Behavior: Coping with How-to-Cope Books

When Norman Vincent Peale wrote his bestselling The Power of Positive Thinking in 1952, he attempted to "demonstrate that you do not need to be defeated by anything, that you can have peace of mind, improved health and a never-ceasing flow of energy." That no doubt remains the basic objective in the current profusion of books offering advice on how to cope with life, but the new authors differ from Peale in the emphasis they place on self-care and psychological detachment. Among the standard themes in the current crop of self-help manuals:

Man in his natural state is happy. It is society...

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