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Selfie : how we became so self-obsessed and what it's doing to us / Will Storr.

By: Storr, Will [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London, England : Picador, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, 2017Copyright date: ©2017Description: 397 pages ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781447283645; 1447283643; 9781447283652; 1447283651.Subject(s): Self-perception | Self-presentation | Self-portraits -- Social aspects | Self-portraits -- Psychological aspects | Social mediaDDC classification: 155.2 Summary: 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.
List(s) this item appears in: 4. Rivercity Press Reviews
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Non-Fiction 155.2 STO Checked out 04/05/2018

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

A compelling new work about the mysterious power of the self and the danger of our modern obsession with it, from the author of The Heretics."So interesting I literally couldn't put it down." Sunday TimesWe live in the age of the individual.We are supposed to be slim, prosperous, happy, extroverted and popular. This is our culture's image of the perfect self. We see this person everywhere: in advertising, in the press, all over social media. We're told that to be this person you just have to follow your dreams, that our potential is limitless, that we are the source of our own success.But this model of the perfect self can be extremely dangerous. People are suffering under the torture of this impossible fantasy. Unprecedented social pressure is leading to increases in depression and suicide. Where does this ideal come from? Why is it so powerful? Is there any way to break its spell?To answer these questions, Selfie takes us from the shores of Ancient Greece, through the Christian Middle Ages, to the self-esteem evangelists of 1980s California, the rise of narcissism and the selfie generation, and right up to the era of hyper-individualistic neoliberalism in which we live now. It tells the extraordinary story of the person we all know so intimately - ourselves.MORE PRAISE FOR SELFIE"Will Storr is a versatile, imaginative, committed long-form journalist with a populist touch ... a talented, ambitious writer." Independent"Storr can open chapters like a stage conjurer, and his prose has an easy, laconic style embracing Jon Ronson's taste for the fabulously weird and Louis Theroux's ability to put his subjects at ease. He is a funny and companionable guide" Guardian"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, author of The Nix"Moving, wise, compelling and timely, this brilliant and absorbing book investigates the faultline between our oldest human needs and the terrible pressures of technology" Marcel Theroux"Selfie also has shades of Jon Ronson in its subversive humour and investigative spirit ... Selfie, without being remotely fluffy, just might be the ultimate in post-truth comfort reading" Bookseller"I've come to consider Will Storr the best writer out there in terms of writing about human experience and the concepts and complexities of psychology. I've never seen such a well-thought-through and well-argued piece of work as Selfie, really taking ideas around self-esteem back to their philosophical and historical origins - and pulling them all to pieces. I loved it." Professor Sophie Scott, Deputy Director, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London"You'll find yourself repeating entire sections of Selfie to your friends, and passing them off as your own." Cosmopolitan

Includes bibliographical references and index.

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.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Kirkus Book Review

Studying self-image from a variety of perspectives.The idea of the self has long fascinated British novelist and journalist Storr (The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science, 2014), and he scrutinizes the topic through both historical and contemporary lenses. The author probes themes of identity and reputation in an anthropologically sound examination of the ancestral tribal brain and the inherent nature of humans to become preoccupied with perfectionism and outward perception. He traces ideas of self-imagery and cultural influence back to ancient Greece, contrasts Confucian and Aristotelian principles, and looks at the work of Ayn Rand. He intermingles these notions with a chronicle of his conversation with a brutish former club bouncer whose violently aggressive demeanor, according to psychologists, stems from low self-esteem issues. Some scientists argue for the significance of threatened masculinity and ego, which correlates to Storr's introduction to the personal growth-focused Esalen Institute, whose main intent remains to improve attendees' general self-esteem. The author's immersion in the encounter groups at the facility's "Big Yurt" provides a revealing look at the individualistic author himself. In another self-commentary, he equates his extra belly fat with a "moral transgression," a failure to match the historically and culturally normative blueprint of what his body should resemble. Reflections on neoliberalism follow a discussion of his extended stay at Silicon Valley's Rainbow Mansion tech commune, where a millennial narcissist obsessively takes hundreds of selfies daily, continually incentivized by social media's virtual validation. The book is uncommonly structured into large segments with text that often glides into a stream-of-consciousness flow, featuring ideas and points of reference that correlate but sometimes seem haphazardly arranged. Nonetheless, Storr continually delivers rich insights, historically grounded conclusions, and more contemporary deliberations on his subject's relevance to the Trump campaign and how to stay hopeful living in a me-first world.Captivating, self-reflective research on our culture of rampant egocentricity. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.