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Selfie

How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It's Doing To Us
Narrated by: Shaun Grindell
Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins
4 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

We are living in an age of heightened individualism. Success is a personal responsibility. Our culture tells us that to succeed is to be slim, rich, happy, extroverted, popular, and flawless. We have become self-obsessed. And our expectation of perfection comes at a cost. Millions are suffering under the torture of this impossible fantasy. The pressure to conform to this ideal has changed who we are.  

It was not always like this. To explain how we got here, award-winning journalist Will Storr leads us on a "terrific tour through the history of self-obsession" (NPR, On Point) that explores the origins of this notion of the perfect self that torments so many of us: Where does this ideal come from? Why is it so powerful? Is there any way to break its spell?  

Full of thrilling and unexpected connections among history, psychology, economics, neuroscience, and more, Selfie is an unforgettable book that makes sense of who we have become. Ranging 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, Selfie tells the epic tale of the person we all know so intimately - because it's us.

©2018 Will Storr (P)2018 Tantor

Critic Reviews

" . . . [P]lacing this symbol of millennial narcissism in a larger cultural story... Selfie traces selfie culture to the self-esteem movement." (The New Yorker)

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  • Overall
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I didn’t know I needed this book

Storr gave me a lot to think about. Highlights for me were the concept of confabulation and our brains as unreliable narrators, the examination of neoliberal ideals setting the bar on the worth of an individual, one of the better explanations for the impact of social media on our sense of belonging and safety, and thoughts on what it means to be a neurotic person.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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If you like Jon Ronson, you’ll like this book

Will Storr is a journalist, and as such, his book takes an anecdotal angle to the rise of the western sense of self. It is fascinating, engaging, and enlightening. He does not aim to preach or accuse. He does not vilify millennials or claim that we are all entitled and self-obsessed. He *does* make astute and non-threatening observations throughout, with self-awareness and humour!

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sounds like a robot.

terrible listening experience. this sounds ridiculous. my GPS could do a better job. the book, however, is great.

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Very heavy

I have two master's degrees, and I struggled to understand this book and material. I don't think I'm particularly obtuse, but the subject was murky. I heard about the book on NPR, and was so excited. this was such a letdown.

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Finally! It all makes sense!

The depth of research and rich analysis done by Storr culminates in a historical, psychological, anthropological, and neurological conclusion that finally makes sense of these seemingly senseless, unsure and insecure times.