Running into the limits of wellness culture

William Gonch in The Hedgehog Review:

When the New York Times reviewed Charles Duhigg’s 2012 book The Power of Habit, it defined a new kind of guide to the self. Duhigg’s book was “not a self-help book conveying one author’s homespun remedies, but a serious look at the science of habit formation and change.” No longer would self-improvement be the stuff of drugstore book racks. Now it would be rooted in science and make serious claims as a manual for life. The Science of Habit popularized a great deal of cutting-edge research on behavior change, but its scientific framework also made a pitch for the attention of highly educated, tech-savvy young members of the professional class.

They listened. Duhigg’s book kicked off a trend in wellness culture: Experimental psychology and data science would be used to develop clearer (and sometimes counterintuitive) recommendations for improving users’ lives.

More here.