I disagree with your stand on the books completely. What does “self-development book trick the brain into feeling like you’ve accomplished something” even mean??? This could be said about literally any book. Because finishing any book, whether it’s 1984, Bible, History coursebook or Harry Potter, is a small accomplishment in itself.
Maybe a bad self-development book does it. But a good self-development book encourages you to make changes in your life straight after reading through author’s philosophy, with clear steps and rules to achieving the wanted result. After reading Marie Kondo, learning about all the steps of tidying, I didn’t close the book and carried on with my life. I went to tidying straight away, applied everything I’ve learned.
Yes, I primarily did this small, yet significant change in my life myself. Because I wanted that change and was ready for it. I just needed an expert’s guidance from the book. But if the same book got picked up by some lazy bloke who’s happy with how things are around him, of course book is not gonna help him. And it’s not book’s fault. You can’t go blaming the whole category of books saying they’re mind tricks and useless, because the majority of people are unmotivated and lazy.