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

The Narcissism Epidemic by Jean M. Twenge
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Jul 02, 2011

This is pop psychology, so don't expect a sophisticated analysis of what really does seem to be a trending problem. I like the structure of the book--diagnosis, etiology, remedies--but the ideas falling under the latter two categories are disappointing in their superficiality. The authors do a very fine job of outlining the problem, providing plenty of anecdotal and research evidence of increased and increasing narcissism. Some of their ideas about the causes of this--e.g., "you deserve it" consumerism egged on by advertising--are excellent. But--uh oh!--they decline to identify capitalism itself, which is founded upon the rock of selfish accumulation, as a causal factor. Speaking of foundational rocks, they treat old-school Christianity (which teaches people that God created the world for them and is personally concerned about their most minute thoughts) as a potential remedy rather than a cause of the problem. This fits with the undercurrent of politically conservative crankiness which runs through the book, and in my view undercuts the cogent arguments that they do offer. Finally, given that lack of empathy for others is a defining feature of narcissism, I am struck by the authors' lack of empathy for clinical (as opposed to cultural) narcissism. Apart from a few good points about parenting trends that probably do foster narcissism, their advice mostly boils down to "run away from narcissists as fast as you can." Give this book to anybody who might accidentally be raising a narcissistic child or if you want tips on dealing with a narcissistic boss or coworker. Skip it if you're looking for any kind of in-depth analysis of either clinical or cultural narcissism.
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Started Reading
June 28, 2011 – Finished Reading
July 2, 2011 – Shelved

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message 1: by Aga (new) - rated it 2 stars

Aga And it should be labeled as pop psychology with autobiographic parts so I would have known to avoid it, but it wasn't labeled so.

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