Self Help: Products that Motivate

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  • Topic: Self-help, Self-help book, Self-help books
  • Pages : 6 (2367 words )
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  • Published : May 1, 2013
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Kyle Tran
Professor Ali
Writing 1
4/27/11
The Growth of the Self-Help “Banking, autos, publishing, retail, and manufacturing – the recession has hammered them all. But there is on squishy sector that just keeps on growing; the self-help industry,” according to Melanie Linder, an author for Forbes. It was in 1859 that Samuel Smiles, a Scottish social reformer and campaigner for universal suffrage, published his most famous seminal work, Self-help. With its opening “Heaven helps those who help themselves,” it became an instant phenomenon, exceeding the sales of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and selling a quarter million. Smiles advanced the principle that wealth was not a matter of will but of responsibility and hard work. He reinforced the idea that power lied in the hands of the beholder and certain goals can be achieved through changing. Following in Smile’s footsteps came many imitators in the practice of self-help; from Dale Carnegie and his massive seller, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” to Rhonda Byrne and her popular work, “The Secret.” And that is how the industry began to grow. Today, the self-help business is a multi-billion dollar industry marketed and promoted to target groups of individuals who have the desire to self-improve. Self-help is a growing movement empowering both men and women take charge of their lives and make a change. The self-help products have pushed its way into millions of lives suffering from insecurity and conformity. A recent study by Marketdata Enterprise, an independent base research firm, indicated that Americans spent $11 billion in 2008 on self-improvement books, CDs, seminars, coaching and stress-management programs, about 13.6% more than they did back in 2005, and it expected to have a 6.2% annual growth through 2012. Recent research by the American Writers and Artists Inc. (AWAI) found that there are over 150,000 titles in the self-help category on Amazon, and they suggested that the self-help industry will grow steadily every year. Because there are no entry requirements to write a self-help book – no credentials needed, no peer-review, no need for evidence to support claim- thousands of new self-help books are published each year (Generally Thinking). Since self-help products often focus on psychological issues, covering personal growth, relationship, coping, and identity, it has been gaining mass popularity throughout America. Stores offer remedies promising improve energy, faster metabolism, shinier hair, and calmer disposition, while magazines and television shows offer advices on everything from health to wealth, to a better sex life. The self-help industry has continued to exponentially grow by selling self-help products, claimed to produce personal development, despite the fact that many have criticized the self-help industry as a scam that profits from the consumers it deceives. The self-help industry has been making billions of dollars off the products that it presents to people with the promise of delivering the recipes to success and self-improvement. Steve Salerno, the author of “Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless”, stated that the self-help industry is filled with “experts” with little credentials looking to make quick cash on a people who deny personal responsibility and seek a quick way out of life’s issues. They tend to attract and make money off populated groups of gullible and self-proclaimed victims. Salerno suggested that the self-help “gurus” are not selling their readers the features, but they are selling them the image. “Whatever they think you’re deficient in, they’re selling the “solution” to it” according to Salerno. People are drawn to the ideas that come from the self-help gurus, perceived as authoritative, and the ideas that there is an easy trick that would make their life better and easier. The reason self-help products sell millions of copies is...
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