PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am


by Steve Salerno
Crown Publishers (e-book)

Self-help. The very term has many reaching for the sick bag. And so it is for Steve Salerno, whose book SHAM (short for the Self-Help and Actualisation Movement) is a rebuke to the charlatans and their part in the non-scientific, cynical business of supposed self-improvement. Unfortunately, like the persuasive performers he decries, Salerno falls into the same traps: his arguments, such as that empowerment and a sense of victimhood have enfeebled the masses, are self-evident. Victimhood has eroded the notion of personal responsibility and empowerment has convinced many that simply aspiring to something is the same as achieving it. Readers will realise SHAM is 10 years too late and that much of the damage has already been done. That includes turning dysfunctions into diseases, alcoholism being one, and enriching motivational speakers like Anthony Robbins and John Gray (author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus), who is known for nuggets such as 'the outcome you want is one that works for both of you'. If you're not the sort to waste money on self-help advice, you won't need SHAM either.