[[ READ E-PUB ]] ☠ Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless ✘ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free
To be honest I don t think there s been any profession that has wreaked damage on the culture than psychology John Rosemond, quoted in SHAM Ouch.In this book, Steve Salerno takes on what he calls SHAM the Self Help and Actualization Movement As you can see from his chosen acronym, he s not a fan In fact, parts of the book read like an angry diatribe with ad hominem attacks Her doctoral dissertation was titled Effects of Insulin on 3 0 Methylglucose Transport in Isolated Rat Adipocytes, carps Salerno about Dr Laura, In other words, the usual background for relationship counselors Salerno also reveals Dr Phil s reaction when his first wife confronted him about his alleged adultery not a denial, but his famous Get real John Gray was also married than once, and his Ph.D., you know, is highly questionable And Salerno just loves pointing out, at every opportunity, how much money these people make dollar amounts are frequently provided But to be fair, Salerno s attacks on the self help gurus are not only personal He points out, correctly, that many of them use circular language, endorse dubious products, and abuse their power in damaging ways Salerno casts his SHAM net quite wide, extending his reach to athletes and gangsters turned motivational speakers, twelve step programs, life coaching, alternative medicine, and self esteem curricula in the public schools Unfortunately, he does not address parenting books I d love to hear his thoughts on THOSE or books on improving your household management skills I don t care what you say, Steve, FLYlady changed my life , which I believe are just as prominent within the self help genre and arguably legitimate His argument, then, is perhaps a bit one sided than necessary.Salerno divides self help into two categories According to the first, victimization, you are not responsible for what you do your behavior is determined by childhood traumas, societal factors, and or the disease that is addictive behavior In contrast, according to the empowerment school of thought, you can achieve anything you want to achieve if you simply try hard enough success is a function of desire and or commitment Thus, when the self help books or gurus fail to achieve the desired results, it s either because you re a victim of your dysfunctions or you didn t try hard enough The possibility that the self help book or guru was inadequate is neatly eliminated And Salerno shows us, rightly, that neither of these attitudes is a particularly healthy or efficacious way to go through life.Salerno blames SHAM for all kinds of societal ills although he acknowledges that SHAM is probably one factor of many , including the elevated divorce rate, increased selfishness sure beats co dependence , declining academic performance, an unrealistic belief that wanting to succeed is the main prerequisite for success, unwillingness to take responsibility for one s actions, punishing masculine behavior and rewarding feminine behavior for both boys and girls, etc., etc His arguments are interesting, if imperfect, especially when it comes to cause and effect After all, is SHAM the problem or the symptom Is it SHAM that s causing this mess, or is it people s gullibility Or their desperation And if they re desperate, why Is SHAM to blame for that too It s difficult to tell exactly where Salerno stands when it comes to psychotherapy On the one hand, he seems to acknowledge the usefulness of credentialed therapists when it comes to recognized mental health disorders Salerno emphasizes the danger of people s relying on dubious SHAM artists when serious mental health assistance is what s needed On the other hand, much of what he says might be applied to therapy, at least in some cases And the quote with which I began this review says it all, doesn t it I do recommend this book it s readable and interesting, and quite provocative Salerno sometimes overstates his case, but all in all, he gives you a lot to think about.
[[ READ E-PUB ]] ⇩ Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless ☟ Self help To millions of Americans it seems like a godsend To many others it seems like a joke But as investigative reporter Steve Salerno reveals in this groundbreaking book, it s neither in fact it s much worse than a joke Going deep inside the Self Help and Actualization Movement fittingly, the words form the acronym SHAM , Salerno offers the first serious expos of this multibillion dollar industry and the real damage it is doing not just to its paying customers, but to all of American society 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, andAnd 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 doharm 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 From the Hardcover edition. The premise is interesting, and he takes it in some intriguing directions But his research and level of discussion is every bit as bad as those he purports to be exposing