Two contemporary gurus, Calvin and Hobbes, sum up our situation:
Hobbes: Whatcha doin?
Calvin: Getting rich!!!
Calvin: Yep. I'm writing a self-help book! There's a huge market for this stuff. First, you convince people there's something wrong with them. That's easy, because advertising has already conditioned people to feel insecure about their weight, looks, social status, sex appeal, and so on. Next, you convince them that the problem is not their fault and that they're victims of larger forces. That's easy, because it's what people believe anyway. Nobody wants to be responsible for his own situation. Finally, you convince them that with your advice and encouragement, they can conquer their problem and be happy!
Hobbes: Ingenious. What problem will you help people solve?
Calvin: Their addiction to self-help books! My book is called, "Shut Up and Stop Whining: How to Do Something with Your Life besides Think About Yourself."
Hobbes: You should probably wait for the advance before you buy anything.
Calvin: The trouble is, if my program works, I won't be able to write a sequel.
The broad themes of the strip deal with Calvin's flights of fantasy, his friendship with Hobbes, his misadventures, his views on a diverse range of political and cultural issues and his relationships and interactions with his parents, classmates, educators, and other members of society.