I witnessed it gradually unroll from the 1990s. It started with The Learning Annex catalogues of courses where you could attend a local one-day class to “get in touch with your inner child” and to “be your own boss” among hundreds of other courses. It used to be a habit with friends that while at a Village diner having breakfast, we would read the titles to these classes and invariably break down in laughter. There was something entirely amusing, yet absurd, about the plethora of classes with courses entitled “Walking Crosstown” and “How to Do Your Laundry by Hypnosis.” Little did we know that this culture of self-empowerment was just beginning.

From local, in-person courses, The Learning Annex had expanded its offerings to online classes and alongside many other similar businesses. Alongside such learning centers a new class of profession called the “life coach” has also foot into this market. While self-help culture rose in the 1970s, proliferating in the 1980s largely through books such as Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns (1980) and The Power of Now (2004) by Eckhart Tolle, self-help publishing industry expanded massively into the realm of the motivational coach on tour and on television and to the more local entrepreneur who advises business executives how to deal with stress or how to approach public speaking, among many other niche specialities. With new technology, these self-help gurus have moved onto the Internet and into app territory in order to expand their audience while giving the appearance of a one-to-one experience.

...