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Self-help group

Self-help group may refer to:

  • Support group, group in which members provide each other with various types of help for a particular shared characteristic
  • Self-help group (finance), village-based financial intermediary usually composed of between 10-15 local women

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Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-help_group

19. March 2019 by Taiwo Talabi
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Help Me!

I wanted to find out what would happen if I really did follow the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? Really felt The Power of Now? Could life be transformed? Could I get rich? Skinny? Find love? Be more productive and fulfilled? Because I really did want all the things these books promised. For years Journalist Marianne Power lined her bookshelves with dog-eared copies of definitive guides on how to live your best life, dipping in and out of self-help books when she needed them most. Then, one day, she woke up to find that the life she hoped for and the life she was living were worlds apart—and she set out to make some big changes. Marianne decided to finally find out if her elusive “perfect existence”—the one without debt, anxiety, or hangover Netflix marathons, the one where she healthily bounced around town and met the cashmere-sweater-wearing man of her dreams—really did lie in the pages of our best known and acclaimed self help books. She vowed to test a book a month for one year, following its advice to the letter, taking what she hoped would be the surest path to a flawless new her. But as the months passed and Marianne’s reality was turned upside down, she found herself confronted with a different question: Self-help can change your life, but is it for the better? With humor, audacity, disarming candor and unassuming wisdom, in Help Me Marianne Power plumbs the trials and tests of being a modern woman in a “have it all” culture, and what it really means to be our very best selves.

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19. March 2019 by Taiwo Talabi
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Self-help book

A self-help book is one that is written with the intention to instruct its readers on solving personal problems. The books take their name from Self-Help, an 1859 best-seller by Samuel Smiles, but are also known and classified under “self-improvement“, a term that is a modernized version of self-help. Self-help books moved from a niche position to being a postmodern cultural phenomenon in the late twentieth century.[1]


Early history[edit]

Informal guides to everyday behaviour might be said to have existed almost as long as writing itself. Ancient Egyptian “Codes” of conduct “have a curiously modern note: ‘you trail from street to street, smelling of beer…like a broken rudder, good for nothing….you have been found performing acrobatics on a wall!'”.[2] Micki McGee writes: “Some social observers have suggested that the Bible is perhaps the first and most significant of self-help books”.[3]

In Western culture, a line of descent may be traced back from Smiles’ Self-Help to when “the Renaissance concern with self-fashioning produced a flood of educational and self-help materials”:[4] thus “the Florentine Giovanni della Casa in his book of manners published in 1558 suggests: ‘It is also an unpleasant habit to lift another person’s wine or his food to your nose and smell it'”.[5] The Middle Ages saw the genre personified in “Conduir-amour” (“guide in love matters”).[6] In classical Rome, Cicero‘s On Friendship and On Duties became “handbooks and guides…through the centuries”,[7] and Ovid wrote Art of Love and Remedy of Love. The former has been described as “the best sex book, as valid for San Francisco and London as for ancient Rome”, dealing “with practical problems of everyday life: where to go to meet girls, how to start a conversation with them, how to keep them interested, and…how to be sociable rather than athletic in bed”;[8] the latter has been described as containing “a series of instructions, as frank as they are ingenious and brilliantly expressed, on falling out of love”.[9]

The postmodern phenomenon[edit]

It is however in the last half-century or so that the humble self-help book has jumped to cultural prominence, a fact admitted by both the advocates and the critics – often highly polarised – of the self-improvement genre. Some would ‘view the buying of such books…as an exercise in self-education’.[10] Others, more critical, still concede that ‘it is too prevalent and powerful a phenomenon to overlook, despite belonging to “pop” culture‘.[11]

For better or worse, it is clear that self-help books have had ‘a very important role in developing social concepts of disease in the twentieth century’, and that they ‘disseminate these concepts through the general public so that ordinary people acquire a language for describing some of the complex and ineffable features of emotional and behavioral life’.[12]

Where traditional psychology and psychotherapy will tend to be written in an impersonal, objective mode, many self-help books ‘involve a first-person involvement and often a conversion experience’:[13] in keeping with the self-help support groups on which they often draw, horizontal peer-support and validation is thus offered the reader, as well as advice “from above”.

Yet arguably with the movement from the self-help group to the individual “self-improvement” reader something of that peer support has been lost, reflecting the broader way that ‘over the course of the last three decades of the twentieth-century, there has been a significant shift in the meaning of “self-help”‘.[14] A collective enterprise has become a refashioning of the individual self: ‘in less than thirty years, “self-help” – once synonymous with mutual aid – has come to be understood…as a largely individual undertaking’.[15]

Behind the self-help book explosion[edit]

‘What social theorists call “detraditionalization” – the tendency of advancing capitalism to disrupt the cultures and traditions that may stand in the way of the accumulation of profit’[16] has been seen as underpinning behind the self-help phenomenon in two (overlapping) ways. The first is the eclipse of the informal, communitarian transmission of folkways and folk wisdom: ‘the charge that when self-help writers are being simplistic and repetitious, they are also being banal and unoriginal, merely offering their readers platitudes…on behalf of the best parts of folk wisdom’,[17] may simply be because they are providing a formal conduit for the conveyance of such “home truths” in an increasingly unstructured and anomic world.

