What Don't You Like About Yourself?

Jan 12, 2014

At the intersection of religion and science. Plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Salzhauer in his office on Bay Harbor Islands. The Orthodox Jew attracted controversy after producing a video mocking Jewish stereotypes.
Credit Tom Hudson

Between our finances, fitness, beauty, working -- even our souls. We can spend thousands of dollars on making ourselves better. The self-help business is booming: from personal trainers to plastic surgery, how are we spending money to help ourselves?

Americans spent almost $12 billion on the self-help industry in 2012, according to independent market research firm MarketData.  Diet, exercise, motivational speakers, help-yourself books and other strategies are aimed at making us feel better, eat better, be better.  It is the business of better.  And business is good.

Dr. Michael Salzhauer may have created a stir in 2012 when he produced a video featuring a Jewish man unable to get a girlfriend because of his nose.  Dr. Salzhauer courted the controversy and today dismisses critics as being humorless.  The uproar earned him the nickname Dr. Schnoz.  But he's also an Orthodox Jew who has a Talmud next to a silicone breast implant on his desk.  

The Miami Herald's Karen Rundlet reports on the booming business of coaching.  Many people use coaches to help with everything from their personal finances to fitness to dating.  

Robert Pozen has had three significant articles published in leading newspapers and websites already in 2014. He's preparing to teach at MIT, working on a corporate board of directors, continuing his financial policy research and working on his tennis game.  Yes, this retired two-time mutual fund company chairman still gets eight hours of sleep each night.  He's writing a book Extreme Productivity to help others work smarter not harder.  One idea: if your job doesn't depend on it, don't be a fancy dresser.