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17May

Tedcore: the self-help books that have changed the way we live, speak and think

Bestsellers like Atlas of the Heart and Atomic Habits use feel-good philosophy to turn our anxieties into our identity

You are a victim. A person of anxious experience, navigating a minefield of shame triggers. Research suggests that people with your attachment style are predisposed to dissociating. Some experts believe this very sentence could re-traumatize you. It’s not your fault, of course. You just need to reframe your narrative.

This is the language of a coalescing sub-genre of self-help books that combine the comforting yet impenetrable vocabulary of modern therapy with pseudoscientific grand theories on human behavior. You’ll recognize it from titles like Atlas of the Heart, Atomic Habits, The Body Keeps The Score, Attached, Mating in Captivity, even The Artist’s Way. None were bestsellers upon release, but all have slow-burned their way to the tops of bestseller lists and the bookshelves of People Who Go To Therapy. These are the new bourgeois bibles – foundational texts for a generation of yuppies adrift.

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