Sham : How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless
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 worries.
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
- Paperback | 288 pages
- 133 x 203 x 17mm | 244g
- 26 Sep 2006
- Random House USA Inc
- Random House Inc
- New York, United States
"In an age of self-help, why are so many Americans helpless? Why do so many self-help gurus, from Dr. Phil on down, create followers rather than independent souls? Steve Salerno exposes the SHAM with ruthless honesty destined to make more than a few people angry." --Dr. Michael Hurd, author of Effective Therapy and Grow Up America!
About Steve Salerno