So I recently read a laughable article on the self help industry, and whether or not it’s a sham and scam.
The author was suggesting that The Self Help & Actualization movement – personal development books, audios, etc. are nothing more than a clever program to hook people into buying books and tapes… not doing anything about really changing… then buying more books and tapes.
As an author myself, of Master The Day, I think he missed a few key points.
The Self Help & Wellness Industry is Full of Crap… Or Is It?
The last paragraph closed as the following:
Do these programs work? No one knows. According to Salerno, no scientific evidence indicates that any of the countless SHAM techniques–from fire walking to 12-stepping–works better than doing something else or even doing nothing. The law of large numbers means that given the millions of people who have tried SHAMs, inevitably some will improve. As with alternative-medicine nostrums, the body naturally heals itself and whatever the patient was doing to help gets the credit.
Lol – this guy is acting like he just divulged some centuries-old secret. What a joke.
That’s like saying, “Here you go Jimmy – here are your blood pressure meds,” and then even when the guy doesn’t take them, claiming that the medicine doesn’t work.
That’s like saying reading books is a scam.
“Hah! Told you, you idiot! Look at all these books you’ve read and look how crappy your life still is.”
I don’t know diddly squat about fire walking or 12-stepping, but I think there are some damn obvious things no one is mentioning here.
#1 – Nobody Can Help You But Yourself – Silver Bullet Syndrome
A big concept that I talked about in my book Master The Day is the idea of “silverbullet syndrome.”
The weight loss industry in particular is one of the worst – maybe after the “manifesting” industry. Every year, there’s a new book, diet guru, or pill that promises to give us the missing piece to the puzzle, the one we’ve been missing for so long.
Whether it’s some kind of cleanse or detox, or whether it’s some new pill derived from a plant found on unicorn poop in the Amazon, or something else – there’s always something new.
And the temptation is for us to think that just over there is the salvation we’ve been seeking. The perfect plan. The perfect pill for us. The perfect approach.
Unfortunately, it’s not true!
It never is. Whether or not we succeed has nothing to do with our gurus, coaches, mentors, something that happened 20 years ago, or anything else.
It’s up to us. Once we stop looking for silver bullets and quick fixes is the moment where real change happens.
#2 – If You Buy A College Degree And Go Into Another Field – Whose Fault is That?
The next thing that came up in the article was the following:
In his recent book Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless (Crown Publishing Group, 2005), he explains how the talks and tapes offer a momentary boost of inspiration that fades after a few weeks, turning buyers into repeat customers. While Salerno was a self-help book editor for Rodale Press (whose motto at the time was “to show people how they can use the power of their bodies and minds to make their lives better”), extensive market surveys revealed that “the most likely customer for a book on any given topic was someone who had bought a similar book within the preceding eighteen months.” The irony of “the eighteen-month rule” for this genre, Salerno says, is this: “If what we sold worked, one would expect lives to improve. One would not expect people to need further help from us–at least not in that same problem area, and certainly not time and time again.”
Unfortunately, Steve missed the mark here too.
He made the assumption that “if what we sold worked [personal development books], one would not expect people to need further help from us… and certainly not time and time again.”
If a doctor gives you a medication and you don’t take it, does the medication not work?
If you frame it like that, it sounds laughable, right?
The unfortunate, painful truth is that succeeding at us getting healthier, fitter, or more successful, really has almost nothing to do with the coach, the book, the pill, the plan, or the medication.
It’S UP TO US.
Wake up people, nobody is going to force me to eat healthier. The amount of intelligent, highly educated people I’ve coached, spoken with, or know personally – who still go on to destroy themselves with food or drink is shocking.
It has nothing to do with intellect or being smart. And fortunately or unfortunately, the ultimate measure of whether or not somebody succeeds is not at all related to how many books they read – but is based upon how much action they take.
#3 – One Insight Can Change Your Life Forever
Here’s another thing to consider.
I’m shocked that people will spend $6 on a book, then leave it a horrible review claiming that it’s “stuff they already knew.”
As someone who reads an insane amount, from personal experience I’ve seen how ONE insight can change the way you live forever.
One book on Mother Theresa can forever make you realize the hardship that the average, poor person in the third world suffers through on a daily basis.
One book on business can bust a myth in your head that “you’re not good for business” and you could never be successful in business.
One book on relationships can be the difference between staying in a relationship or a marriage versus getting divorced or breaking up.
One book on spirituality can finally lock in the commitment to finally start meditating on a daily basis, which can be a complete game changer.
Whether we pick up a personal development book and put it down isn’t the point.
#4 – To Say Personal Development is an Elaborate Scam is Like Saying Books Are a Scam
The other thing this author started claiming was that “roping people into buying multiple books” is all part of this elaborate money making scheme.
As an author, I can share this one with you definitively – making $3-4 per book and trying to sell millions is probably the worst way to get rich.
Why would Tony Robbins try to “con” you into selling a $10 book, when he has a $5,000 seminar?
The reality is simple: if people didn’t enjoy reading them and going to seminars, the seminars would stop filling up, and people would stop reading the books, right?
Am I missing something here?
“There’s No Evidence This Stuff Works…” And Other Full of Crap Ideas
Yes, the self help and dieting industry knows that the average person will struggle to see results, and will continue to buy things.
Yes, we may repeat things over and over, often for decades.
And… who cares?
It’s up to the integrity of the author – if he’s using a book as some kind of pyramid or MLM scheme, then he’s a scam artist and a waste of space.
The truth is, 99% of the knowledge and advice that has changed my life has either come from people (direct conversations) or books.
And the majority of my habits (over 90%) that have made my life dramatically healthier and better have come from other people’s advice and “mentors” in the form of books.
Success always is an individual game.
Thoughts on this?
Have You Read My New Book Yet?
Read more about this in my book Master The Day. You’ll learn the nine daily success habits I learned interviewing people that lost 100+ pounds and kept it off in a healthy way – by changing their habits. Plus, you’ll get a free $100 video course if you show me your receipt.