Conflates correlation with causation on a regular basis, makes sweeping generalizations based on little to no evidence, etc.Also surprisingly axe grind y about feminism, for a book that is not about feminism Feminism shows up 8 times in the book, and always as the bad guy.I m sure Salerno doesn t actually hate women and the feminist movement But it sure comes off that way. Steve Salerno needs to be commended for gathering such a vast amount of material for this book.The part I personally like the most was the one about the self esteem movement in America s schools As someone, who attended Austria s discriminating tier school system at a time when it was considered to be the 8th best school system in the world, and also the mother of two American children, who attended American schools, I have thrown quite a few temper tantrum about the American school system While, in 12th grade, I myself translated Pliny the Elder s work from the original 7 errors in a translation of 300 words earned barely a D , 8 error earned an F my children talked about traditional garbs in Ancient Rome really Even though Latin was not my favorite subject I was outraged at how the supposedly excellent school did not offer a rigorous curriculum.Quite fabulously, Salerno offers Chicago teacher Mrs Daugherty s story Believing that she was cursed with a class of 6h grade students with learning disabilities, Mrs Daugherty looks into her students files to check their IQ scores while the principal is off premises She discovers that most of her students IQ scores are 120 , near genius level She therefore concludes that it is her fault that the students aren t learning and imposes a rigorous curriculum, topped with vast amounts of homework and strict punishment for misbehavior and engineers a 180 degree turnout That surprises even the principal When he asks Mr Daugherty how she managed to do this, Mr Daugherty confesses that she looked up the IQ levels and then adjusted her teaching method accordingly quoting from SHAM Oh, by the way, he whispered as she turned around to retreat to her classroom, I think you should know those numbers next to the kids names It s not their IQ scores It s their locker numbers It s a brilliant story which illustrates the whole problem Originally Mrs Daugherty follows the adopted system of high expectations will automatically destroy the children s self worth Only when Mrs Daugherty believes incorrectly that she herself destroys these gifted kid s futures she imposes the toughest rules on regular children and not surprisingly succeeds.Sadly, Salerno does not really analyze Mrs Daugherty s psychological state of mind then again maybe it is s not known At least to me it seems quite possible that Mrs Daugherty too was a victim of SHAM and therefore acted the way she did.As for the rest of the book Basically, the author makes the case that with all these vast amounts of money poured into self help our society should see results, yet it doesn t, but instead we see a society depended on self help, which may not lead to anything.While I agree with many parts of this book, I do not agree with its portrayal of Oprah Winfrey Also, while I believe that Tony Robbins can be found guilty of writing extremely long winded and boring books, which lead to people buying his action loaded and much expensive seminars, nobody wants having to work reading through Mr Robbins ridiculously boring books but plenty of youtube videos suggest that Mr Robbins seminars are lots of fun I do not believe that all people Salerno names in his book are in the same group of SHAM artists, which takes away from the book.Still, the worst problem of the book is What s the solution Pointing out major flaws of a system is good but it should be complimented by a solution If SHAM functions like a drug for its users as Mr Salerno kind of suggests wouldn t a different powerful system be needed to wean off SHAM users Maybe Mr Salerno will write a 2nd book describing alternatives.Gisela Hausmann, author blogger Rarely does a book get me so worked up I get out of bed and turn my computer on just to get my thoughts out.Let s start with the star review I gave it two, although I feel it was much deserving of one, I added it at the end of the day because he still might of successfully pulled me away from Self Help books and gurus It seems only fair.Salerno in the course of this book jumps from providing evidence to back up his points, to wildly going off on school reform, the breakdown of the nuclear family, and even political atmosphere with barely a strand of thought connecting his main argument to his current topic Sure, with the subtext of the title being How the Self Help Movement Made America Helpless you should expect big picture conclusions However, he rarely IF EVER explains how SHAM directly influences these statistics relenting on multiple occasions how he could never realistically quantify the damage At its core Sham is a scathing series of diatribes some well argued and resources cited against everything that