The other result of the loss of ‘Weber‘s “traditional behavior…everyday action to which people have become habitually accustomed”‘[18] is an increased social pressure for Self-fashioning: ‘while one’s identity might have been formerly anchored in (and limited by) a community…the self-creating self must create a written narrative of his or her life’.[19] self-help books ‘written and read for the purpose of helping people build a personal philosophy’[20] contribute to that end.

The danger may arise however of an overestimation of the possibilities of change, given that ‘we do not in any meaningful sense intend or choose our birth, our parents, our bodies, our language, our culture, our thoughts, our dreams, our desires, our death, and so on’.[21] In the PsyBlog-Understand Your Mind , Dr. Jeremy Dean states that “the dark side of hope is that claims about potential improvement can, and are, grossly exaggerated, in order to prise open our wallets. Similarly a bright and breezy approach to potential change may lead us to believe that changing ourselves is easy, when often it requires considerable, sometimes monumental, effort”.[22] The ‘Twelve-step “Traditions”…have fostered a notion of individual self-mastery or self-control as limited…use of the Serenity Prayer encourages individuals to accept what they cannot change, to find courage to change what they can change, and to seek wisdom in discerning the difference’.[23] Self-help books will indeed often acknowledge formally that ‘this book does not replace the need for therapy and counselling for troubled relationships or survivors of a dysfunctional family‘.[24] In practice however, fueled by competitive advertising, often ‘such books hold out to the reader the promise of a virtually “instantaneous” transformation’;[25] and there ensues something of a ‘built-in contradiction of the celebratory arc of the self-help book combined with the stubborn realities’[26] of the human world.

The reader may go away disillusioned; or may seek for the answer in the next book, so that ‘self-help books can become an addiction in and of themselves’[27] – a process that will ‘have fostered the belabored self’[28] rather than relieving it. In that perspective, since all self-help books ‘have at least one common message. They tell you that you have the power to change yourself….By implication all of these books are saying, if you are in pain, if you are stuck and can’t seem to change, it’s no one’s fault but your own’.[29]

It is important to note that the popularity of self-help books may cause a placebo effect and thus appear to be an effective way to change an individual’s way of thinking about their life and selves. This is because individuals will believe these books will change their lives like others have endorsed.


Self-help books often focus on popular psychology such as romantic relationships, or aspects of the mind and human behavior which believers in self-help feel can be controlled with effort.
Self-help books typically advertise themselves as being able to increase self-awareness and performance, including satisfaction with one’s life. They often say that they can help you achieve this more quickly than with conventional therapies.
Many celebrities have marketed self-help books including Jennifer Love Hewitt, Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Fitzmaurice, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and Cher.

Like most books, self-help books can be purchased both offline and online; ‘between 1972 and 2000, the numbers of self-help books…increased from 1.1 percent to 2.4 percent of the total number of books in print’.[30]

Fictional analogues[edit]

Stephen Potter‘s “Upmanship” books are satirical takes on status-seeking under the cloak of sociableness – ‘remember, that it is just on such occasions that an appearance of geniality is most important’[31] – cast in advice-book form. A few decades later, with the neoliberal turn, such advice – ‘Remember the reality of self-interest’[32] – would be being seriously advocated in the self-help world: in bestsellers like Swim with the Sharks, all ‘kinds of seemingly benign guile are encouraged’, on the principle that ‘status displays matter: just don’t be suckered by them yourself’.[33]

Perhaps the best-known fictional embodiment of the world of the self-help book is Bridget Jones. Taking ‘self-help books…[as] a new form of religion’[34] – ‘a kind of secularised religion – a sort of moral values lite’[35] – she struggles to integrate its often conflicting instructions into a coherent whole. ‘She must stop beating herself over the head with Women Who Love Too Much and instead think more towards Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus…see Richard’s behaviour less as a sign that she is co-dependent and loving too much and more in the light of him being like a Martian rubber band’.[36] Even she, however, has the occasional crisis of faith, when she wonders: ‘Maybe it helps if you’ve never read a self-help book in your life’.[37]

In the BookWorld Companion, it is suggested that ‘those of you who have tired of the glitzy world of shopping and inappropriate boyfriends in Chicklit, a trip to Dubious Lifestyle Advice might be the next step. An hour in the hallowed halls of invented ills will leave you with at least ten problems you never knew you had, let alone existed’.[38]

See also[edit]


