Promise Land

My Journey Through America’s Self-Help Culture

by Jessica Lamb-Shapiro

I used to be an aficionado of self-help books. Working in a bookstore put all of them at my fingertips and I looked to them to make my life better. Needless to say, they didn’t change my life completely, but I have picked up wisdom along the way that I find useful.

Lamb-Shapiro takes on America’s “pull yourself up by your bootstrap” culture by exploring some of the most popular books and seminars out there. Having grown up with a child psychologist father meant that she was already well-versed on the subject, but she wanted to go deeper and see what people are spending so much money on and why. Do these books, retreats, and seminars make us happier, improve our relationships, and increase our (self) worth? What comes to light as she makes this journey is that while her father has made a career of helping people discuss their feelings and trauma, the two of them have never broached the subject of her mother’s death when Lamb-Shapiro was a toddler.

I really enjoyed her foray into the world of self-help, especially The Rules seminar (which was hilarious), and I also liked being a voyeur into the healing of the author’s own experience.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this e-book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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