We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Joy of Pain Audiobook

The Joy of Pain: Schadenfreude and the Dark Side of Human Nature

Few people will easily admit to taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others. But who doesn't enjoy it when an arrogant but untalented contestant is humiliated on American Idol, or when the embarrassing vice of a self-righteous politician is exposed, or even when an envied friend suffers a small setback? The truth is that joy in someone else's pain - known by the German word schadenfreude - permeates our society.
Regular Price:$17.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Few people will easily admit to taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others. But who doesn't enjoy it when an arrogant but untalented contestant is humiliated on American Idol, or when the embarrassing vice of a self-righteous politician is exposed, or even when an envied friend suffers a small setback? The truth is that joy in someone else's pain - known by the German word schadenfreude - permeates our society.

In The Joy of Pain, psychologist Richard Smith, one of the world's foremost authorities on envy and shame, sheds much light on a feeling we dare not admit. Smith argues that schadenfreude is a natural human emotion, one worth taking a closer look at, as it reveals much about who we are as human beings. We have a passion for justice. Sometimes, schadenfreude can feel like getting one's revenge, when the suffering person has previously harmed us. But most of us are also motivated to feel good about ourselves, Smith notes, and look for ways to maintain a positive sense of self. One common way to do this is to compare ourselves to others and find areas where we are better.

Similarly, the downfall of others - especially when they have seemed superior to us - can lead to a boost in our self-esteem, a lessening of feelings of inferiority. This is often at the root of schadenfreude. As the author points out, most instances of schadenfreude are harmless, on par with the pleasures of light gossip. Yet we must also be mindful that envy can motivate, without full awareness, the engineering of the misfortune we delight in. And envy-induced aggression can take us into dark territory indeed, as Smith shows as he examines the role of envy and schadenfreude in the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

Filled with engaging examples of schadenfreude, from popular reality shows to the Duke-Kentucky basketball rivalry, The Joy of Pain provides an intriguing glimpse into a hidden corner of the human psyche.

©2013 Oxford University Press (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (10 )
5 star
 (4)
4 star
 (2)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (0)
Overall
3.8 (9 )
5 star
 (3)
4 star
 (3)
3 star
 (1)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.2 (9 )
5 star
 (4)
4 star
 (3)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Smithep 06-11-14
    Smithep 06-11-14 Member Since 2012

    Cire

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "excellent content and performance"
    What did you love best about The Joy of Pain?

    This book has a number of excellent qualities. It brings to the surface a prevalent emotion which is nonetheless frequently denied or underreported. It blends recent scientific research with many interesting and telling historical, literary, and contemporary examples. The author's prose style is engaging but understated. The narrator does an excellent job as well. He has a good feel for the topic, and I liked the engaging way he emphasized the key points.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.