A Critical Look At The Personal Development Industry

Beyond GrowthBeyond Growth – Technoccult interviews Duff McDuffee and Eric Schiller:

Duff: Ok. Well, from what I understand it largely emerged in the early 20th century when New Thought religious ideas became popular and were applied to worldly success. The basic idea was contained in such books as Think and Grow Rich and As a Man Thinketh.

The notion was that you could create stuff with the power of your mind. The correlary is that if you aren’t getting what you want, you need to do a kind of mental hygeine and clean up your stinkin’ thinkin’ (to quote Zig Ziglar).

So you have people like Napolean Hill, who died broke by the way, writing books on how to get rich by visualizing and affirming one’s future wealth.

Eric: In Douglas Rushkoff’s book Life Inc. he argues that ‘personal development’ or self help found its place in corporations, in order to help the remaining staff become more efficient after job cuts.

Thus personal development has deep capitalistic roots, based in becoming more useful for society, and or your particular corporate persuasion.

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  • http://www.fuel-my-motivation.com self improvement

    Personally, I see personal development as necessary. While there are many books, etc… as you indicate, I think each and everyone of us must look within and work to make ourselves better. The world doesn’t stand still so why should we.

    Now I do believe there are many people out promoting personal development who have never achieved or improved their lives in any way except to make money off of trying to tell other people how to improve. However, I believe as individuals, we have to take responsibility for our own lives and look at the entire personal development industry as simply as tool.

  • http://www.fuel-my-motivation.com self improvement

    Personally, I see personal development as necessary. While there are many books, etc… as you indicate, I think each and everyone of us must look within and work to make ourselves better. The world doesn't stand still so why should we.

    Now I do believe there are many people out promoting personal development who have never achieved or improved their lives in any way except to make money off of trying to tell other people how to improve. However, I believe as individuals, we have to take responsibility for our own lives and look at the entire personal development industry as simply as tool.

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