Self-Help: What Went Wrong?

Feb 8, 2021
271 670 Views

Go to to get 50% off your first three months! Thanks to Keeps for sponsoring this video!
Self-Help: What if the industry that promises to make you "better" is actually making everything worse?
The self-help industry is full of gurus promising to make you the best version of yourself. But what if there's something more sinister going on amidst all this aspirational self-improvement? Let's find out in this Wisecrack Edition on Self Help: What Went Wrong?
Subscribe to Wisecrack! ►
Support us on Patreon! ►
Check out our Merch Store! ►
=== Watch More Episodes! ===
How FAKE SCIENCE Can Fool You ►
The Internet was a Mistake ►
Mindfulness: Deep or Dumb? ►
Written by Amanda Scherker
Hosted by Michael Burns
Directed by Elizabeth Yarwood
Motion Graphics by Riley A
Illustrations by J.R Fleming
Editing & Additional Animation by Brian M Kim
Video Title Card by Amanda Murphy
Produced by Evan Yee

Attribution Links:
Image of Zeno of Citium - By Paolo Monti - Available in the BEIC digital library and uploaded in partnership with BEIC Foundation.The image comes from the Fondo Paolo Monti, owned by BEIC and located in the Civico Archivio Fotografico of Milan., CC BY-SA 4.0

#selfhelp #goop #wisecrack
© 2021 Wisecrack / Omnia Media, Inc

  • Think you can do better than putting tape on your dog's paws? What's your favorite life hack?

    WisecrackWisecrack2 months ago
    • Well what did people do before self-help books? They figured it out, they asked family, neighbors, friends, and collaborated at times to figure things out together. I used to be a huge self-help book junkie. Never paid for seminars but it was bad enough being on the merry go round of these self-help books. Anyway, thanks for calling this out.

      Lila D.Lila D.2 days ago
    • @Theodore Neill Taxpayers

      Arlene Whiteswan's Mysterious DomainArlene Whiteswan's Mysterious Domain9 days ago
    • Stealing money out of the collection basket sounds!

      Arlene Whiteswan's Mysterious DomainArlene Whiteswan's Mysterious Domain9 days ago
    • “ We’re here one time, one life.” Only partially true in my opinion.

      Nikki E.Nikki E.9 days ago
    • @Madsovic999 😬😯

      Nikki E.Nikki E.9 days ago
  • Am I to understand that individualism in the working class influences a division among communities with similar struggles?

    Jon RolandJon Roland22 hours ago
  • to be fair, NOOTROPICs CAN GREATLY INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY if used correctly and in the correct combination that works for you. The problem is that there is no general or uniform combination that works for everyone - nootropics affect each person at a different level and in a different way. so it takes a lot of experimentation to discover your optimal "stack" or effective combo. If used correctly in a manner that is customized for your system they can be extremely effective

    Erik TErik TDay ago
  • That typing sound is so annoying!

    Carlos SantosCarlos SantosDay ago
  • Shoulda mentioned the OG self help guru, Timothy Leary

    BaronUnderbiteBaronUnderbite2 days ago
  • A lot of good research but very cynical

    Tony PetrozzaTony Petrozza2 days ago
  • I often think that I have a book of this nature in me to write, but my motivation for writing it is that I have been through so much horrid stuff in my life and then was forced the hard way to learn a lot about myself and the world that I didn’t know, I want all of my regrets about the things I did and the things I didn’t do to have a purpose, and if that purpose happens to make me some money, great. It will allow me to correct at least in the present, one of the big mistakes maybe two that I made. I would want to stop others from making the same mistakes. I think where people go wrong is that they become self-help authors by trade. They don’t just get out their testimony, say what they have to say, put it in one book, and be done with it almost more like a memoir, they go into it as a vocation where they are then obligated to produce book after book after book. They also model this path as lucrative, and then other people start doing the same thing. We used to share our wisdom with our villages, now in the age of technology, the world is your village and it’s a model that just doesn’t work. Every industry does this, television, music - the music industry is really bad with this, and publishing. Others as well. When they see something that the public shows a hunger for, they turn it into a formula and they produce it and keep producing it until the interest in it dies out.

