In the past few decades, self-help books on communication have ranked among the top titles on bestseller lists. Offering advice about improving communication skills in a variety of contexts, they both reflect and promote a widespread discourse about the importance of good communication in everyday life, in what is in fact a paradoxical endeavor–solving flawed communication with more communication. Based on an analysis of 18 bestselling self-help books, the paper examines the meaning of three recurring themes–“listening,” “awareness” and “practice”–and analyzes the paradoxical relationship between what the books say about communication and how they say it. The findings serve to illuminate the relationship between communication and metacommunication more broadly, which, in turn, helps to explain the conditions by which authors express their ideas–their selection of textuality, despite, and precisely because of, its difference from oral talk.
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© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
- communication culture
- communication skills
- communication theory