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Selfie

How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It's Doing to Us
Narrated by: Jack Hawkins
Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (318 ratings)

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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)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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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.

18 people found this 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.

12 people found this helpful

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Great book... horrible title

I was unsure where this was going but it came together beautifully it the last few chapters. The narrator also seems the perfect match for the material.

Only negative is that the title makes it sound unsubstantial or light weight which is absolutely not the case.

10 people found this 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.

7 people found this helpful

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Great content but wish I'd read it instead

Fascinating content, but I wish I had just read this one as throughout the audiobook the narrator puts on accents for contributors which range from comical to mildly offensive and really took me out of the story. Muddled through as it was so interesting but the dodgy accents were mildly infuriating.

6 people found this 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.

6 people found this helpful

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Fascinating account - perhaps too long

The book overall is really fascinating. I learned so much new about or Western Self. The only downer are some veeery long passages, in particular about Eselan, that should have been shortened. I don‘t need to know entire histories in order to get the gist.
Also a few times too biased. To discredit safe spaces at universities by using the most ridiculous examples is very deceptive.

5 people found this helpful

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  • SV
  • 05-08-19

excellent

Exceptional performance of a beautifully written and thought-provoking book. Was a pleasure to listen to and would definitely recommend.

4 people found this helpful

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Thought Provoking and Profound

Thank you Will Storr for writing this book. There is a lot to think about here for all of us living in the modern age. Will change how you see yourself and others, in positive and honest way

4 people found this helpful

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A very interesting listen

This is not a self help book but more of an account of the authors journey into discovering more about his own self esteem issues. It deals with things from suicide to the social media addiction.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-02-19

History book of individual human

Great start and great ending. Had a bit hard time in the middle. Connecting some stories to the whole was not easy-going ride. Still would recommend and suggest to just jump chapter if it gets to too much history. The story is jumping anyway, so you can just start the next.

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  • Femke
  • 27-01-19

Absolutely reassuring

I loved this book so much, especially the exposure of the self esteem task force (groundbreaking!), the journey throughout history, the humor and how this focus on individualism influences our mental states. Found it greatly reassuring to hear my instincts on achievable goals don't have anything to do with 'underestimating yourself' or anything like that. Must read if you ever feel like not being enough, whilst you got the feeling you should be capable of being anyone you imagine.

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  • Gregor
  • 05-06-18

Highly recommended book

As someone very interested in personality, the social sciences in general, l really enjoyed this book.
It was interesting to hear that the author is is a high neurotic personality type like myself and learning about this through his experiences and views helped me tremendously. The narrator is also fantastic.