victimization and empowerment encapsulate and have, as he has concluded, tainted with its message In many places throughout the book I found myself agreeing with him In others I exclaimed out loud Oh what the actual f k because I was in such disbelief that he could come to such outlandish conclusions This book has some value simply because its a dissenting voice in sea of stronger nearly screaming voices, which is good, and frankly I d like to see someone even keeled bust down and argue against the Self Help types Although Mr Salerno did nothing to convince me that the likes of Dr Phil and Tony Robbins are ruining the nation as a whole although I ve met a few people they ve undermined , I am far cautious of the industry and the messages that they sell I figure that this is at least a partial victory for Salerno, even though the admission comes begrudgingly due to his at times completely unnecessary alarmist tone.In conclusion, this is a book that I wanted to love but clearly hated due to the author s inability to back up his claims with any legitimate proof, just as many other reviewers have stated CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION and that is one of this book s worst offenses To be honest he had a few great arguments and points I agreed with, even if it was on a basic and possibly unfounded level confirmation bias is a powerful thing Like I said at the beginning of the review, rarely does a book leave me this conflicted upon conclusion. Mr Salerno makes a good argument against almost all of the self help movements and especially those who make themselves millionaires promoting nonsense A lot were obvious, easy targets, but there were a lot of surprises, too Who would have guessed AA s published numbers could be interpreted as meaning you re better off quitting on your own than joining AA He also gets into a lot of side topics that aren t so obviously self help, such as alternative medicine and the self esteem movement I found it a very interesting read I fear that those who most need to read and think about these topics won t read or think about it. This may be unnecessarily hostile but should be essential reading for anyone who has ever read a self help book It s important to realize that self help publishing is an industry with the same motives for self perpetuation as any other industry. Very good points, not argued that well. This is a book with a title and premise designed to bias me toward liking it The author did sufficiently repellent enough a job as to make me overall dislike it, in spite of agreeing with a lot if it I understand the other reviews that say the author makes good points but sucks at arguing them.Now, a lot could be that this book is ten years old Many things have changed Life coaches don t seem to have expanded much The disease theory is still strong beyond its merits in some areas, but not as big as it was and not growing Megachurches and social media would get coverage in a modern book on the subject.But the author writes as if the book is ten years older than it is He obsessively scolds the youth of America for narcissism, laments the feminization of the country, goes on heavily emotional rants about the good ol days and how crime is rampant and no responsibility and GET OFF MY LAWN Jesus.I hate the self help movement as much as the author does, but I don t see reactionary bullshit as any better Crotchety rants are fun from time to time, but let s not mistake them for logic or research.Hell, half the folks I see who embrace all this positive thinking and prosperity faith and lament about codependence also treat us Facebook friends to an army of memes about how kids these days are awful The two thought processes are cousins, forms of lazy thought.All about comforting beliefs to make yourself feel good.At his best, the author does a good job tearing down the self help philosophies At his worse, he supplies us with gossipy attacks on the leaders The low point for me is when he in one line chastises Suze Ormond for not being married.Seriously He also has a big axe to grind for self esteem, bringing out all the popular arguments school reformers use to get us to panic and not think about their prescriptions, only making an even worse and unfounded argument it s because we focus on self esteem instead of math The author is not above using spurious correlations lots of problems attributed to single parent households, despite research showing that, when held constant, it s all about poverty and those studies were available when this book was written He also loves to pull out a bunch of there is no evidence but I bet it s true kind of arguments.In the end, it s because he wasn t content in writing an expose of the self help movement as the delusional religion it is, its harm mostly the way it acts as a bandaid for real problems that need real fixes, and the way it props up a just world hypothesis and promotes callous, selfish thinking and behavior.Nope.He needs to tie it to all his pet peeves about society And he needs to make