What Values Underpin Self-improvement Books?

  • Jeremy Koay
Part of the Postdisciplinary Studies in Discourse book series (PSDS)


The main goal of this chapter is to discuss the values that underpin self-improvement books. The central message that self-improvement books present is the idea that individuals are responsible for improving their lives. This chapter highlights assumptions that influence the way writers present their ideas about individual responsibility. One of these assumptions is that individuals are born equal, which ignores the crucial effect of social background on efforts at self-improvement. The discussion draws on findings from text analysis (e.g., word frequency, collocations, metaphors) as well as interviews.


American Dream Corpus-driven methods Individualism Positive thinking Self-determination Self-reliance 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy Koay
    • 1
  1. 1.EduMaxiAucklandNew Zealand

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