|Samuel Smiles - public domain img.|
"A place for everything, and everything in its place," is the quote made famous by Samuel Smiles in his book Thrift. While he did not originate the concept of self-help books, which have been around for centuries, he did, however, write a book in 1859 entitled, "Self-Help; with Illustrations of Character and Conduct." This is often considered the prototype for the modern day examples of self-help books and perhaps lead to the current glut of these. The term "self-help" has a long history as well, as a legal and literary term; however, Smiles was successful in his bid to influence readers with his ideas of self-improvement - he sold a quarter of a million copies by time of his death in 1904. It did have its share of detractors, though. The Irish author, Robert Tressell, wrote in one his books, that "Self-Help" was "suitable for perusal by persons suffering from almost complete obliteration of the mental faculties". Smiles, finding a need within the human psyche to become better people, filled it with his hopeful and encouraging instructional books. More didactic quotes by Smiles are available at BrainyQuote.