Monica's Reviews > The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement

The Narcissism Epidemic by Jean M. Twenge
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Jun 06, 09

it was amazing
Read in June, 2009

The thing about clueless people is that they are clueless and go merrily along. Much the same can be said for narcissists. As the authors of the book say, you can tell them that narcissism is not healthy but they'll just say you're wrong. Even so, this is a topic worth exploring with them. There's something in this book that is bound to upset someone, but I found it very enlightening. The authors previously wrote a book on a generation of narcissists, so this one focuses on how American culture has adopted narcissistic values. Some chapters are dry discussions of methodology and scientific studies (scientific surveys/data, charts and graphs), and that's important to keep in mind. It's written by two professors who are trying to present an academically rigorous discussion. But it also has chapters that have very interesting real-life examples to illustrate their statistical evidence. I found the chapter on the myth that you have to be narcissistic to be successful very interesting. So much so that I think I will distribute it to my students. (In my modern world history class they read _Compassion_ by Henri Nouwen, et al, and many struggle with his first chapter on how competition and compassion are mutually exclusive traits. They have bought into the idea that you have to be competitive in order to succeed and success is measured materially--very ironic for self-identifying Christians. I think this chapter will add another twist.) I also liked the chapter on how religion fits into the discussion. What they argue may surprise you. And finally they have chapters on the prognosis and cure for our cultural narcissism. I highly recommend this book. At the very least it will get you thinking. PS I recently read a blog where this book was cited (and I believe slightly misrepresented) and some of the responses were quite heated. Some find this book and its argument almost un-American.
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message 1: by THE (new)

THE Sounds like an excellent book to use in commenting on America in the early 21st century from not only a sociological but political perspective. I can understand the view of it being un-American where access, excess, and success seem always to be related among the elite.

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