  • ^ Micki McGee, Self-help, Inc.: Makeover Culture in American Life (Oxford 2005) p. 11
  • ^ A. Rosalie David, The Egyptian Kingdoms (Oxford 1973) p. 113
  • ^ McGee, p. 5
  • ^ Frank Whigham/Wayne A. Rebhorn eds., The Art of English Poesie (New York 2007) p. 33
  • ^ Erving Goffman, Relations in Public (Penguin 1971) p. 71
  • ^ C. G. Jung ed., Man and his Symbols (London 1978) p. 196
  • ^ H. J. Rose, A Handbook of Latin Literature (London 1967) p. 184-5
  • ^ Eric Berne, Sex in Human Loving (Penguin 1970) p. 226
  • ^ Rose, p. 330
  • ^ Sandra K. Dolby (2005). Self-help books: why Americans keep buying them. Illinois. p. 8. ISBN 978-0252075186..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  • ^ Steven Starker, in Dolby, p. 57
  • ^ Lennard J. Davis, Obsession: A History (London 2008) p. 172-3
  • ^ Davis, p. 173
  • ^ McGee, p. 18
  • ^ McGee, p. 19
  • ^ McGee, p. 76
  • ^ Dolby, p. 63-4
  • ^ Alfred Schutz, The Phenomenology of the Social World (Illinois 1997) p. 197
  • ^ McGee, p. 157
  • ^ Dolby, p. 79
  • ^ Adam Phillips, On Flirtation (London 1994) p. 9
  • ^ Jeremy Dean, “Is Modern Self-Help Just a Massive Money-Making Scam?”, PsyBlog-Understand Your Mind, 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  • ^ McGee, p. 186 and p. 240
  • ^ John Gray, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus (London 1993) p. 7
  • ^ Mel D.Faber, New Age Thinking (Ottawa 1996) p. 350
  • ^ Davis, p. 231-2
  • ^ J. and L. Fried, Adult Children (1988) p. vii
  • ^ McGee, p. 176
  • ^ P. R. McGraw, It’s Not Your Fault (2004) p. 5
  • ^ McGee, p. 200
  • ^ Stephen Potter, Some Notes on Lifemanship (London 1950) p. 32
  • ^ Robert J. Ringer, in McGee, p. 55
  • ^ McGee, p. 74
  • ^ Helen Fielding Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (Picador 2000) p. 75
  • ^ McGee, p. 20
  • ^ Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary (London 1997) p. 21
  • ^ Fielding, Diary p. 60
  • ^ Jasper Fforde, One of Our Thursdays is Missing (London 2011) p. 339

  • Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-help_book

    18. March 2019 by Taiwo Talabi
    Categories: Self Help | Leave a comment

    Money: A Love Story

    Having a good relationship with money is tough—whether you have millions in the bank or just a few bucks to your name. Why? Because just like any other relationship, your life with money has its ups and downs, its twists and turns, its breakups and makeups. And just like other relationships, living happily with money really comes down to love—which is why love is the basis of money maven Kate Northrup’s book. After taking the Money Love Quiz to see where on the spectrum your relationship with money stands—somewhere between “on the outs” and “it’s true love!”—Northrup takes you on a rollicking ride to a better understanding of yourself and your money. Step-by-step exercises that address both the emotional and practical aspects of your financial life help you figure out your personal perceptions of money and wealth and how to change them for the better. You’ll learn about thought patterns that may be holding you back from earning what you’re worth or saving what you can. You’ll learn how to chart your current financial life and create a plan to get you to where you want to be—whether that’s earning enough to live in a penthouse in Manhattan or a cabin in the Rockies. Using client stories and her own saga of moving from $20,000 of debt to complete financial freedom by the age of 28, Northrup acts as a guide in your quest for personal financial freedom. She’ll teach you how to shift your beliefs about money, create a budget, spend in line with your values, get out of debt, and so much more. In short, she’ll teach you to love your money, so you can love your life.

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    18. March 2019 by Taiwo Talabi
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    Self-help (law)

    Self-help, in the sense of a legal doctrine, refers to individuals’ implementation of their rights without resorting to legal writ or consultation of higher authority, as where a financial institution repossesses a car on which they hold both the title and a defaulted note. Individuals resort to self-help when they retrieve property found under the unauthorized control of another person, or simply abate nuisances (as by using sandbags and ditches to protect land from being flooded).


    Degrees of limitation[edit]

    The legal system places varying degrees of limitation on self-help, and laws vary widely among different jurisdictions. Often, self-help will be allowed as long as no law is broken, and no breach of the peace occurs (or is likely to occur). Also, the usual limit on liability for actions of an agent will not apply; if one uses an agent such as an independent contractor to perform the self-help action, the principal will be held strictly liable if anything goes wrong. Courts will often place stricter limits on repossession of certain types of merchandise and on eviction of tenants. Creditors and landlords who resort to self-help in such situations are prone to tort liability, and in some jurisdictions, to criminal liability.