    Nikki E.Nikki E.2 days ago
  • I love how a lot of bullshit was ground to the existence of jordan peterson as self help to deal with women that don't bows her head to any man, and liberal ideas that goes against religious beliefs.

    João V M L SilvaJoão V M L Silva4 days ago
  • I like how funny michael is, plus his view in a non ambiguous way

    João V M L SilvaJoão V M L Silva4 days ago
  • Gibran and Rilke are the true self-help guides. The only way to really heal is solitude, going within, spending time with yourself, which is, by the way, free.

    Matt BertramMatt Bertram4 days ago
    • Oh, and a Bill Hicks heroic dose!

      Matt BertramMatt Bertram4 days ago
  • Greed as always

    Caroline MullanCaroline Mullan6 days ago
  • Tony Robbins is the worst of them. He gets his ideas and techniques from the Landmark Forum which was formerly EST. He looks like a cross between Lurch in The Addams Family and Jaws the James Bond villian.

    lemsiplemsip7 days ago
  • Basically photoshop yourself in front of a fancy car in front of a mansion, tell the public how you got to own them and sell them a course on self publishing books with no content or something so too can own these things.

    Arlene Whiteswan's Mysterious DomainArlene Whiteswan's Mysterious Domain9 days ago
  • Had a self-help advert coming in.

    TshegoTshego9 days ago
  • This guy is an elitist.

    eternaloptimist senioreternaloptimist senior9 days ago
  • The goal of the self-help Industry is to get you addicted to self-help products.

    Todd PlunkettTodd Plunkett10 days ago
  • Tim Ferris went to ivy college and he never shares how but he invested all the right startups...Now he is soo happy-:)he uses drugs

    Elvan ŞavklıElvan Şavklı10 days ago
  • I genuinely hate the united states of america and living in it is disgusting. I hate you all and would rather be dead than live here anymore

    christian smith jrchristian smith jr10 days ago
  • Change the system of oppression first. Revolution is the answer.

    Kurapika GiovannaKurapika Giovanna10 days ago
  • A video criticising the self help movement sponsored by a self help ad on how to keep one's hair intact....

    Yariv PerelmuterYariv Perelmuter10 days ago
  • A video about self help scammers with the Video Creator advertising a HAIR GROWTH SCAM!! Well OK then!

    Kirk HigginsKirk Higgins10 days ago
  • What went wrong ? just like everything else, it became a business, sold sometimes by unscrupulous people, and self-help has it's limits: once you've seen 10 videos, you've pretty much seen them all ( which does not mean it is not helpful to start getting better).

    Gaël Hervé hiking&birdingGaël Hervé hiking&birding11 days ago
  • Dale Carnegie didn’t exactly come from nothing... kinda like how a rando named George Washington Stevens has a significantly better chance of winning any office they decide to run for...

    Carl StockmanCarl Stockman11 days ago
  • Self-help if for those authors. They help themselves get more money.

    Sherlika GSherlika G11 days ago
  • So, the self-help industry making fortune from depression and anxiety from society's financial insecurity. Interesting. Is that kind of spell only working in communities that celebrates individuality?

    Mi KiMi Ki12 days ago
  • The Enchiridion of Epictetus: The Original Self Help Book.

    Jann GuerreroJann Guerrero12 days ago
  • This industry proves how shallow humanity can be... 🤦🏼‍♂️

    Changing Times MusicChanging Times Music12 days ago
  • if you are not a millionaire... you're nothing... so they say... but I know broke people like Mozart for example... and yet there are million of millionaires who died as a "blank spot" their only trait in life was that they were wealthy

    jaguar4u2012jaguar4u201213 days ago
  • Making Fun of Life Hack Pushers (brought to you by KEEPS) 🤣

    M ThomasM Thomas13 days ago
  • The video starts with a keeps commercial. How ironic😂

    simplybeautyfullsimplybeautyfull14 days ago
  • That guy’s head is big *EVEN* on a thumbnail. Damnn

    Marc DarrenMarc Darren14 days ago
  • @wisecrack, that swoosh used in the slide transitions is really annoying

    ohimbigtimeohimbigtime14 days ago
  • As religion declines, we see that a large segment of the population seeks out other ways to be sheared. The sheeple need a shepherd.

