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“A mock self-help book designed not to help but to provoke; a chapbook to inveigle us into thinking about who we are and how we got into this mess.” —Los Angeles Times Book ReviewPublished at the height of the 1980s self-help boom, Lost in the Cosmos is Percy’s unforgettable riff on the trend that swept the nation. Filled with quizzes, essays, short stories, and diagrams, Lost in the Cosmos is a laugh-out-loud spin on a familiar genre that also pushes readers to serious contemplation of life’s biggest questions. One part parody and two parts philosophy, Lost in the Cosmos is an enlightening guide to the dilemmas of human existence, and an unrivaled spin on self-help manuals by one of modern America’s greatest literary masters.
Fiction. Asian & Asian American Studies. Marty Wu, compulsive reader of advice manuals, is easily flustered. She'd like to come across as poised and professional, but she trips over her own feet, spills coffee on her boss, blurts out things she's not supposed to say. The bulk of her brain matter, she decides, consists of gerbils "spinning madly in alternating directions." With a job she longs to quit and a formidable mother who's impossible to please, Marty ricochets between the stress of New York and the warmth of extended family in Taiwan. In a diary brimming with bi-cultural wisecracks, Marty confides her anxieties and frustrations, her pipe dream to open a boutique costume shop, and her discovery of family secrets old and new. "A breezy and charming tale ... Anyone who's grown up immersed in a profoundly rich old-world culture and feels its constant pull will commiserate and be entertained." Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, author of A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family"
Why doesn't self-help help? Cultural critic Micki McGee puts forward this paradoxical question as she looks at a world where the market for self-improvement products--books, audiotapes, and extreme makeovers--is exploding, and there seems to be no end in sight. Rather than seeing narcissism at the root of the self-help craze, as others have contended, McGee shows a nation relying on self-help culture for advice on how to cope in an increasingly volatile and competitive work world. Self-Help, Inc. reveals how makeover culture traps Americans in endless cycles of self-invention and overwork as they struggle to stay ahead of a rapidly restructuring economic order. A lucid and fascinating treatment of the modern obsession with work and self-improvement, this lively book will strike a chord with its acute diagnosis of the self-help trap and its sharp suggestions for how we can address the alienating conditions of modern work and family life.
Based on a reading of more than three hundred self-help books, Sandra K. Dolby examines this remarkably popular genre to define "self-help" in a way that's compelling to academics and lay readers alike. Self-Help Books also offers an interpretation of why these books are so popular, arguing that they continue the well-established American penchant for self-education, articulate problems of daily life and supposed solutions for them, and present their content in an accessible rather than arcane form and style. Using methods associated with folklore studies, Dolby then examines how the genre makes use of stories, aphorisms, and a worldview that is at once traditional and contemporary. The overarching premise of the study is that self-help books, much like fairy tales, take traditional materials, especially stories and ideas, and recast them into extended essays that people happily read, think about, try to apply, and then set aside when a new embodiment of the genre comes along.
This volume constitutes the first solidly research-grounded guide for practitioners wending their way through the new maze of self-help approaches. The Handbook of Self-Help Therapies summarizes the current state of our knowledge about what works and what does not, disorder by disorder and modality by modality. Among the covered topics are: self-regulation theory; anxiety disorders; depression; childhood disorders; eating disorders; sexual dysfunctions; insomnia; problem drinking; smoking cessation; dieting and weight loss. Comprehensive in its scope, this systematic, objective assessment of self-help treatments will be invaluable for practitioners, researchers and students in counseling psychology, psychiatry and social work, health psychology, and behavioral medicine.
Here is new information on the development of international and intercultural research on self-help groups. This book reflects the many developments which have occurred in the field over the past decade, emphasizing empirical research. Self-Help and Mutual Aid Groups provides specific research findings and honed concepts to help health professionals learn more about self-help groups and work effectively with such groups. More countries and ethnic groups are now involved in the self-help movement, and this volume increases knowledge of how different cultures react to and participate in self-help mutual aid and how self-help groups can be adapted to fit different racial or ethnic populations. ...