    MBank El Paso v. Sanchez[edit]

    A famous case, MBank El Paso v. Sanchez 836 S.W.2d 151 (Tex. 1992). was heard by the Texas Supreme Court. Sanchez was the registered owner of a vehicle which MBank El Paso was lienholder. When a tow truck operator hired by the bank attempted to repossess the vehicle, Sanchez locked herself in the car. The tow truck operator hooked the car up to the tow truck anyway, and proceeded to drive it, with Sanchez still in the vehicle, at high speed to the lot where it was left, protected by a junkyard dog. It required the combined efforts of Sanchez’ boyfriend and the police to allow her to escape the impound lot. In a subsequent trial, the repossession was declared unlawful and reversed, and the bank was also held liable for $1,250,000 in damages to Sanchez, even though the unlawful eviction was taken by the tow truck operator, who was not an employee of the bank. The bank was held to a “non-delegatable duty not to breach the peace,” and that any breach of the peace – whether by the debtor, the creditor, or even an independent contractor merely acting on behalf of the creditor – is considered the fault of the creditor.

    Lack of judicial remedy[edit]

    In a looser sense, it can also refer to individuals taking the law into their own hands, usually through violence or other illegal behavior. It can lead to factions forming around the disputing parties and also to broad civil conflict.

    Historically, self-help has been regarded as the recourse for injured parties when no courts are available that will accept jurisdiction. The dangers of self-help are often advanced as an argument against allowing a situation to develop in which people feel they have no judicial path to a remedy, or that the courts are too corrupt to render just decisions, and as the main reason why impartial courts are established in the first place.

    California has recognized the dangers of self-help evictions by landlords, in which tenants, landlords, and innocent bystanders might be injured or killed as a result of a self-help eviction. Due to the heavy case loads courts have, civil litigants can be required to wait months or years for a trial date. The State of California gives landlord-tenant cases priority over all other cases except for criminal trials and trials where the plaintiff or defendant is over 70 years of age.[1]

    United States v. Alvarez-Machain[edit]

    One of the more famous examples of self-help occurred when, after Enrique Camarena Salazar, a Drug Enforcement agent, was murdered in Mexico in 1985, the U.S. Government hired mercenaries to kidnap Humberto Álvarez Machaín, a local doctor who was suspected of being involved in the murder, and bring him out of Mexico to face trial in the United States without going through the formality of demanding extradition from the Mexican government. The original trial court was of the opinion that such action was illegal. The United States Supreme Court decided that the self-help extradition of Machain from Mexico was legal, notwithstanding the existence of a treaty covering extradition between the U.S. and Mexico. United States v. Alvarez-Machain, 504 U.S. 655, 657 (1992). In the subsequent trial, Machain was acquitted.


    • Bell, Tom W. 2003. “Free Speech, Strict Scrutiny, and Self-Help: How Technology Upgrades Constitutional Jurisprudence.” Minnesota Law Review 87 (February).
    • Fischer, Julee C. 2000. “Policing the Self-Help Legal Market: Consumer Protection or Protection of the Legal Cartel?” Indiana Law Review 34 (winter).
    • Gerchick, Randy G. 1994. “No Easy Way Out: Making the Summary Eviction Process a Fairer and More Efficient Alternative to Landlord Self-Help.” UCLA Law Review 41 (February).
    • Gitter, Henry. 1993. “Self-Help Remedies for Software Vendors.” Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law Journal 9 (November).
  • ^ California Civil Code, Sec. 36. In one case, a plaintiff over 70 years of age had to sue the Superior Court of Santa Clara County to get a courtroom to try his case after two years of continuances. Miller v. Superior Court (Simpson) (1990), [221 Cal. App. 3d 1202

  • Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-help_(law)

    17. March 2019 by Taiwo Talabi
    Categories: Self Help | Leave a comment

    The Power

    You are meant to have an amazing life! This is the handbook to the greatest power in the Universe – The Power to have anything you want. Every discovery, invention, and human creation comes fromThe Power. Perfect health, incredible relationships, a career you love, a life filled with happiness, and the money you need to be, do, and have everything you want, all come fromThe Power. The life of your dreams has always been closer to you than you realized, because The Power -to have everything good in your life – is inside you. To create anything, to change anything, all it takes is just onething…THE POWER.

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    17. March 2019 by Taiwo Talabi
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    The No-Self Help Book

    It’s time to get over your self! Written by a clinical psychologist and student of Eastern philosophy, this handy little guide offers a radical solution to anyone struggling with self-doubt, self-esteem, and self-defeating thoughts: “no-self help.” By breaking free of your own self-limiting beliefs, you’ll discover your infinite potential. There is an insidious, global identity theft occurring that has robbed people of their very recognition of their true selves. The culprit—indeed the mastermind of this crisis—has committed the inside job of creating and promoting the idea that we are all a separate self, which is the chief source of our daily distress and dissatisfaction. No more than a narrative of personhood pieced together from disparate neural activations, the self we believe ourselves to be in our own minds—although quite capable of being affirming, inspiring, and constructive—often spews forth a distressing flow of worry and second-guessing, blaming and shaming, regret and guilt. This book offers an antidote to this epidemic of stolen identity, isolation, and self-deprecation: no-self (a concept known in Buddhist philosophy as anatta or anatman). The No-Self Help Book turns the idea of self-improvement on its head, arguing that the key to well-being lies not in the relentless pursuit of bettering one’s self but in the recognition of the self as a false identity born in the mind. Rather than identifying with a small, relative sense of self, this book encourages you to embrace a liberating alternative—an expansive awareness that is flexible and open to experiencing life as an ongoing and ever-changing process, without attachment to personal outcomes or storylines. To help you make this leap from self to no-self, the book provides forty bite-sized chapters full of clever and inspiring insights based in positive psychology and non-duality—a philosophy that asserts there is no real separation between any of us. So, if you’re tired of “self-help” and you’re ready to explore who you are beyond the self, let The No-Self Help Book be your guide.

