Selfie: How the West Became Self-Obsessed (Paperback)Will Storr (author)
We 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 by Will Storr 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 - our self.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 284 g
Dimensions: 196 x 130 x 27 mm
'Selfie illuminates much of what feels peculiar about the world in 2017...This could be a pessimistic book. In fact, its insights are timely and welcome' - Richard Godwin, Sunday Times
'As entertaining as it is provocative and disquieting . . . His breezy prose is bedded down in intensive research, much of it immersive . . . his closing thoughts can't help but be comforting' - Mail on Sunday
'Storr has done huge amounts of research for this book . . . he conveys it with a gifted lightness of touch that is wry and funny (his investigative mode has been compared to those of Jon Ronson and Louis Theroux, with which I wouldn't disagree)' - The Times
'Thoughtful and engaging . . . wonderfully funny . . . Storr's cultural history is fascinating' - Guardian
'...an excellent antidote to time-wasting on social media' - Financial Times
'Selfie is profound, uncomfortable, joyful, frustrating, fascinating, fragmented, inspired, heartbreaking, and occasionally riven with internal contradictions. Just like a person, really.' - Helen Lewis, New Statesman
'Brilliant . . . There aren't many authors who can range so confidently across disciplines and, if you go with the flow, you'll encounter some fascinating nuggets along the way . . . inspiring' - Rohan Silva, Evening Standard
'A hellishly good book about the new hell: ourselves' - Daily Express
'A fascinating, timely exploration of our drive for status, perfection and self-esteem, and a consideration of where such obsessions lead' - Esquire
'Will Storr crafts an entertaining history of the self, from Narcissus to Kardashian to Trump' - Observer
'A hugely important subject, and a compelling one . . . always entertainingly delivered thanks to Storr's rich reporting. More than that, by taking a hammer to the sacred idea of the self - by putting culture back in the picture - Storr provides a much-needed corrective to our understanding of who we are. For that reason alone, Selfie should be welcomed.' - Literary Review
'A timely, inspiring book about self-obsession in modern life' - Harper's Bazaar
'A broad-ranging history of the western self, from the age of Aristotle to the age of Instagram . . . Storr builds a convincing case that free will is an illusion, change is impossible and our entire political system is built on a lie. But he's funny with it' - Richard Godwin, Evening Standard
'There are some real insights about how stories, social rules, cultural norms and role models affect our attitude to ourselves . . . because he puts it into a long, historical perspective, even nitwits with selfie sticks become a bit more interesting to think about . . . a good read' - Libby Purves, Daily Mail
You may also be interested in...
“One of my favourite non-fiction reads”
Will Storr sets himself a formidable task; to understand why it is that the Western world has become so self-obsessed, and with it, so anxious. Starting in Ancient Greece, he traces the rise of a culture of... More
“Really well researched, empathetic writing”
In Selfie, Will Storr looks to explore self obsession in the modern world and does so in an extremely well researched and clearly written way. His approach is empathetic and thoughtful but also doesn't pull any... More
Please sign in to write a review
Would you like to proceed to the App store to download the Waterstones App?