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.
Exclusive to the audiobook, Selfie includes a unique 15-minute interview with the author, Will Storr, and reader, Jack Hawkins.
Selfie is far more ambitious than its title might suggest: a serious (although funny) philosophical and psychological inquiry into consciousness. Storr has taken perhaps the most interesting subject (who we are and how we feel about it) and pieced together an overarching narrative from the latest neuroscientific research, smart reporting and careful selections of his personal history. It illuminates much of what feels peculiar about the world in 2017 . . . [Storr] has put in a formidable amount of work, he is irascibly good company, and he has something approaching genius for marshalling his material . . . This could be a pessimistic book. In fact, its insights are timely and welcome
Richard Godwin, Sunday Times
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) . . . entertaining . . . fascinating
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