THERE ARE TWO THEORIES of self-help and its ultimate impact. The first is that its prime directive is to motivate people. As the Fordham University sociologist Micki McGee, the author of Self-Help, Inc., once told me, the power that financial gurus like Suze Orman and Ramsey have “comes from reinforcing the American ideology of individualism.” By telling people they have more power than they really do, these gurus motivate them to take what action they can.

The other view—and mind you, this is not a contradiction—is that the self-help industry, by insisting on the ultimate power of the individual, leads people to believe that they are to blame for failures that are more truthfully the result of political, economic, and social trends.

“The Prophet: Dave Ramsey”. I think there’s more to be said about self-help literature, but this is an interesting start.