Self-Help Nation: The Long Overdue, Entirely Justified, Delightfully Hostile Guide to the Snake-Oil Peddlers Who Are Sapping Our Nation's Soul

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9780871137777: Self-Help Nation: The Long Overdue, Entirely Justified, Delightfully Hostile Guide to the Snake-Oil Peddlers Who Are Sapping Our Nation's Soul
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An entertaining, acerbic look at the self-help industry in America and the culture that supports it describes Americans' fascination with and addiction to self-help books; examines the self-absorption, media irresponsibility, celebrity fascination, and other cultural afflictions that cause it; and calls for a return to the American value of self-reliance.

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From Publishers Weekly:

"She's a moralist, a stiff spine, a hanging judge, a smell fungus, a censor, a hall monitor and naturally... [s]he is also largely popular and wealthy. I'll get to hypocritical in a moment," writes Tiede of Dr. Laura Schlessinger. But the good doctor should not feel slighted; Christ himself doesn't come off much better in this mordantly funny attack on sanctimonious advice givers. Taking the view that most people are better off thinking honestly and logically about their own desires, Tiede--a nationally syndicated columnist and recipient of the Ernie Pyle award--massacres self-help books for their quick fixes and, he says, dumbed-down psychology and theology. In his view, they're unnecessary, untrustworthy and even harmful. Along with Dr. Laura and Jesus, Tiede goes after Norman Vincent Peale ("He was the one [at Calgary] wearing bells on his hat, telling everyone to be happy"), M. Scott Peck, Barbara Kessling (Talk Sexy to the One You Love), Elaine Emeth & Dr. Janet Greenhut (Care of Body, Mind and Spirit for Optimal Health) and Paul Harris (Direct Your Subconscious and Drive to Success). Tiede has a pragmatic, no-nonsense approach to life and does not suffer fools gladly. He can be deeply moving, as when he talks about his experiences with disabled servicemen in Vietnam, or starkly terrifying, as when discussing torture in Uganda. His views are not going to be accepted by everyone--he recommends smoking pot--and his rhetoric, while often hilarious, is so strong that it's sure to be ignored by those who might need it most: addicts of self-help.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Dismayed by the chronic dominance of bestseller lists by self-help books? Then welcome Tiede's as a breath of jocose cynicism. Perplexed about how humanity managed to survive in the pre-self-help era, an epoch that stretches back from Norman Vincent Peale to roughly the beginning of time, Tiede contrasts the self-reliant, think-for-yourself attitudes of yore with the placebo-palliatives to personal problems proclaimed by contemporary paperback advisors. Tiede has actually read the scrivenings of the late yet presumably still-hugging Leo Buscaglia; the salesman of eternal good health from New Delhi, Deepak Chopra; and dozens of their psychology-dispensing ilk. Tiede's acidic commentary about the platitude-purveying banality of such authors matches his amazement at the public's gullibility in buying the books. Dieting books, for example, are the book industry's license to print money, though none dare state the duh-solution to obesity: eat less. Tiede's tirade won't dent the sales of self-helpings in spirituality, relationships, or careers, but to the rest of us, who never want to take a step down The Road Less Traveled, his is a devilishly delicious diatribe. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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