Bad self-help is just bad pop-philosophy. I’m in the business of making philosophy more accessible to the general public, but no way do I consider myself doing ‘self-help’. I think what’s happening - I’m entirely certain - is self-help authors are using philosophical quotes (often out of context) as a mouthpiece to make their advice sound ‘wise’.

I often come across instances like these and I inevitably roll my eyeballs. And indeed, titles like ‘Ten advices from Stoics to live a better life’ often turn me off because I’ve read stoicism, it’s not that simple.

Furthermore, it deceives readers from the true spirit of philosophy. When we read a philosophy text, we need to be critical and sceptical. What self-help literature often does is use these texts to make their advices immune to criticisms. Because they’re from ‘great thinkers’.

If pop-philosophy is done right, self-help would stop blindly citing philosophy texts. But it isn’t. So, we have the landscape that you’ve described: genuine virtues are deteriorating and self help authors making bucks by citing philosophy literature without interpreting them properly.

I was once asked about the origins of the universe. So, here I am doing philosophy. Ethics | Intellectual History | Chinese Comparative Philosophy

I was once asked about the origins of the universe. So, here I am doing philosophy. Ethics | Intellectual History | Chinese Comparative Philosophy