From the book jacket:
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 neitherin 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 exposé of this
multibillion-dollar industry and the real
damage it is doingnot just to its paying
customers, but to all of American society.
Comment: SHAM has been rustling a lot of feathers, as you'd expect of a book that attacks the self-help industry! Salerno's stance is unequivocal, and at times vitriolic. Personally, I'm all for balanced debate and looking at different viewpoints, because there are very few black and white issues in this world - everything comes down to shades of grey - and that includes the self-help industry. So, I did think twice before recommending a book that effectively writes off the entire self-help arena as a SHAM. Having said that, the belief that all our problems can be solved if we just find the right 12-step program, or the right diet, or the right self-actualization image isn't healthy either, and if Salerno is to have any hope of being heard above the din of advice he needs to be a little obstreperous - especially when one takes into account that many of the publicity avenues available to the self-help 'gurus' (such as magazines and talk-shows) are unlikely to want to give space to his views!
Whatever you think of self-help products, I encourage you to take a few minutes out of your day to read an excerpt from this controversial book!
This review was originally published in July 2005, and has been updated for the September 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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