It seems to me that there are two main genres in the self-help and self-improvement market; the hero book, and the angel book. I am sure that you are familiar with both and recognise them immediately. I hope to surprise you.

The hero book persuades us that we can succeed, whether it be in our personal, social, or professional lives. It is convinced that we can Win at Life and it talks about such things in absolute terms. Its keywords are action, potential, motivation, power, leadership, influence, ultimate, and wealth. Its imagery is rich with the unleashing of this, the unlocking of that, the realising of potentials and the fulfillment of ambitions. There are doorways and keys and steps and methods, and secret techniques and successful habits. The format is rich in snappy catchphrases, urgent motivational slogans, victorious sports metaphors, exclamation points, check lists, and text boxes. Its tone is arrogant, manipulative, opportunistic and self-centered, and is unrepentant in its lack of consideration, respect, or sensitivity to others. It offers only the juvenile escapist fantasy of comic book heroes.

The aim of the hero book is unapologetically and exclusively about winning, being better than others, and defeating them in the process. It defines that victory in only material terms, and assures us that such a thing is a guarantee of happiness. It has no guidance for those who may not see their lives, themselves, or their values in such morally bankrupt terms.



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