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How to help yourself

Not all popular psychology is junk—but tread carefully

By Oliver Burkeman   February 2011

Mindfulness meditation: not as hokey as it looks

The world of experimental psychology can be a dry place: all those ethics committees, control groups, and peer-reviewed, cautiously expressed findings. Not so the world of popular psychology and self-help, where stunning breakthroughs in the quest for human happiness seem to tumble in their hundreds out of every new book. “Two years ago,” writes Dr Joe Vitale in Zero Limits: The Secret Hawaiian System For Wealth, Health, Peace and More, “I heard about a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients—without ever seeing any of them.” Lest…

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