Here's a question for you.
I've been listening to a Shakespeare course (from the Teaching Company). In a lecture about the play Henry V, the author Peter Saccio makes an interesting aside.
"You can learn a lot about a culture and an era by examining the self-help books that were popular during that time."
For example, during Elizabethan Times (especially the 1590s), the top best-selling self-help books dealt with death, namely the correct way to approach death. This, in great part, reflects the deadly "London Plague" of that decade.
Best-selling self-help books during the Victorian Era dealt with proper etiquette. This is because a number of people had made substantial sums during the Industrial Revolution, and they were able to buy themselves a higher class lifestyle. One thing they needed to fit in was knowledge of the proper manners of their new class.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, this genre produced best-sellers dealing with improved sexual performance and also consciousness-raising. (Picture from Alex Comfort's The Joy of Sex.)
The 1990s produced a number of money-management and wealth-building guides. And this certainly reflects the "go-go" aspects of that decade.
Which brings me to my question:
As you look at the how-to/self-help best-sellers of 2007, what do they tell us about our era, our life-style, and our hopes, desires and frustrations?