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

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Abrams, Apr 2, 2019 - Social Science - 416 pages
“An intriguing odyssey” though the history of the self and the rise of narcissism (The New York Times).

Self-absorption, perfectionism, personal branding—it wasn’t always like this, but it’s always been a part of us. Why is the urge to look at ourselves so powerful? Is there any way to break its spell—especially since it doesn’t necessarily make us better or happier people? Full of unexpected connections among history, psychology, economics, neuroscience, and more, Selfie is a “terrific” book that makes sense of who we have become (NPR’s On Point). Award-winning journalist Will Storr takes us from ancient Greece, through the Christian Middle Ages, to the self-esteem evangelists of 1980s California, the rise of the “selfie generation,” and the era of hyper-individualism in which we live now, telling the epic tale of the person we all know so intimately—because it’s us.

“It’s easy to look at Instagram and selfie-sticks and shake our heads at millennial narcissism. But Will Storr takes a longer view. He ignores the easy targets and instead tells the amazing 2,500-year story of how we’ve come to think about our selves. A top-notch journalist, historian, essayist, and sleuth, Storr has written an essential book for understanding, and coping with, the 21st century.” —Nathan Hill, New York Times-bestselling author of The Nix

“This fascinating psychological and social history . . . reveals how biology and culture conspire to keep us striving for perfection, and the devastating toll that can take.”—The Washington Post

“Ably synthesizes centuries of attitudes and beliefs about selfhood, from Aristotle, John Calvin, and Freud to Sartre, Ayn Rand, and Steve Jobs.” —USA Today

“Eminently suitable for readers of both Yuval Noah Harari and Daniel Kahneman, Selfie also has shades of Jon Ronson in its subversive humor and investigative spirit.” —Bookseller

“Storr is an electrifying analyst of Internet culture.” —Financial Times

“Continually delivers rich insights . . . captivating.” —Kirkus Reviews
 

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About the author (2019)

Will Storr is an award-winning journalist and novelist whose work has appeared in the Guardian, Sunday Times, The New Yorker, and the New York Times. His books include Selfie: How the West Became Self-Obsessed and The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science (Overlook/Abrams Press). His writing courses are among the most in-demand offerings of the Guardian Masterclasses and the Faber Academy. He lives in Kent, England.

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