Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It's Doing to Us
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.
This bold book explores the mysterious power of the self and reveals the danger of our modern obsession with it.
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 Will Storr has a gift. He's written an interesting and absorbing book without sacrificing scientific rigour. I'll be recommending it widely. -- Professor Constantine Sedikides, Director of the Centre for Research on Self Identity, University of Southampton 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
Will Storr is a longform journalist and novelist. His features have appeared in various publications, including the Guardian, The Times, Observer, GQ, Marie Claire and the Sydney Morning Herald. He is a contributing editor at Esquire magazine. He has been named New Journalist of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year, and has won a National Press Club award for excellence. In 2010, his investigation into the kangaroo meat industry won the Australian Food Media award for Best Investigative Journalism and in 2012 he was presented with the One World Press award and the Amnesty International award for his work for the Observer on sexual violence against men. In 2013, his BBC radio series 'An Unspeakable Act' won the AIB award for best investigative documentary.
** Section - i: A note on the text* Chapter - Book Zero: The Dying Self* Chapter - Book One: The Tribal Self* Chapter - Book Two: The Perfectible Self* Chapter - Book Three: The Bad Self* Chapter - Book Four: The Good Self* Chapter - Book Five: The Special Self* Chapter - Book 6: The Digital Self* Chapter - Book Seven: How To Stay Alive in the Age of Perfectionism** Acknowledgements - ii: Acknowledgements* Section - iii: A note on my methods* Section - iv: Notes and references* Index - v: Index