Self-help: To millions of Americans it seems like a godsend. To
many others it seems like a joke. But as investigative reporter
Steve Salerno reveals in this groundbreaking book, it's neither--in
fact it's much worse than a joke. Going deep inside the Self-Help
and Actualization Movement (fittingly, the words form the acronym
SHAM), Salerno offers the first serious expose of this
multibillion-dollar industry and the real damage it is doing--not
just to its paying customers, but to all of American society.
Based on the author's extensive reporting--and the inside look at
the industry he got while working at a leading "lifestyle"
publisher--"SHAM" shows how thinly credentialed "experts" now
dispense advice on everything from mental health to relationships
to diet to personal finance to business strategy. Americans spend
upward of $8 billion every year on self-help programs and products.
And those staggering financial costs are actually the least of our
"SHAM" demonstrates how the self-help movement's core philosophies
have infected virtually every aspect of American life--the home,
the workplace, the schools, and more. And Salerno exposes the
downside of being uplifted, showing how the "empowering" message
that dominates self-help today proves just as damaging as the
blame-shifting rhetoric of self-help's "Recovery" movement.
"SHAM" also reveals:
- How self-help gurus conduct extensive market research to reach
the same customers over and over--without ever helping them
- The inside story on the most notorious gurus--from Dr. Phil to
Dr. Laura, from Tony Robbins to John Gray
- How your company might be wasting money on motivational speakers,
"executive coaches," and other quick fixes that often hurt quality,
productivity, and morale
- How the Recovery movement has eradicated notions of personal
responsibility by labeling just about anything--from drug abuse to
"sex addiction" to shoplifting--a dysfunction or disease
- How Americans blindly accept that twelve-step programs offer the
only hope of treating addiction, when in fact these programs can do
more harm than good
- How the self-help movement inspired the disastrous emphasis on
self-esteem in our schools
- How self-help rhetoric has pushed people away from proven medical
treatments by persuading them that they can cure themselves through
sheer application of will
As Salerno shows, to describe self-help as a waste of time and
money vastly understates its collateral damage. And with "SHAM,"
the self-help industry has finally been called to account for the
damage it has done.
Also available as an eBook
"From the Hardcover edition."
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