In this week's edition of the #WiseWords series, regular contributor Rae Ritchie shares with us the books that she has found particularly helpful

Shoot the Damn Dog by Sally Brampton

I return to the pages of Shoot the Damn Dog with an added sadness since author Sally Brampton’s suicide last May but still her words stand as a beacon of solace for anyone struggling with depression, alcoholism and other mental health issues.  You may not find comfort exactly but you’ll know that you are not alone.  Using her journalistic skill and wit, Brampton documents a life spiralling down to the depths of despair and the long, arduous process of putting oneself back together again.  Part memoir, part self-help book, pure classic.

Help! How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done by Oliver Burkeman

I’m sure I’m not alone in my belief that most (albeit not all) self-help books have a page, or maybe a paragraph, of insightful revelation that can genuinely help to improve the lives of readers.  The trouble is that authors are then compelled to pen another two hundred pages in which they develop this kernel of truth, during which they may unfortunately overstate their claim.  As its title suggests, in Help!: How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done, Oliver Burkeman avoids this exaggeration.  Based on his popular weekly column for the Guardian, Help! Distils the key message of numerous self-help and pop-psychology books.  Burkeman takes the kernel at the heart of these publications, the nugget of gold that is genuinely helpful, and presents just that, stripped of the other two hundred pages.  He also provides his own commentary, reflecting on human nature and why particular advice does, or doesn’t, work.  Although he doesn’t claim it’ll make a huge difference, Burkeman’s writing can make you slightly happier and a bit more productive.  It can definitely help.