I expected this book to be a "Cliff Notes" for the big name Self Help Books, I didn't expect it to be so interesting. Not only are books and people I never expected included (the Bible, Ben Franklin, Marcus Aurelius), the historical perspectives and background into the author's lives made this a very accessable jaunt through the Philosophy of the past few millenium.
The author does give you a pretty good overview of the "Essence" of each book, as well as the points of both the critics and fans of the book. I really apreciated the historical insight - I never realized Dale Carnegy's "How to Make Friends and Influence People" was ground breaking for his time. The biographys of the authors are well done too - I'm not big into Louise Hay's "New Age" healing, but I have to admit I have more respect for her after hearing the things she's overcome in her life.
One of the most thought-provoking points of the book was in the introduction. Yes, it seems like we're swamped with self-help books these days - but the author points out that we're also facing a dizzying array of options and freedom that our ancestors never imagined. There's no shame in taking advantage of as much self-help as we can get...
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