Riot Recommendation: Self-Help Books That Rock

Rebecca Joines Schinsky

Chief of Staff

Rebecca Joines Schinsky is the executive director of product and ecommerce at Riot New Media Group. She co-hosts All the Books! and the Book Riot Podcast. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccaschinsky.

smile at strangersThis installment of the Riot Recommendation is sponsored by Smile at Strangers by Susan Schorn.

Susan Schorn led an anxious life. For no clear reason, she had become progressively paralyzed by fear. Fed up with feeling powerless, she took up karate.

She learned how to say no and how to fight when you have to (even in the dark). Karate taught her how to persuade her husband to wear a helmet, best one bossy Girl Scout troop leader, and set boundaries with an over-sharing boss. Here this double black belt recounts a fighting, biting, laughing woman’s journey on the road to living fearlessly-where enlightenment is as much about embracing absurdity and landing a punch as about finding that perfect method of meditation.

Full of hilarious hijinks and tactical wisdom, Schorn’s quest for a more satisfying life features practical-and often counterintuitive-lessons about safety and self defense.Smile at strangers, she says. Question your habits, your fears, your self-criticism: Self-criticism is easy. Self-improvement is hard. And don’t forget this essential gem:Everybody wants to have adventures. Whether they know it or not. Join the adventure in these pages, and come through it poised to have more of your own.


Let’s be real. Self-help books take a lot of guff in the readerly world, but if we’re honest, we have to admit–to ourselves and our bookish friends–that we all need a little advice sometimes. And because books are how we make sense of the world, it’s to books that we turn when we need to figure out how to take the next step, or how to identify what the next step even is. It’s books that make us who we are, and it is books that change us. So today we want to know: what are the self-help books that rock?