Why Read This Book

In 1859, Scottish author and government reformer Samuel Smiles published Self-Help. A book that promoted thrift and claimed that poverty was caused largely by irresponsible habits, Self-Help sparked a new genre of literature over 155 years ago that continues to grow. With chapters on “Money—Its Use and Abuse” and “Application and Perseverance,” it sold 20,000 copies in 1859. By the time of Smiles’s death five decades later, it had sold 250,000 copies.1 The genre of self-help literature, often packaged as modern philosophy and psychology, is a vibrant and growing $10-billion industry in the United States alone.2 Since 1859, authors like Smiles and hundreds of others have been helping people understand how to succeed in various ...

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