The first self-help book, succinctly titled Self-Help and serendipitously written by a man named Samuel Smiles, was published in 1859, but the genre didn't really take off until 100 years later. The sexual revolution may have made a swinging, anything-goes time, but it left people confused about how the world works. And, maybe most importantly, people stopped trying to appear perfect.
So when Mad Men's Betty Draper put down her polite book about Italy, what did she pick up? Probably one of these self-help hits from the '60s.