2011 0-7734-1576-9 The contemporary cultural phenomenon of self-help is highly visible and yet inadequately
understood. This study explores the seeming polarization of self-help – the splitting
of the individual (the self) and the collective (the help) – through detailed
ethnographic examination of self-help books and self-help groups. It relates these “poles”
by exploring a central and connecting event, hypothesized as the hyphen in self-help, a
workshop for a group of readers led by a self-help book author.