’ a play on your words’ ‘book title’ and ’ nothing personal’ did you not understand?

How can I be any more clear?

There was no attack on your brain whatsoever…pure fiction, in your mind, never happened, can you spell HUMOR?

I had zero thought about you or your brain, just being silly.

Are we perfectly clear now?

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