How do we become happy? Self-help books show us what this eternal search for happiness looks like

How do we become happy?  Self-help books show us what this eternal search for happiness looks like

In the 1980s came the New Age movement, a “do-it-yourself” belief in which anyone can choose anything. Photo: Jerry Lampen

Historian Martin van den Heuvel (1965) made a golden discovery. Self-help books seem to be a valuable resource in describing the history of Dutch mentality. Almost everyone knows it, the rows of books written by more or less famous lifestyle gurus. They tell the reader how to live life. Van den Heuvel explains that these types of books are essentially mirrors of the zeitgeist. It is not very popular because it offers new insights, but because it confirms to people the way of life they already have.

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