Wednesday, June 11, 2008
SHAM is Steve Salerno's expose of the Self Help And Actualization (get it?) Movement, which he succinctly describes as " ... an enterprise wherein people holding the thinnest of credentials diagnose in basically normal people symptoms of inflated or invented maladies, so that they may implement remedies that have never been proven to work". Up for investigation are such luminaries of the field as Tony Robbins, Tommy Lasorda, Laura Schlesinger, and Dr. Phil McGraw, as well as the numerous "twelve step" programs fathered by Alcoholics Anonymous. The book winds up with an out-of-place attack on the American educational system that, while raising some valid points, also comes across as tangential and a bit of a pet peeve clumsily hammered in where it doesn't really fit. Most of the book's focus takes on the millionaire "self help gurus", however, and these sections are delightful reading, and a much-needed investigation of a multimillion dollar industry essentially based on misdirection and manipulation.