Self Help, Inc.

Self Help, Inc. : Makeover Culture in American Life

3.71 (32 ratings by Goodreads)
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Why doesn't self-help help? Cultural critic Micki McGee puts forward this paradoxical question as she looks at a world where the market for self-improvement products-books, audiotapes, and extreme makeovers-is exploding, and there seems to be no end in sight. Rather than seeing narcissism at the root of the self-help craze, as others have contended, McGee shows a nation relying on self-help culture for advice on how to cope in an increasingly volatile and competitive work world. Self-Help, Inc. reveals how makeover culture traps Americans in endless cycles of self-invention and overwork as they struggle to stay ahead of a rapidly restructuring economic order. A lucid and fascinating treatment of the modern obsession with work and self-improvement, this lively book will strike a chord with its acute diagnosis of the self-help trap and its sharp suggestions for how we can address the alienating conditions of modern work and family more

Product details

  • Paperback | 308 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 20.32mm | 317.51g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 8 line illustrations
  • 0195337263
  • 9780195337266
  • 983,275

Review quote

"McGee has revealed the self-help industry as an obsessional treadmill far more than a path to a better life....Self-Help, Inc. offers a revealing look at the profound dissatisfactions that loiter beneath the topography of our consumer culture."-Stuart Ewen, author of PR!: A Social History of Spin "McGee writes clearly and thoughtfully.... She moves seamlessly from high theory to pop psychobabble, using the former to illustrate the powers of the latter. Overall, she offers a compelling argument for resisting the self-improvement genre's worldview. what comes through most clearly to me is a Marxist critique of consumer capitalism-like Raymond Williams for the 21st century."-Wendy Simonds, American Journal of Sociology "Elegantly written, brilliantly argued, and very important-a must read."-Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of The Time Bind and The Commercialization of Intimate Life "Can reading Self-Help, Inc. make you rich, successful and perpetually happy? No, but it'll entertain you and make you a whole lot smarter about American popular culture and the economic forces that shape it."-Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Bait and Switch and Nickel and Dimedshow more

About Micki McGee

Micki McGee is a sociologist and cultural critic who has taught at New York University, Rutgers University, and The New School for Social Research. The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Blue Mountain Center, she has recently joined the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Fordham more

Table of contents


Rating details

32 ratings
3.71 out of 5 stars
5 28% (9)
4 38% (12)
3 19% (6)
2 9% (3)
1 6% (2)
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