“In this fascinating psychological and social history, Storr reveals how biology and culture conspire to keep us striving for perfection, and the devastating toll that can take.” —The Washington Post
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—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.