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Heal thyself : The history of self-help. Happier, 1/3.

  • Ince, Robin
  • Audio

About this work


Three part documentary looking at the self-help movement, presented by Robin Ince, a stand-up comedian and book collector. He talks about various self-help books he has found and how the goal of these books is usually happiness. Various comedy clips are interspersed throughout. Psychotherapist, Philippa Perry, who has written a self-help book herself, talks about the genre. Ince also talks about self-help tapes and philosophy professor, Rick Roderick, from Duke University, considers this aspect. The roots of self-help literature are looked at and well-being researcher, Jules Evans, policy director at the Centre for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary, University of London, talks about his own personal experiences with self-help, cognitive behavioural therapy and philosophy. He thinks the roots of self-help are based in stoicism. Stoicism is discussed with Dr. Alex Long from St. Andrews University. The idea is put forward that most modern self-help is based on reality through thoughts and beliefs that is at the heart of stoicism. Further Hellenistic philosophy is discussed, including Seneca's. Ancient Christian culture is then considered with regard to personal testimony and narrative. The role of Augustine is considered and the idea that modern self-help may also have grown from early Christianity. Natalie Haynes, writer and novelist, talks about characters and gods in classical Greek works and the philosophy contained in them. The 6th century work the 'Consolation of Philosphy' is then briefly discussed. It was reproduced many times in the Middle Ages and provides a bridge between ancient and medieval philosophy.


[London] : Wellcome Library, 2014.

Physical description

1 audio disc (29 min.) ; 12 cm


Broadcast on 5 August, 2014

Creator/production credits

A BBC Radio 4 production; produced by Alex Mansfield.
Presented by Robin Ince.

Copyright note

BBC Radio 4



  • English

Where to find it

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