Not sure how you see self help or inspirational books. I read Deepak Chopra's "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams" right after it came out and was curious about what I would find between the covers. I was 35 and looking for answers to the questions about life and thought I was looking outside the box. I must admit I read the book and didn't fully understand all of the teachings. So much was in vague parable form and left so much open to interpretation. What I did take from the book was our connection to everything and how you react can have so much effect on circumstances. Common sense meets the Dalai Lama. The reason I bring this up, I returned to the library today and while looking at the audiobooks I saw a book by Paulo Coelho "The Alchemist." I thought back to the Deepak Chopra book and wondered if this would be similar. The story of a boy who travels the lands and becomes one with the world while an elder man shares his sage wisdom. Each parable puts the kid in another situation where the elder can guide him and let him learn another nugget of life. It brings to mind the TV show Kung Fu with David Caridine. The elder blind sensei would teach life skills while the martial arts were the structure or vehicle to do protect the student in real life situations while "he walks the walk." there is no Kung fu here... If it makes me think or reflect then it's worth the time to listen to the 3 hours of Jeremy Irons. I read for a few reasons, to learn, to promote thought, or to be entertained. If a book is able to give me more than one of these features it just makes the book that much better.
Another book jumped at me for completely different reasons. I do enjoy a quick read and one with lean, no fluff story telling is even better. "My Mortal Enemy" by Willa Cather looks like a good read before I ever turn the first page.