    No WayNo Way15 days ago
  • Gwyneth Paltrow is what went wrong

    Blue 24Blue 2416 days ago
  • It depends a lot on the self-help book type. There are some really good self-help books on psychology that helped me go through my depression. Then you have the self-help books that basically tell you that you are not rich because you are not doing XYZ, which as some point down in the comments, is toxic as hell

    Marta LópezMarta López16 days ago
  • If parents and teachers don’t teach their kids everything they need to succeed in life, buying books for inexpensive to learn info and skills parents didn’t teach you is common sense and very easy to afford. It’s the hype of the industry that turned me off, but personal and professional development is often very good.

    Opiate Addiction SupportOpiate Addiction Support17 days ago
  • "Listen to the pains you feel- they are messengers" -Rumi

    Lynn RLynn R17 days ago
  • Man goes into bookstore. Man: “Could you show me where the self-help books are?” Assistant: “Wouldn’t that defeat the object of the exercise?”

    Michael SalkeldMichael Salkeld17 days ago
  • I’m 65 years old and I still have all my hair. I don’t need Keeps, thank you. Just shave your head you insecure fuck!!

    John JohnsonJohn Johnson17 days ago
  • Self help is the new religion

    Bhargav KumarBhargav Kumar18 days ago
  • Self-help culture is attempting to fill the void left by the societal abandonment of the spiritual impulse in man. Carl Jung had two definitions of self. The big Self and the small self. The small self is the individual, the ego, the big Self includes the collective, and everything beyond that, which is basically God. And in that he arrived to the similar conclusion all mystics, yogis and shamans came to, that All is Self. You are God. This idea is expressed in "The Golden Rule", something that appears in pretty much every ancient text: "Treat your neighbour as you would like to be treated". Because there is no seperation between you and them, self and other. You are me, I am you. Returning to this fundamental understanding of reality can only happen if we get rid of this worldview pushed by hard science that we are dead materialistic machines floating on a meaningless rock in space, and accept that there IS meaning to life, it is to Love. Love disolves all seperation, spirituality is the only thing that's going to turn this individual obsessed society into a more community focused society. The only way we can start caring more for each other and the earth again is if we try our best each day to remember that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Until this becomes the focus and common thread in mainstream global ideologies and pop-culture, we are on the highway to hell.

    ashleyispresentashleyispresent19 days ago
  • The protestant worth ethic is the basis for the reformed nations in Europe becoming developed, But here we are told it was ALL about working yourself to the bone! The protestant work ethic was about working sacredly, that your work is not just a job but an act of worship and this in turn created high levels of productivity and standards because of the revelation that God cares about what you do outside the four walls of the church. So it was not perfect but it was not as materialistic or legalistic as we are told here.

    Trevor JamesTrevor James19 days ago
  • Socialism is the answer, take the undeserved wealth from the rich and redistribute it the the working class so we can all live a life of dignity and have our basic needs met.

    The UnintendedThe Unintended19 days ago
  • Tony ROBbins is a Fat Guy giving out weight loss advice 🤣 "get the fark off my obstacle course"

    Aussie RoosAussie Roos19 days ago
  • your sponsor lol

    Jose ParedesJose Paredes19 days ago
  • Takes a critical view on self help development and promotes hair improvement products. My kind of humor

    mrtnrtrmrtnrtr20 days ago
  • Not sure why the 4 day work week has anything to do with “self help”. It’s just a practical way for the working class to take back our lives now that we are sooooooo much more productive (because of technology) than workers were in any previous decade.

    Joshua AfroMagicJoshua AfroMagic20 days ago
  • Where can I read more?

    DieQwietscheenteDieQwietscheente21 day ago
  • Blah blah blah

    Prem KumarPrem Kumar21 day ago
  • Narcissist Personality disorders and ego lol

    Nadine OliverNadine Oliver22 days ago
  • By keeps or hats will become part of your identity

    Maxwell McCloudMaxwell McCloud24 days ago
  • I thought this was going to be about the dark personal secrets of the gurus or how they've wound up broke and in the gutter. I'm disappointed lol (and I know that says more about me than it does about them).

