Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It's Doing to Us

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Harry N. Abrams, Mar 27, 2018 - Social Science - 416 pages
We live in an age of perfectionism. Every day, we're bombarded with the beautiful, successful, slim, socially-conscious and extroverted individual that our culture has decided is the perfect self. We see this person constantly in shop windows, in newspapers, on the television, at the movies and all over our social media. We berate ourselves when we don't match up to them--when we're too fat, too old, too poor, or too sad. This cycle can be extremely bad for us. In recent years, psychologists have even begun to think that many people take their own lives because of the impossible standards that are set for who they ought to be. Will Storr began to wonder about this perfect self that torments so many of us. Who, actually, is this person? Why does it hold such power over us? Could it be humanity's deadliest idea? And, if so, is there any way we can break its spell? To find out, Storr takes us on a journey from the shores of Ancient Greece, through the Christian Middle Ages, the encounter groups of 1960s California and self-esteem evangelists of the late twentieth century to modern-day America, where research suggests today's young people are in the grip of an epidemic of narcissism. He'll tell the strange story of the individualist Western self from its birth on the Aegean to the era of hyper-individualistic neoliberalism in which we find ourselves today. "Selfie" reveals, for the first time, the epic tale of the person we all know so intimately...because it's us.

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About the author (2018)

Will Storr is an award-winning novelist and long-form journalist. He has reported from refugee camps in Africa, war-torn rural Colombia, and remote Aboriginal communities in Australia. He is a contributing editor at Esquire, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Observer, The Sunday Times, and The Guardian. In 2012, he was presented with the Amnesty International award for his work on sexual violence against men. In 2013, his BBC radio series won the AIB award for best investigative documentary. He is author of The Unpersuadables (available from Overlook), Will Storr vs. The Supernatural and The Hunger and the Howling of Killian Lone.

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