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The Selfish Society: How We All Forgot to Love One Another and Made Money Instead

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  81 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Author and respected psychologist Sue Gerhardt goes to the heart of the causes of broken Britain

Ambitious and wide-ranging, The Selfish Society reveals the vital importance of understanding our early emotional lives, arguing that by focusing on the attention we give to our young children we can create a better society. Open any newspaper, and what do you find? Violence and
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Paperback, 388 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Simon & Schuster UK (first published April 1st 2010)
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Amanda Copeland

Came across this author when I read 'Why Love Matters' a favourite book of mine.

Sue Gerhardt's polemic is an unusual thing: it not only pinpoints what is wrong, but also suggests ways to put it right. Her argument is that society has created "selfish" beings of us, and not, as some evolutionary theorists might assert, that we are genetically selfish. By lightly tracing the history of capitalism, she shows how we have arrived at the present condition, where we shop to make ourselves feel less lon
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James Perkins
Oct 12, 2011 James Perkins rated it liked it
This book argues that antisocial adults are the clear result of poor quality parenting - no surprises there - but Gerhardt provides the scientific evidence to back her thesis up. There is also research which supports the idea that the relentless pursuit of capitalism, a fairly recent phenomenon in western culture, has so distanced people from their human emotional needs that we have become a society of selfish individuals, ignorant of and uncaring towards others' wellbeing. I'm not convinced tha ...more
Alan Hughes
This really is a book of two halves. The first half relating to child-development and the second a political treatise.

The first half is well written and well researched. It is lucid and contains a good degree of common sense regarding child-development. She does tend to be uncritical of biological facts and theories and argues often well beyond the evidence base in this area. However, on issues of child rearing, parenting roles or the place of the infant in society there is a deal of good inform
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Douglas
Apr 08, 2010 Douglas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A highly knowledgable and passionate account of how parenting in the first two years of a child's life influences the resultant shape of society as a whole as individuals emerge. Without a single strong emotional relationship the child will lack in its emotional development and fail to develop empathy. The results of these failures can be seen in our current consumerist capitalist society. This is not a book that will be favoured by feminists or captains of industry or finance but I await review ...more
Jennifer
Sep 03, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
I found this book quite hard going but not in the way I expected. I'd found her book "Why Love Matters" to be very dense and unappealing considering my feelings about the subject matter and as this book is a kind of extension, I feared more of the same.

The main message of the book is that the environment we create for very young infants has long term repercussions for society and indeed global functioning - but that parenting in such a way as to foster a better society is hard for those who have
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Maggie Hyam
A interesting read discussing how society has evolved into more selfish/isolated units and how parenting, the coming of capitalism along with progress and more wealth in the west has contributed to it. It certainly makes you think where it could all end and what life will be like living in a society where self is put first.
Bart
Nov 27, 2011 Bart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
A warm plea for a stronger ethic of care within family, social and political life. Main focus on the types of parenting and the underestimated and under-supported influence of child-rearing in the first 2 two years of a newborn. Recommended for future parents.
Julia
Jan 28, 2013 Julia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although I largely agree with Sue Gerhardt's idea that as a society we need to nurture children more so that we don't continue on our current uber-selfish track, I found this book a bit simplistic, worthy and unremarkable.
John
Mar 20, 2011 John rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
An interesting read, thought provoking for parents and non-parents alike. Raises some interesting points on the future direction our society could take... Possibly worth a re-read in a few months time.
Lamak
very enlightening
Laetitia
Mar 25, 2013 Laetitia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting!
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