    JetPackDinoJetPackDino24 days ago
  • The next wave will be about uniting to start the revolution: "They Lied to Us to Keep Us Calm While They Took Our Stuff: Seven Ways We Take it All Back."

    JetPackDinoJetPackDino24 days ago
  • Self help became somebody help me

    Neellav GogoiNeellav Gogoi24 days ago
  • Great video. I'm glad you didn't call me out all that much :D One should be able to practise some self-help while still seeing how there isn't equality in this world, having compassion for people who sturggle and keep on joining fights for better conditions in our society for all of us. Though you can be perfectly self-centered without self-help, it's just what our style of living breeds, so I don't blame self-help industry for trying to make self-centered life more fullfilling if nothing else.

    MilubeeMilubee24 days ago
  • Most people felt unsatisfied with their life and many other people selling the promise to fill that hole

    Kuro CKKuro CK24 days ago
  • Carl Young mentioned that self reflection can become self obsession in a book somewhere. Somehow I think it can be true to a certain extent.

    Qi NeQi Ne25 days ago
  • I am going for the pessimistic route here. I believe that there are a lot of people are brain damaged in ways that they don't know, there are some self-help teachers that know what they are doing and help them for the good of society, and there are quacks that only do it for profit regardless of if the results. Example: There is medicine to treat ADD for children, they go off that medicine upon reaching adulthood because the doctors falsely assume that ADD is something you grow out of. The good doctor should talk about ways to treat the problem besides the medicine.

    Keyotea MendelbarKeyotea Mendelbar25 days ago
  • Self Help community is toxic. You're never happy or content because you could always be doing something better 😕, plus along the way you're being monetized while being promised a better life. I absolutely do encourage people to improve and live happier and healthier lives, but just be careful to not get sucked down the rabbit hole.

    SS26 days ago
  • Where is jordan peterson in this

    Hadi HassanHadi Hassan26 days ago
  • À simple question I asked myself a long time ago... If the self-help industry is legit, why is the market over saturated with it. Self help is just another occidental idiosyncrasy, where people seek to buy spirituality. Fun fact, it can't be bought and just about the only thing in life one must tirelessly work at ALONE.

    Kaiser ChiefKaiser Chief26 days ago
  • I was into self help at a young age, with things like The Secret and The Power of Now. The only reason was because I didn't know I had bipolar disorder and was looking for anyone to tell me why my emotions were so fucked up. Took me a decade to realize what I needed was medication because these self help assholes plus the anti-pill crowd told me for the entire decade that my problem is my thinking and behavior. So for a decade I went without medication for a serious problem with depression, and my life was 100x more difficult because of it. Now, I'm a burnt out college grad with barely enough bitcoin that I can afford to not work for a few years. My brain has almost nothing left to give anyone. I spent too much time trying to overcome a neurological problem through pop psychology and now that I'm burnt out it just means I'm less competitive than my peers. This country gives no fuck if you lose your mind, go broke and die.

    Michelle HettingerMichelle Hettinger27 days ago
  • Remember the 2012 Mayan Calendar end of the world madness? All the books, programs, trinkets it sold? Help progress the whole of humanity “to the next level”! Yeah, of course... Remember the “Secret”? Another shitty victim blaming nonsense scam. Sometimes these guys team up, creating whole movements. Basically that is what religion taught us. Be good, obey certain rules, you will be exempted from suffering all the sh.t the others who are “not good enough “ go through. Daddy loves you...

    agnesagniagnesagni27 days ago
  • The dissiese to please legit changed my life and David goggins book (not a self help book) turned my focus in to a laser WMD.

    MarkMark29 days ago
  • I partly agree with this video, they made great points, but also live by the philosophy of extreme ownership. I'm not going to wait for the large institutions to do right and change the unfair circumstances surrounding my life. I'm going to do what I can to succeed DESPITE the circumstances I can't control. Personal accountability/discipline = freedom

    516estrela516estrelaMonth ago
  • "Now, back to the show"😁😁😂

    Chongma Allen ChangChongma Allen ChangMonth ago
  • Self help starts with self-defeat

    Manuel García BarberoManuel García BarberoMonth ago
  • This is pretty good, but it is a little ironic that it contains an ad for a product that is probably just a dud and which appeals to people's vanity.

