My neighbour was down-sizing her library, and insisted on keeping certain titles so, "people who look at my books will know that I'm well-read and have some intelligence."

They'll see that you have "shelf esteem," I said. : )

She got it. : P

Q: Can I take a bow for this? Or did I read it somewhere?

  • I have heard of "shelf reliance" wrt the small reference library that cruisers and rvers carry around with them. I have about 5 lineal feet of books in my rv. Very dense stuff and fit for purpose after 40 years collecting and pruning. – Phil Sweet Jun 18 '16 at 13:43
  • @PhilSweet Shelf reliance is what you must have when you're off the grid, want to be in the know, but don't want to be out of the loop. – Stan Jun 18 '16 at 22:27

This is actually not well known but it is known enough to make it in the Urban Dictionary. The Urban Dictionary is a collection of sayings, idioms etc that make up American as well as other cultural sayings.

FROM: Urban Dictionary.


shelf esteem When someone builds their self esteem from self help books. My coworker just added Dr. Phil to her shelf esteem library, now everyday at lunch its Dr. P said this Dr. P said that.

Here is the second entry for 'shelf esteem'.

When a person fills their book shelf with trendy novels, reference books, and/or classic literature to make themselves feel better about their base level of knowledge. Also refers to someone talking about a book they just read in a way which seems as if they had read it years before to make themselves sound well-read.

"That guy had the complete works of Shakespeare, 10 or 15 New York Times best sellers, and the Encyclopedia Brittanica 2009 Edition on his shelf. That guy has some serious shelf esteem problems."

"I was about to join one of those book of the month clubs you always see on TV, but then I grew some shelf esteem."

You: "Like that scene in the Da Vinci code...."

Someone Else: "Dude, buy yourself a 12th grade education level and get yourself some decent shelf esteem."

Check out more at http://UrbanDictionary.com

  • 1
    I think your second entry choice is closest to the spirit of the moment. She was a proud woman; but, also was sharp with a wonderful sense of humour. – Stan Feb 4 at 0:31

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