it sound causal.As a bigtime hater of the industry, I would never give it so much credit.And I cringe at how its most insidious evils are largely ignored, or at least not given much time, by the author The author seems quite okay with bashing the people for whom victimization appeals, not so concerned with their wellbeing.I ve read two other books recent that debunk the 12 step method, but those books also provide alternatives or other ways of approaching the problem, scientific and compassionate ways.The author seems to promote a kind of man up philosophy which is only separated from Dr Phil in the type of cynicism involved The author seems to care about rescuing chivalry and romance, masculinity, and idealized 60s culture than anything else He is promoting just another bullshit philosophy.ADDENDUM There is a lot wrong with this book That s the only way to explain why I gave only two stars to a book that shares my rage.I forgot to mention a few things about this book that add to its lack of credibility.First, there is way too much of a personal focus in some of the chapters To my way of thinking, whether Dr Laura is a hypocrite and a terrible person she is is largely irrelevant to the horror of her industry And the author is way too obsessive about her nude picture I m guessing the book was published around the time of that fiasco.Second, the choice of sources is often questionable There is no reason to believe Dr Phil s ex is a liar, but there is also no way in hell her testimony should be taken as objective And yet, this seems to be the big zinger at the end of the Dr Phil chapter.The first two sources quoted are obviously the work of rightwing ideologues He keeps returning to one of the writers, using her as an expert and quoting her on a lot of questionable things Many of the experts quoted are speaking strictly in opinion, often not related to expertise and often baldly political There is a lot from a blowhard whose whole schtick is the end of fatherhood Mostly the experts are cherrypicked to build up to the end of Western culture vibe the author is trying to give It has the weaknesses of Penn and Teller s Bullshit cherrypicked experts, a la carte focus on any subject if it helps to make the point that X is evil, Y is good and none of the strengths humor, entertainment, likability.And, yes, the big problem is that the author is stuck on trying to show a Big Problem.That is unnecessary The self help movement is a bad philosophy and an opportunistic model It is bad on its own without madeup problems and anachronistic moral hand wringing It can be exposed by simple analysis of its precepts It is bad for how it cheats those desperate enough to trust it.The author just seems to not think all that is good enough, and he only barely looks into the idea that maybe the self help movement exists to fill a niche He simplifies the causes to people being desperate enough to believe anything That is a big part of it, but only the tip of the iceberg.I hope someone else writes a book on this topic at some point. Steve Salerno writes a blistering accusatory book about the self help and actualization movement ironically nicknamed SHAM but his arguments sometimes fall flat I kept thinking, Yes, but as I was reading through this book, and in the interest of full disclosure I am not a fan of the movement, but I have read some of Dr Laura s books Ten Stupid Things and Suze Orman s books as well Salerno does follow the money in some instances and hits pay dirt One example is that of the Hooked on Phonics series, which is promoted by Dr Laura Schlessinger Turns out that it was created by one of the partners in the company that also owns Dr Laura s show So the individuals at the forefront of the SHAM movement aren t so much about helping individuals as they are about satisfying their corporate masters.Salerno avoids actual claims of causation, which would require solid proof and instead relies on connections between cause and effect Coincidences are sometimes just that coincidences, and there s no real evidence to connect one thing to another But Salerno does this throughout the book, and this weakens his argument considerably.He also castigates some of the biggest personalities in the SHAM movement including Dr Laura, Dr Phil, Tony Robbins, et al, but instead of showing how their advice harms instead of helps, he resorts to ad hominem argumentation, which proves nothing He might not personally like these people, but that has nothing to do with whether or not they are qualified to counsel people or give advice I was surprised to learn that both John Gray Mars and Venus and Barbara DeAngelis, who have both written books about relationships, have doctorates from a nonaccredited university I agree that the SHAM industry is out of control every week it seems that there s a new book telling us how to think, feel, or act Its profits come at the expense of desperate people However, by using faulty logic, his conclusions are easily dismissed Still, for what it s worth, it is a good read.