    Benson BearBenson BearMonth ago
  • The most important self-help book you will ever read is; Your own Diary, or Your own Journal. That’s where you will learn, and grow the most. No one can tell you who you are, or who you’re supposed to be! Start writing, you’ll be amazed at how well you’ll get to know Yourself! ❤️😄

    Karissa HawkinsKarissa HawkinsMonth ago
  • what does it say about your channel that hair loss treatments are being advertised :')

    10hoj10hojMonth ago
  • Self help, has very positive aspects. But it fails to understand that A) success looks different to everyone B) not everyone needs to be successful immediately C) it can take years between when you first hear good advice and understand enough about it to act regularly on it. D) what works for one, doesn't necessarily work on others. I found that self-help is dangerous without a foundation in philosophy to put stuff in context. We are humans, weak and frail, but unbelievably massive in our potential. No one will ever reach their full potential because 80 years to figure everything out is quite impossible, and that's ok. Improve yourself, but remember that you won't learn and act on any lessons until you are ready, until something has changed, until you feel like you deeply feel like you need to change and have tried everything else. And if you don't want to change, then, "don't worry, be happy"

    Hal EffectHal EffectMonth ago
  • It's the root of capitalism, everyone and everything has to be keep being "better." If not, you're worthless.

    cxa011500cxa011500Month ago
  • Self-help is the resource that the weak and cowards focus on. I am disguste of everyone who consumes this type of content and especially those who produce it.

    Andrei RibeiroAndrei RibeiroMonth ago
  • Religion is a form of self help. So is basic philosophy.

    snowissjsnowissjMonth ago
  • Your selling a ‘hair product’ while raggin on the self help industry? And don’t see the hypocrisy? Your as pathetic as Oprahs Army. If your not a part of the solution, your the problem

    Timothy LeeTimothy LeeMonth ago
  • Two words: Mind Valley😶😐😑

    Eduardo Ramirez JrEduardo Ramirez JrMonth ago
  • Good video. As you say, the problem can’t be that the community is broken down and every part of society has become a commodity to extract as much man hours out of every man woman and child for their boss. The problem is, how you approach that situation. Your problem isn’t that, public infrastructure is terrible, the way your city has been built means that the majority of people spend two hours in traffic after an eight hour work day where they come home and literally are in capable of having any kind of other life that fulfils them. The problem is the way you think about it. It’s just another way of assigning blame and making money off assigning blame. There’s nothing wrong with personal responsibility, but it’s making everything about personal responsibility which is just oversimplified nonsense. At this point the self-help industry is about creating a problem the self-help industry can solve, for a price of course. It’s just an extension of, your problems are your own, because of your own motivation levels or your own moral failing. It’s just an extension of manifest destiny and Regan Omics‘s and all that other shit.

    Conor SConor SMonth ago
  • 10:50 My great-grandfather was heavily influenced by this movement in the UK. His family went from blast furnace workers, to railway clerks to accountants in 3 generations, he was tee-total and insisted on learning 'The Queen's English' and was a local councillor. In addition there are still the remnants of "mechanical institutes" in the UK all over the place offering adult education course, especially before the austerity of the last decade that affected adult education a lot. I remember one in Birmingham when I was at uni - that were founded from this movement. Also the university where I took evening classes for my masters degree, Birkbeck, was founded under the auspicies of George Birkbeck who was from this movement too. Samuel Smiles is now see as a hardened liberal free marketer, but in his time he was just as much as famous for writing about engineers such as Stephenson - who founded the Mechanical Engineers Institute, the fact that to this day 'engineer' is not a universally respected or protected title as it is in most of the world shows you the kind of attitudes he was fighting against in his self-help - and engineering was, and still is, one of the more meritocratic professions out there. I am seeing a sharp hostility to meritocracy rising in the world right now, though I really wonder if people want to end up back in the past where they were not able to progress in life. Saying that there is not real meritocracy now due to a rising class divide isn't really an argument against it. It is also fair to say these people who saw themselves as promotors of social enlightenment would be horrified by what amounts to the modern self-help industry. These are very deep topics that Adam Curtis's films also delve into, the Jane Fonda workout is the featured in one of his films.

