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 worries.
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.
Based on the author's extensive reportingand the inside look at the industry he got while working at a leading "lifestyle" publisherSHAM 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 worries.
SHAM demonstrates how the self-help movement's core philosophies have infected virtually every aspect of American lifethe 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:
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.
From the Introduction
For decades I have been tracking the self-help movement without fully
realizing its place in the zeitgeist, even though I've written often
about its component parts. My first book, in 1985, described the
"mainstreaming" of veteran sales and motivational trainers like Tom
Hopkins and Zig Ziglar, both of whom were then beginning to expand their
brands; they were subtly turning their antennae away from hard-core
salesmanship to the much airier patter of mass-market training, with its
exponentially greater target audience. Their efforts signaled the
beginning of what we now call "success training" or, in its more
intensive, small-group settings, "life coaching."
During the late 1980s and 1990s I wrote separate magazine pieces about:
TONY ROBBINS. Today he's the Eighty Million Dollar Man (per year). Back at the...
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!
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (199 words).
The USA spends about $8 billion a year on self-help programs and products. To put this in context, according to Photius.com, out of 231 countries in the world, 85 of them have GDPs of less than $8 billion. In other words, if 'Self-Help USA' was a country it would rank 140th in the world! Add in diet products and the ranking would move up to the mid-60s!
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A witty, fascinating, and counterintuitive read that turns decades of self-help advice on its head and forces us to rethink completely our attitudes toward failure, uncertainty, and death.
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