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Before us is the work ethic famously described by Max Weber; albeit in a form that is diffused, fragmented, and “applied” to twenty-first century dating.
____________________ Introduction In the early twenty-first century, the international self-help movement seems more wide-reaching than ever before.
The accompanying self-help groups and movements range from secular fan clubs to (semi-)religious cults; and from peer-to-peer mutual-aid groups to loosely knit movements revolving around a charismatic self-help guru, a bestselling publication, or a popular advice blog.
Though contemporary self-help is thus highly heterogeneous, there are a couple of elements or general themes that loosely bind the unending mass of self-help discourses and practices together. The attempt to cultivate a “positive attitude”; or more generally, a therapeutic or psychological approach to life 2.
In recent years, there has been an increased scholarly interest in self-help narratives and teachings, as well as in their broader social and cultural impact.
To that end, the present research shows how self-help, in spite of its often inflated promises of a “quick-fix,” can cause people to adopt a new self-understanding and lifestyle that centers on an ideal of self-improvement through self-discipline.
Interestingly, in the case of the most dedicated self-helpers, the initial promise of (quick) results and the real identity changes self-helpers undergo often come to intertwine in a highly complex fashion.
In the Seduction Community, we find a diffused, fragmented expression of the work ethic described by Weber.
This work ethic—instrumental to what Weber calls “the spirit of capitalism”—is rooted in a secularized and inner-worldly expression of asceticism.
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Recent works on the topic include Sandra Dolby’s folkloristic study Self-Help Books, Micki Mc Gee’s critical analysis Self-Help, Inc.