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    16. March 2019 by Taiwo Talabi
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    For other uses, see Self-help (disambiguation).

    Self-help or self-improvement is a self-guided improvement[1]—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substantial psychological basis. Many different self-help group programs exist, each with its own focus, techniques, associated beliefs, proponents and in some cases, leaders. Concepts and terms originating in self-help culture and Twelve-Step culture, such as recovery, dysfunctional families, and codependency have become firmly integrated in mainstream language.[2]

    Self-help often utilizes publicly available information or support groups, on the Internet as well as in person, where people in similar situations join together.[1] From early examples in self-driven legal practice[3] and home-spun advice, the connotations of the word have spread and often apply particularly to education, business, psychology and psychotherapy, commonly distributed through the popular genre of self-help books. According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, potential benefits of self-help groups that professionals may not be able to provide include friendship, emotional support, experiential knowledge, identity, meaningful roles, and a sense of belonging.[1]

    Groups associated with health conditions may consist of patients and caregivers. As well as featuring long-time members sharing experiences, these health groups can become support groups and clearing-houses for educational material. Those who help themselves by learning and identifying about health problems can be said to exemplify self-help, while self-help groups can be seen more as peer-to-peer support.



    Within classical antiquity, Hesiod‘s Works and Days “opens with moral remonstrances, hammered home in every way that Hesiod can think of.”[4] The Stoics offered ethical advice “on the notion of eudaimonia—of well-being, welfare, flourishing.”[5] The genre of mirror-of-princes writings, which has a long history in Greco-Roman and Western Renaissance literature, represents a secular cognate of Biblical wisdom-literature. Proverbs from many periods, collected and uncollected, embody traditional moral and practical advice of diverse cultures.

    The hyphenated compound word “self-help” often appeared in the 1800s in a legal context, referring to the doctrine that a party in a dispute has the right to use lawful means on their own initiative to remedy a wrong.[6]

    For some, George Combe‘s “Constitution” [1828], in the way that it advocated personal responsibility and the possibility of naturally sanctioned self-improvement through education or proper self-control, largely inaugurated the self-help movement;”[7][verification needed] In 1841, an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, entitled Compensation, was published suggesting “every man in his lifetime needs to thank his faults” and “acquire habits of self-help” as “our strength grows out of our weakness.”[8] Samuel Smiles (1812–1904) published the first self-consciously personal-development “self-help” book—entitled Self-Help—in 1859. Its opening sentence: “Heaven helps those who help themselves”, provides a variation of “God helps them that help themselves”, the oft-quoted maxim that had also appeared previously in Benjamin Franklin‘s Poor Richard’s Almanac (1733–1758). In the 20th century, “Carnegie‘s remarkable success as a self-help author”[9] further developed the genre with How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1936. Having failed in several careers, Carnegie became fascinated with success and its link to self-confidence, and his books have since sold over 50 million copies.[10] Earlier, in 1902, James Allen published As a Man Thinketh, which proceeds from the conviction that “a man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.” Noble thoughts, the book maintains, make for a noble person, whilst lowly thoughts make for a miserable person; and Napoleon Hill‘s Think and Grow Rich (1937) described the use of repeated positive thoughts to attract happiness and wealth by tapping into an “Infinite Intelligence”.[11]

    Late 20th century[edit]

    In the final third of the 20th century, “the tremendous growth in self-help publishing…in self-improvement culture”[12] really took off—something which must be linked to postmodernism itself—to the way “postmodern subjectivity constructs self-reflexive subjects-in-process.”[13] Arguably at least, “in the literatures of self-improvement…that crisis of subjecthood is not articulated but enacted—demonstrated in ever-expanding self-help book sales.”[14]

    The conservative turn of the neoliberal decades also meant a decline in traditional political activism, and increasing “social isolation; Twelve-Step recovery groups were one context in which individuals sought a sense of community…yet another symptom of the psychologizing of the personal”[15] to more radical critics. Indeed, “some social theorist [sic] have argued that the late-20th century preoccupation with the self serves as a tool of social control: soothing political unrest…[for] one’s own pursuit of self-invention.”‘[16]

    The market[edit]

    Within the context of the market, group and corporate attempts to aid the “seeker” have moved into the “self-help” marketplace, with Large Group Awareness Trainings, LGATs[17]
    and psychotherapy systems represented. These offer more-or-less prepackaged solutions to instruct people seeking their own individual betterment,[citation needed] just as “the literature of self-improvement directs the reader to familiar frameworks…what the French fin de siècle social theorist Gabriel Tarde called ‘the grooves of borrowed thought’.”[18]

    A subgenre of self-help book series also exists: such as the for Dummies guides[19]and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to…—compare how-to books.


