Maxwell Maltz (March 10, 1889 – April 7, 1975) was an Americancosmetic surgeon and author of Psycho-Cybernetics (1960), which was a system of ideas that he claimed could improve one's self-image. In turn, the person would lead a more successful and fulfilling life. He wrote several books, among which Psycho-Cybernetics was a long-time bestseller — influencing many subsequent self-help teachers. His orientation towards a system of ideas that would provide self-help is considered the forerunner of the now popular self-help books.
In 1960, Psycho-Cybernetics: A New Way to Get More Living out of Life was first published by Prentice-Hall and appeared in a pocket book edition by 1969. The book introduced Maltz's views where a person must have an accurate and positive view of him- or herself before setting goals; otherwise he or she will get stuck in a continuing pattern of limiting beliefs. His ideas focus on visualizing one's goals and he believes that self-image is the cornerstone of all the changes that take place in a person. According to Maltz, if one's self-image is unhealthy or faulty — all of his or her efforts will end in failure.
Maltz also wrote fiction, including a play called Unseen Scar (1946) and a novel, The Time is Now (1975). His autobiography, Doctor Pygmalion: The Autobiography of a Plastic Surgeon (1953), was popular and influential, being discussed in many subsequent books on body and identity. It was re-titled Doctor Psycho-Cybernetics after his self-help work was published.
Although the book Psycho-Cybernetics was first published in 1960, as of 2008 the book is one of 50 recommended in the book 50 Self-Help Classics.