Narcissism - an inflated view of the self - is everywhere. Public figures say it's what makes them stray from their wives. Parents teach it by dressing children in T-shirts that say "Princess". Teenagers and young adults hone it on Facebook, and celebrity newsmakers have elevated it to an art form. And it's what's making people depressed, lonely, and buried under piles of debt. Dr. Jean M. Twenge focuses on the pernicious spread of narcissism in today's culture, which has repercussions for every age group and class. Dr. Twenge joins forces with Dr. W. Keith Campbell, a nationally recognized expert on narcissism, to explore this new plague. Together, they provide an eye-opening exposition of the alarming rise of narcissism and its catastrophic effects at every level of society.
©2009 Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell (P)2014 Tantor
"Filled with important, disturbing research detailing the alarming cultural spread of narcissism today." ---Karyl McBride, Ph.D., author of Will I Ever Be Good Enough?
Painter, musician, bibliophile...
Twenge and Campbell provide a wide-ranging study of social psychology with many useful insights. Unfortunately the tone in which the book is written and narrated is off-putting, arrogant, and grating on the nerves. The "look at me" author intrusion was over the top. They would have written a much stronger, more cohesive book if that fault hadn't been so distracting. The narrator sounds snarky and disdainful, which doesn't help.
This book goes a long way to explaining how we find ourselves in this situation. Even if you take out the statistics and somewhat outdated cultural references, there's a lot in here that is important to consider. I wish every parent and grandparent would read it and at least think through some of the issues raised.
If you need strategies to deal with a narcissist, you won't find them in this book. For that, I'd recommend looking at Rokelle Lerner's THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION IS IN MY REFLECTION and Eleanor Payson's THE WIZARD OF OZ AND OTHER NARCISSISTS.
This next bit is just my own experience, so feel free to skip if you wish.
I read this book to understand "small-n narcissism" because there is more and more of what this book talks about in the arts.
Three examples from the last week. (1) An inexperienced twentysomething painter threw a screaming tantrum when her inadequate work was not accepted for inclusion in a national, highly competitive exhibition. (2) A teenage boy asked me how long it would take "to get good" on classical guitar. When I told him many years of dedicated study and practice, he said he was "gonna get one of those 'learn guitar in seven days' things online" and wandered off. (3) A twelve year-old bragged to her adoring parents that she had "mastered" the flute and called herself "really gifted." She was not a prodigy, just an ordinary kid who'd finished her fourth lesson.
Those who have something to teach are getting tired of dealing with superannuated two year-olds who have a tantrum every time they find work is required of them, or discover there are others more talented, experienced, or willing to learn from their mistakes than they are. Entitled narcissists want instant fame, accolades, and praise for nothing more than showing up. Like Icarus, they fly on their frail little wings of self-adoration and fall when they come into contact with reality. Then we are expected to clean up the mess.
We need better parenting that includes the establishment of realistic boundaries and a return to a sense of community. None of us exists without the other. Not one of us is better than another. Narcissism destroys all that is good about a civilized society, and only we can stop it from taking over.
High praise, low standards and low expectations do not create a person who can compete and thrive in the real world.This book really connects the dots and explains why so many of our kids feel entitled, are rude and cannot function in a competitive society i.e. in the real world. Their self esteem is off the charts and their ability to function and compete just does not support their high self esteem.
In life there are winners and losers, the winners generally work really hard and demand more of themselves and understand commitment, discipline and hard work and the only things that ensure success in the long run.
Life is not like a kid's sports game; Not everyone get's a trophy just for showing up. As Thomas Edison said, genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Unfortunately many of us have forgotten this truth.
The books also gives some very good pointers for dealing with narcissism and if we do not deal with it there will be significant consequences for us as a country.Cannot recommend highly enough
I was very disappointed by this audiobook. It was like listening to a broken record for hours on end. On occasion, I even checked the table of contents to make sure I was not listening to the same chapter a second time. I kept on going only because I wanted to hear some concrete suggestions for addressing the problem of narcissism in our society. Unfortunately, I was let down again. After 12 hours and 25 minutes of listening, I learned absolutely nothing. The way the authors talk about themselves sounds pretty narcissistic at times, and they are often condescending, too, which is not attractive. There is no balance here. Top it off with a sappy narration, and you have a terrible listening experience.
*Generational Gap Angst
*Authors holier than thou (They pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and look at them. They're great and work hard.)
*Anecdote after anecdote after anecdote
*Repetitive - what could have been condensed into a 4-10 page journal entry was drawn out over hundreds of pages
*Fallacy after fallacy
The entire book could have been condensed.
It's okay to listen to if you're multi-tasking. It was easy to divert my attention away for several minutes without missing a thing.
There are a few good ideas here but it seems to me the authors should have called it consumerism/commercialism. This is NOT about narcissism unless we redefine what that is. For the most part I felt the book was terrible. The authors seem very "humble yourself pitiful human" oriented. They take what is seen on tv reality shows to be American culture. It was not an easy book to finish. I am fascinated by what the book is supposed to be about. I have dealt with the subject in abusive people who would NOT be narcissistic by these standards.
I reread good books often.
This will not be one of them.
Oh, and stop telling your children they are special. They aren't. The need to be taught to fit in, work hard, not have high aspirations (unless you are actually rich or a real movie star...),... And so on.
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
than Eleanor Payson's grammatically clunky, repetitive, Alice Miller worshippiing, simplistic metaphor sodden The Wizard Of Oz and Other Narcissists. The Narcissism Epidemic does what few books on the subject do: includes the scientific research on the subject, avoiding the easy, breezy Milleresque platitudes directed at so-called victims (which often enough only teach THEM to be self-indulgent and self-focused). Read this book instead of the pulp self-help books on the narcissist.
Report Inappropriate Content