    At the start of the 21st century, “the self-improvement industry, inclusive of books, seminars, audio and video products, and personal coaching, [was] said to constitute a 2.48-billion dollars-a-year industry”[20] in the United States alone. By 2006, research firm Marketdata estimated the “self-improvement” market in the U.S. as worth more than $9 billion—including infomercials, mail-order catalogs, holistic institutes, books, audio cassettes, motivation-speaker seminars, the personal coaching market, weight-loss and stress-management programs. Marketdata projected that the total market size would grow to over $11 billion by 2008.[21]
    In 2012 Laura Vanderkam wrote of a turnover of 12 billion dollars.[22]
    In 2013 Kathryn Schulz examined “an $11 billion industry”.[23]

    Self-help and professional service delivery[edit]

    Self-help and mutual-help are very different from—though they may complement—service delivery by professionals:[24] note for example the interface between local self-help and International Aid’s service delivery model.

    Conflicts can and do arise on that interface, however, with some professionals considering that “the twelve-step approach encourages a kind of contemporary version of 19th-century amateurism or enthusiasm in which self-examination and very general social observations are enough to draw rather large conclusions.”[25]


    The rise of self-help culture has inevitably led to boundary disputes with other approaches and disciplines. Some would object to their classification as “self-help” literature, as with “Deborah Tannen‘s denial of the self-help role of her books” so as to maintain her academic credibility, aware of the danger that “writing a book that becomes a popular success…all but ensures that one’s work will lose its long-term legitimacy.”[26]

    Placebo effects can never be wholly discounted. Thus careful studies of “the power of subliminal self-help tapes…showed that their content had no real effect…But that’s not what the participants thought.”[27] “If they thought they’d listened to a self-esteem tape (even though half the labels were wrong), they felt that their self-esteem had gone up. No wonder people keep buying subliminal tape: even though the tapes don’t work, people think they do.”[28] One might then see much of the self-help industry as part of the “skin trades. People need haircuts, massage, dentistry, wigs and glasses, sociology and surgery, as well as love and advice.”[29]—a skin trade, “not a profession and a science”[30] Its practitioners would thus be functioning as “part of the personal service industry rather than as mental health professionals.”[31] While “there is no proof that twelve-step programs ‘are superior to any other intervention in reducing alcohol dependence or alcohol-related problems’,”[32] at the same time it is clear that “there is something about ‘groupishness’ itself which is curative.”[33] Thus for example “smoking increases mortality risk by a factor of just 1.6, while social isolation does so by a factor of 2.0…suggest[ing] an added value to self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous as surrogate communities.”[34]

    Some psychologists advocate a positive psychology, and explicitly embrace an empirical self-help philosophy; “the role of positive psychology is to become a bridge between the ivory tower and the main street—between the rigor of academe and the fun of the self-help movement.”[35] They aim to refine the self-improvement field by way of an intentional increase in scientifically sound research and well-engineered models. The division of focus and methodologies has produced several subfields, in particular: general positive psychology, focusing primarily on the study of psychological phenomenon and effects; and personal effectiveness, focusing primarily on analysis, design and implementation of qualitative personal growth. This includes the intentional training of new patterns of thought and feeling. As business strategy communicator Don Tapscott puts it, “The design industry is something done to us. I’m proposing we each become designers. But I suppose ‘I love the way she thinks’ could take on new meaning.”[36]

    Both self-talk, the propensity to engage in verbal or mental self-directed conversation and thought, and social support can be used as instruments of self-improvement, often by empowering, action-promoting messages. Psychologists have designed series of experiments that are intended to shed light into how self-talk can result in self-improvement. In general, research has shown that people prefer to use second person pronouns over first person pronouns when engaging in self-talk to achieve goals, regulate one’s own behavior, thoughts, or emotions, and facilitate performance.[37] If self-talk has the expected effect, then writing about personal problems using language from their friends’ perspective should result in greater amount of motivational and emotional benefits comparing to using language from their own perspective. When you need to finish a difficult task and you are not willing to do something to finish this task, trying to write a few sentence or goals imaging what your friends have told you gives you more motivational resources comparing to you write to yourself. Research done by Ireland and others have revealed that, as expected, when people are writing using many physical and mental words or even typing a standard prompt with these kinds of words, adopting a friend’s perspective while freely writing about a personal challenge can help increase people’s intention to improve self-control by promoting the positivity of emotions such as pride and satisfaction, which can motivate people to reach their goal.[38]

