Self-Help Books: Why Americans Keep Reading Them

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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, they articulate problems of ...

Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: University of Illinois Press (May 16, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0252029747
ISBN-13: 978-0252029745
Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
Amazon Rank: 1026476
Format: PDF ePub Text djvu ebook

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Sandra K. Dolby (born 1946) is a professor in Indiana University's Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and the American Studies Program. She wrote in the Preface of this 2005 book, "In the pages that follow, I shall offer some conclusions that...

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and their supposed solutions, and that they present their content in a form and style that is accessible rather than arcane. Using tools 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. Sandra K. Dolby, professor of folklore and American studies at Indiana University, is the author of "Literary Folkloristics and the Personal Narrative".