    Ferrusian GambitFerrusian GambitMonth ago
  • Napolean Hill`s Think and grow Rich preceeds Carnegie

    munir shemsumunir shemsuMonth ago
  • they all went into the tv "preacher" bizz

    Johnathan MyersJohnathan MyersMonth ago
  • A little Tony Robbins transformed my life and when I became depressed and overwhelmed since it was all my fault. I came scary close to suicide. I had never been so depressed or self loathing in my life.

    Michelle BurkholderMichelle BurkholderMonth ago
    • NOT your fault! Glad you’re still here and aware now that these people don’t have the answers!

      1chienandalou1chienandalou2 days ago
  • Just like any industry in American history, eventually the grifters, scammers and con artists get in on it and ruin everything for everybody. Because what is a scam but American style capitalism brought to it's logical conclusion.

    Frankenviews *Frankenviews *Month ago
  • How many swooshing sounds can they fit in one video lol.

    c cc cMonth ago
  • I bust my ass yesterday trying to explain this to my sister thank you 😭😭

    fatemeh shahmohammadfatemeh shahmohammadMonth ago
    • @Nethan Paul Thanks :) (im a girl too)

      fatemeh shahmohammadfatemeh shahmohammadMonth ago
  • Self help sucks (which I partially agree with), but make sure you don’t let your hair thin. Here’s a product for better hair. Ok back to self improvement sucks

    Ryan Brooks LeslieRyan Brooks LeslieMonth ago
  • Bro why is this channel the most incisive historically supported rebuttal of all the problems of society right now. Listen well kids, few others are brave enough to let go of their bootstraps and see individualism as the incompetent young trend that it is. Collectivism is far older and is the only way humans have ever achieved anything.

    david102994david102994Month ago
  • I think equating Tim Ferris to the Goop lady is really an silly move. Self help can be full of shit, but some people really want to provide help, and Tim Ferris is one of them, of course from a wealthy perspective, but that is what he knows.

    mattiaukmattiaukMonth ago
  • Time to scatter the toxic individual self help and find out what we can do as a collective.

    Von SebastianVon SebastianMonth ago
  • I think this is one of your best videos, thanks for the thoughts

    Loki BeckonsLoki BeckonsMonth ago
  • His shirt looks like there's food stuck on it. Thought I was looking in the mirror.

    Aaron SAaron SMonth ago
  • I read a couple of self-help books recently that helped me crawl out of a pit of depression and keep a number of friends I was in danger of pushing away. I think in order for a self-help book to work, you have to already be in a place where you want to change something about yourself. Also it has to be a book that actually wants to help you rather than just take your money.

    FirstRisingSouIFirstRisingSouIMonth ago
  • I like how most of these videos ultimately come across as created by guys that like Bernie Sanders

    Daniel UlloaDaniel UlloaMonth ago
  • The irony of this video is that the USworlds ad preceding it was for a self help app.

    Ashwath NairAshwath NairMonth ago
  • I immediately lose respect for anyone who quotes a self help guru to me.

    ohthreefiftyoneohthreefiftyoneMonth ago
  • Order in Anarchy ✊🏾

    Najee MebaneNajee MebaneMonth ago
  • 18:27 hahahaha

    Daniël van GinkelDaniël van GinkelMonth ago
  • I remember when I started making USworlds videos, I realize there's a lot of "click this video if you wanna have million subscribers" and "you don't have a lot of subscribers because you're not doing it right"

    Dreday Allday EverydayDreday Allday EverydayMonth ago
  • You can't be self helped, you can only help yourself.

    KennyKennyMonth ago
  • Patreon is great. Literally rich people paying for education of poor people. Thank you internet although it was a mistake.

    TempaRocka TrevorTrevorTempaRocka TrevorTrevorMonth ago
  • It's capitalism, dude. The problem is capitalism

    Timothy WalshTimothy WalshMonth ago