    The use of self-talk goes beyond the scope of self-improvement for performing certain activities, self-talk as a linguistic form of self-help also plays a very important role in regulating people’s emotions under social stress. First of all, people using non-first-person language tend to exhibit higher level of visual self-distancing during the process of introspection, indicating that using non-first-person pronouns and one’s own name may result in enhanced self-distancing.[39][40] More importantly, this specific form of self-help also has been found can enhance people’s ability to regulate their thoughts, feelings, and behavior under social stress, which would lead them to appraise social-anxiety-provoking events in more challenging and less threatening terms. Additionally, these self-help behaviors also demonstrate noticeable self-regulatory effects through the process of social interactions, regardless of their dispositional vulnerability to social anxiety.[40]


    Scholars have targeted self-help claims as misleading and incorrect. In 2005 Steve Salerno portrayed the American self-help movement—he uses the acronym SHAM: the Self-Help and Actualization Movement—not only as ineffective in achieving its goals, but also as socially harmful.[3] “Salerno says that 80 percent of self-help and motivational customers are repeat customers and they keep coming back ‘whether the program worked for them or not’.”[41] Others similarly point out that with self-help books “supply increases the demand… The more people read them, the more they think they need them… more like an addiction than an alliance.”[42]

    Self-help writers have been described as working “in the area of the ideological, the imagined, the narrativized…. although a veneer of scientism permeates the[ir] work, there is also an underlying armature of moralizing.”[43]

    Christopher Buckley in his book God is My Broker asserts: “The only way to get rich from a self-help book is to write one”.[44]

    In 1987 Gerald M. Rosen reported that people do not gain as much from reading self-help material as people would from the same material received in therapy. In general, he was critical of proliferation of self-help books.[45]

    In the media[edit]

    Kathryn Schulz suggests that “the underlying theory of the self-help industry is contradicted by the self-help industry’s existence”.[46]

    Parodies and fictional analogies[edit]

    The self-help world has become the target of parodies. Walker Percy‘s odd genre-busting Lost in the Cosmos[47] has been described as “a parody of self-help books, a philosophy textbook, and a collection of short stories, quizzes, diagrams, thought experiments, mathematical formulas, made-up dialogue”.[48] In their 2006 book Secrets of The Superoptimist, authors W.R. Morton and Nathanel Whitten revealed the concept of “superoptimism” as a humorous antidote to the overblown self-help book category. In his comedy special Complaints and Grievances (2001), George Carlin observes that there is “no such thing” as self-help: anyone looking for help from someone else does not technically get “self” help; and one who accomplishes something without help, did not need help to begin with.[49] In Margaret Atwood‘s semi-satiric dystopia Oryx and Crake, university literary studies have declined to the point that the protagonist, Snowman, is instructed to write his thesis on self-help books as literature; more revealing of the authors and of the society that produced them than genuinely helpful.

    See also[edit]


