Great take on this, Matthew! I agree.

Anytime I've read a self-help book that's resonated with me it's because it's aligned with my goals. But the opposite is also true: when I don't have a specific outcome in mind I'm not as interested in it.

It's true too that self-help books are futile if we don't take action. Being able to apply lessons from these books is one of the reasons why I love the self-help genre so much.