Sunday, January 28, 2018
#28 / Those Self-Help Strategies
I enjoyed an article by "Critic at Large" Alexandra Schwartz, writing in the January 15, 2018, edition of The New Yorker. Titled, "Improving Ourselves To Death," Schwartz' article deconstructs the "self-help" industry, with its vast literature on personal improvement.
At one point, Schwartz describes the self-help genre as epitomizing "predatory optimism," which seems about right to me.
Schwartz has received a prestigious prize for her accomplishments as a book reviewer, and she names the names, as she ticks off all the various self-help manuals, guides, and works of inspiration that are trying to tell us (if we will only buy them) that they can make our lives so much better:
As you can see, and particularly from the last few titles listed (those "non-expletive-deleted" titles), one of the basic themes for self-improvement that Schwartz identifies from the literature is to make sure you are focused on YOU, with the implicit message being that you shouldn't "give a f*ck" about anyone else.
It is my own observation that everyone does better when we all do better, and that our best route to "self" improvement would be to focus not on the "me," but on the "we."
Let's get together and make some home, community, national, and world improvements.
Maybe I should write a book!