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(Self) Helped: Inside The Industry That Wants To Change Your Life

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An illustration of a woman with long, brown hair, a white shirt, blue jean and white sneakers. She has a curious expression. She is walking up steps made out of various self-help books with titles that read: “ The Four Agreements,” “ “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” “YOU ARE A BADASS,” "Atomic Habits,” and “The Secret.” The background is a light green color with large white and yellow flowers. Across the top right are the blue words “(Self) Helped” on a yellow background.
Charnel Hunter

Anita is committed to self-improvement but skeptical of self-help. She brings her qualms and questions to the experts: Kristen Meinzer, a podcaster who has lived by the rules of more than 50 self-help books, and Beth Blum, a scholar who's traced the genre back to its roots. Plus Sondra Rose Marie, a former self-help fan, shares how the industry has failed her as a woman of color.

Meet the guests:

  • Kristen Meinzer, pop culture commentator and podcast host, shares what she learned from following the rules of over 50 self-help books
  • Beth Blum, Harvard humanities professor and author, talks about the long history of the self-help industry, and how it's changed over the decades
  • Sondra Rose Marie, writer, talks about why she started following a self-help guru...and what events made her leave

Dig Deeper:

Kristen's podcasts How To Be Fine and Daily Fail

Beth's book "The Self-Help Compulsion"

Sondra's Medium article on self-help

Read the transcript | Review the podcast

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Paige Miranda is a producer for "Embodied". Previously, she served as WUNC’s 2023 AAAS Mass Media Fellow.
Kaia Findlay is the lead producer of Embodied, WUNC's weekly podcast and radio show about sex, relationships and health. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.