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Summary

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 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 hyperindividualistic neoliberalism in which we live now.

It tells the extraordinary story of the person we all know so intimately - our self.

Exclusive to the audiobook, Selfie includes a unique 15-minute interview with the author, Will Storr, and reader, Jack Hawkins.

©2017 Will Storr (P)2017 Macmillan Digital Audio

Critic reviews

"Fascinating." ( The Times)
"Thoughtful and engaging." ( Guardian)
"Brilliant." ( Evening Standard)
"Electrifying." ( Financial Times)
"Approaching genius." ( Sunday Times)

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What members say

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Brilliant

This is one of the best audiobooks I have listened to - and I've listened to a lot! A fantastic combination of sociology, psychology and history - with a bit of politics and economics thrown in. This is the first time I've listened to a book and found it resonating with me, personally ("but that's ME") in places.

A few bonuses - his concise dissections of the financial crisis and the Brexit / Trump phenomenons are pithy and eminently quotable. Also Jack Hawkins reading - and his novel interview with Storr right at the end - are both fabulous.

Oh, and my score was 7 out of 40. Listen to the book, and you'll know what I mean.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A book for for our Time

Thought provoking, revealing and enjoyable. We are not who we think we are, we are not even what others think we are - We are what we think others think we are - This and the destruction of the scientific base for the Rogerian philosophy of Total Positive Regard are significant revelations. Well argued, compelling story telling at its best and isn't that what we have relied upon to form our opinions through the ages. Absolutely worth the read.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A calming exciting truth.

A refreshing eye-opener with some calming truths. Refreshing to hear solidly researched material in our world of spin and nonsense. l loved it. Thank you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful book about the self and all those other selfs

I once had the privilege of seeing the author reading and talk about his previous book 'the heretics' in a Birmingham pub about people who have different and unusual belief systems that favour those more of conspiracy theory than reality. His new book looks more at the self and the self in society. I found it a wonderful book. Looking at a range of selfs (e.g. the dying self, the perfectible self, the good / bad / digital self) telling stories that tell us about ourself and the society we live in. The section on self belief and the story of John Vasconcellos and Storr's trip to a movement where we behave as something else are both diverting and bonkers and we live is strange times (just as we always have). Storr has a wonderful way of writing that can cover both factual information and stories that help highlight and picture the many nuggets of information of which highlight who and what we are. Highly recommended. I loved it and learnt a lot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A journey through the psychology of self

The story slows down towards the middle of the book only to pick up at the last couple of chapters. Overall it is a good account of how our sense of self evolved with time.

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really insightful

Jack's voice is really easy listening and Will Storr' s investigations and story is really insightful. definitely made me think differently and readjust my expectations on myself!

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So so good

Couldn't recommend this book more - favourite non fiction I've ever read! And the voice over provides really entertaining voices for different people who are interviewed. Really enjoyed and learnt a lot

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Abandon hope all ye who download here

I have no idea why, but at some point in the production of this audiobook, an executive decision was made to have the narrator dramatically ‘perform’ the voices in the text. So even though this is a non-fiction book on a serious subject, you get a caricature feminine Deep South accent reading the real account of an attempted suicide, or a tentative Scottish lilt when a Glaswegian researcher recounts their academic findings. It makes the whole thing jarringly comic in the context of the subject, and unlistenable if you just wanted to hear some interesting non-fiction read like every other non-fiction audiobook you’ve ever listened to. This is the only audiobook I’ve ever abandoned on the grounds of the way it’s read.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful