Joe's Reviews > The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations

The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch
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's review
Oct 17, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: sociology, psychology
Read in May, 2010

What a pity that a book about a very fascinating concept should turn out so awful; readers, be sure you have your PhDs in sociology, psychology, and vocabulary before embarking on this journey. The book is more dense than a black hole. I couldn't tell what the author was trying to say at all, his arguments are not easy to follow, etc. I feel like the author used this book as an ostentatious display of his own intelligence instead of a means of explaining his ideas.
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12/30/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Lauren (last edited May 10, 2010 08:02AM) (new)

Lauren Glad to know your thoughts of this - I'd considered reading this but will now be taking a pass.

message 2: by Joe (new) - rated it 1 star

Joe I think that you and I could probably get through this book if we needed to, but considering as how this is not "required reading", there is no way I'll go any further with it. It's just totally inaccessible for people with little knowledge of sociology.

message 3: by Lauren (new)

Lauren I have little desire to read the literary equivalent of a Corvette to bolster someone's ego. The older I get, the more I believe that truly intelligent people can write books that are easily accessible to most educated individuals. Writing is a form of communication, and if an author can't communicate to his or her audience, I really do wonder how skilled an author actually is.

That said, I look forward to your thoughts on the Darwin Conspiracy - that's another one that's been on my "maybe I'll read it" list, and now I'm waiting for your opinion.

trivialchemy Come on. Lasch did not write this book to "bolster his ego." You thought the book was unnecessarily dense, fine. You lacked the technical background in sociology and psychology to follow some of his clinical arguments, fine. It doesn't follow that the author sits around chuckling about how clever he is. This is one of the monumental works on the American psyche, and to criticize the author outright simply because you struggled with it comes off as pretty childish.

message 5: by Partha (new)

Partha Banerjee Indeed. This book has at most a few pages with "dense" freudian terminology. The large part of the book is about American society and the archetypes it engenders written in a simple language with extremely profound insights. You just need to be patient sometimes to absorb what he says.

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