Self Help, Inc.: Makeover Culture in American Life

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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.