  • ^ a b c APA Dictionary of Physicology, 1st ed., Gary R. VandenBos, ed., Washington: American Psychological Association, 2007.
  • ^ Micki McGee. Self-Help, Inc.: Makeover culture in American Life (Oxford 2005) p. 188.
  • ^ a b Steve Salerno (2005) Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless, .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}ISBN 1-4000-5409-5 pp. 24–25
  • ^
    John Boardman et al eds., The Oxford History of the Classical World (Oxford 1991), p. 94
  • ^ Boardman, p. 371
  • ^
    The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition, 1989) traces legal usage back to at least 1875; whereas it detects “self-help” as a moral virtue as early as 1831 in Carlyle‘s Sartor Resartus.
  • ^ John Van Wyhe, Phrenology and the Origins of Victorian Scientific Naturalism (2004) p. 189
  • ^ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation (1841) p. 22 Essays
  • ^ Steven Starker, Oracle at the Supermarket (2002) p. 63
  • ^ O’Neil, William J. (2003). Business Leaders & Success: 55 Top Business Leaders & How They Achieved Greatness. McGraw-Hill Professional. pp. 35–36. ISBN 0-07-142680-9
  • ^ Starker, Steven (2002). Oracle at the Supermarket: The American Preoccupation With Self-Help Books. Transaction Publishers. p. 62. ISBN 0-7658-0964-8
  • ^ McGee, p. 12
  • ^ Elizabeth Deeds Ermath, Sequel to History (Princeton 1992) p. 58
  • ^ McGee, p. 177
  • ^
    Mcgee, p. 97
  • ^ McGee, p. 22–3
  • ^
    Coon, Dennis (2004). Psychology: A Journey. Thomson Wadsworth. pp. 520, 528, 538. ISBN 978-0-534-63264-9. … programs that claim to increase self-awareness and facilitate constructive personal change.
  • ^ McGee, pp. 160–2
  • ^ “Johnny Ward’s alternative guide to finding the Grand National winner”. Racing UK. Racing UK. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  • ^
    Micki McGee, Self-Help, Inc.: Makeover Culture in American Life (Oxford 2005) p. 11
  • ^
    “Self-Improvement Market in U.S. Worth $9.6 Billion” (Press release). PRWeb. September 21, 2006. Archived from the original on April 21, 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-18. Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., a leading independent market research publisher, has released a new 321-page market study entitled: The U.S. Market For Self-Improvement Products & Services.
  • ^
    Vanderkam, Laura (Autumn 2012). “The Paperback Quest for Joy: America’s unique love affair with self-help books”. City Journal. New York: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Retrieved 2013-01-02. Today, more than 45,000 self-help titles are in print, and the self-improvement industry does $12 billion worth of business each year.
  • ^
    Schulz, Kathryn (2013-01-06). “The Self in Self-Help: We have no idea what a self is. So how can we fix it?”. New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved 2013-01-11. We have, however, developed an $11 billion industry dedicated to telling us how to improve our lives.
  • ^ Lloyd, R (2007). “Modeling community-based, self-help mental health rehabilitation”. Australasian Psychiatry : Bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. 15 Suppl 1: S99–103. doi:10.1080/10398560701701296. PMID 18027146.
  • ^ Lennard J. Davis (2008). Obsession: A History. London. p. 171. ISBN 9780226137797.
  • ^ McGee, p. 195 and 245
  • ^ Eliot R. Smith/Diane M. Mackie, Social Psychology (Hove 2007) p. 264
  • ^ Smith/Mackie, p. 265
  • ^ John O’Neill, Sociology as a Skin Trade (London 1972) p. 6
  • ^ O’Neill, p. 7
  • ^ McGee, p. 229
  • ^ Nicholas Bakalar 2006, in Davis, p. 178-9
  • ^ Eric Berne, A Layman’s Guide to Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis(Penguin 1976) p. 294
  • ^ Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence (London 1996) p. 178
  • ^ Tal Ben-Shachar, “Giving Positive Psychology Away” in C. R. Snyder et al, Positive Psychology (Sage 2010) p. 503
  • ^ Edge.org question center: Scientific concepts and cognitive toolkits, page 7
  • ^ Gammage, K. L., Hardy, J., & Hall, C. G. (2001). A description of self-talk in exercise. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 2, 233–247
  • ^ Ireland et al. (2014). A Friend to Myself: Thinking of a Friend in Self-Talk Strengthens Intentions to Improve Self-Control. Manuscript under review.
  • ^ Mischowski, D., Kross, E., & Bushman, B. (2012). Flies on the wall are less aggressive: The effect of self-distancing on aggressive affect, cognition, and behavior. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 1187–1191. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2012.03.012
  • ^ a b Kross, E., Bruehlman-Senecal, E., Park, J., Burson, A., Dougherty, A., Shablack, H., & Ayduk, O. (2014). Self-talk as a regulatory mechanism: How you do it matters. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(2), 304
  • ^ Vicki Kunkel, Instant Appeal (2009) p. 94
  • ^ R. J. McAllister, Emotion: Mystery or Madness? (2007) pp. 156–7
  • ^ Davis, p. 173
  • ^ Buckley, C (1998). God Is My Broker, A Monk-Tycoon Reveals the 7 1/2 Laws of Spiritual and Financial Growth. Random House. pp. Page 185. ISBN 978-0-06-097761-0.
  • ^ G. Rosen, “Self-help treatment books and the commercialization of psychotherapy”, American Psychologist, vol. 42, no. 1, 1987, 46-51
  • ^
    Schulz, Kathryn (2013-01-06). “The Self in Self-Help: We have no idea what a self is. So how can we fix it?”. New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved 2013-01-11. […] the underlying theory of the self-help industry is contradicted by the self-help industry’s existence.
  • ^ Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book. New York: Farrar, Straus, 1983.
  • ^
    Walker Percy’s Weirdest Book
  • ^ Carlin, George (2001-11-17). Complaints and Grievances (DVD). Atlantic Records.
  • External links[edit]





    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-help

    16. March 2019 by Taiwo Talabi
    Categories: Self Help | Leave a comment

    List of self-help organizations

    This is a list of self-help organizations.


    Twelve-step programs[edit]

    Recovery programs using Alcoholics Anonymous’ twelve steps and twelve traditions either in their original form or by changing only the alcohol-specific references:

    Non-Twelve-Step recovery programs[edit]

    Other programs (not recovery oriented)[edit]

    See also[edit]

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_self-help_organizations

    15. March 2019 by Taiwo Talabi
    Categories: Self Help | Leave a comment

    Self-Help Books

    Based on a reading of more than three hundred self-help books, Sandra K. Dolby examines this remarkably popular genre to define “self-help” in a way that’s compelling to academics and lay readers alike. Self-Help Books also offers an interpretation of why these books are so popular, arguing that they continue the well-established American penchant for self-education, they articulate problems of daily life and their supposed solutions, and that they present their content in a form and style that is accessible rather than arcane. Using tools associated with folklore studies, Dolby then examines how the genre makes use of stories, aphorisms, and a worldview that is at once traditional and contemporary. The overarching premise of the study is that self-help books, much like fairy tales, take traditional materials, especially stories and ideas, and recast them into extended essays that people happily read, think about, try to apply, and then set aside when a new embodiment of the genre comes along.

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    15. March 2019 by Taiwo Talabi
    Categories: Self Help | Leave a comment

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