Chicken Soup for the Soul is a series of "uplifting
" and "motivational
" books compiled and edited by Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen, who are also both motivational speakers
The stories for these books are sent in by people from around the world. They are generally of the tearjerker variety, such as "How my baby brother died a sad but uplifting death from cancer of the toes".
Each of the books is divided into approximately eight to ten sections such as "On Love", "A Matter of Perspective", "On Death and Dying", and "Overcoming Obstacles". Each section is filled with narrative accounts that fit the category.
The authors of these accounts are people from all age and class groups, all professions, and many countries around the world. Most of the writers have never been published previously. They are paid, on average, $300 per story, upon publication.
There are two schools of thought on the Chicken Soup books. One holds that these books are utter drivel, not so much Chicken Soup for the Soul as Twinkies for the Brain. The other school leans toward the idea that the books are worthwhile and excellent reading.
Regardless of which way your thinking goes on the series, the fact remains that these books are best sellers that are making their editors a fortune in royalties.
The series has spawned many similar books, but Chicken Soup reigns supreme in the field. It is, for all intents and purposes, the Reader's Digest of the trade paperback world.
Some information gathered from http://www.chickensoup.com, but most is from my own experience with these books because I am, sadly, a Chicken Soup for the Soul junkie.