Tuesday, January 8, 2013

America's Self-Help Quest

Self-help is certainly more noble than the dreaded Cult of Self-Esteem.

Personally, I can't stand self-help books and gurus. I hate the whole genre.


However, I didn't know until I read this book that self-help was initially meant to inspire men to industry, to productivity in a capitalistic nature. So I like the concept MUCH better now.

This is a great essay from City Journal-The Paperback Quest for Joy.

Do read it all.

This is a nice nugget:

"While it has a long history as a legal term, “self-help” was first used in the context of personal development in Samuel Smiles’s 1859 book of that name. Smiles, a Scottish author, urged readers to imitate self-made men of industry."

The spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the individual,” he wrote. In societies where “men are subjected to over-guidance and over-government,” by contrast, “the inevitable tendency is to render them helpless.”

"Believing in his own message, Smiles self-published the book after a conventional publisher rejected it. It sold a quarter of a million copies."