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Self-Help, Inc.Makeover Culture in American Life$
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Micki McGee

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195171242

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195171242.001.0001

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From Power! to Personal Power!

From Power! to Personal Power!

Survivalism and the Inward Turn

(p.49) Chapter 2 From Power! to Personal Power!
Self-Help, Inc.

Micki McGee

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the unisex or general-audience advice literature, exploring the new survivalism that emerges against the background of a continuing inward turn. In The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck recounts his spiritual “journey” from the secular medical realm of psychiatry to a hybrid realm of psychotherapeutic and Christian values. Anthony “Tony” Robbins and Stephen Covey represent two distinct traditions of self-improvement culture: the former privileges emotion and the affective dimension while the latter heralds the superiority of reason, planning, and time management. The New Age inheritors of New Thought posit a world in which there is ultimately no distinction between self and other, matter and energy, reality and imagination. The generic literature of self-help during the last quarter of the twentieth century signaled an intensification of tendencies in American culture that had been evident, in some cases, since the nation's founding.

Keywords:   survivalism, inward turn, self-help, unisex, Road Less Traveled, Scott Peck, Anthony Robbins, Stephen Covey, American culture

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