Win friends and influence people with this cunningly designed collection of twentieth-century self-improvement guides.
If you've ever wanted your therapist to just tell you what to do already or felt that 12 steps are a few too many, you'll appreciate Jennifer McKnight-Trontz's yearning for an earlier era of positive thinking, quick fixes and glossy advice pamphlets. As this impressive, funny collection of self-help literature illustrates, personality was considered as malleable as postwar plastic in self-improvement's heyday (circa 1920 to 1970), and many believed that a bright smile, an optimistic outlook or a vibrating machine could solve just about anything. The dates quality of these slickly packaged guidesfeaturing cheerful, cleanshaven men and efficient, bright-eyed womenwill undoubtedly amuse: ads for Toosh, the padded panty; books with such ominous titles as Mastery of People; entire treatises on "how to help your husband relax" and what to do "when a fellow gets fresh." (Simply say "Not now, Ambroselet's go get a hamburger.") Still, you might be surprised at how many of these tips seem sensible and wise even today.