“Understanding the narcissism epidemic is important because its long-term consequences are destructive to society. American culture’s focus on self-admiration has caused a flight from reality to the land of grandiose fantasy. We have phony rich people (with interest-only mortgages and piles of debt), phony beauty (with plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures), phony athletes (with performance-enhancing drugs), phony celebrities (via reality TV and YouTube), phony genius students (with grade inflation), a phony national economy (with $11 trillion of government debt), phony feelings of being special among children (with parenting and education focused on self-esteem), and phony friends (with the social networking explosion). All this fantasy might feel good, but, unfortunately, reality always wins. The mortgage meltdown and the resulting financial crisis are just one demonstration of how inflated desires eventually crash to earth.”
~ Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. & W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D. from The Narcissism Epidemic
Twenge and Campbell are two of the world’s leading researchers on the science of narcissism and this is a really powerful, eye-opening book. (Especially if you notice some narcissistic tendencies you have as you read the book… Like I might have! :)
With a super smart, direct and funny style, the authors give us an overview of the narcissism epidemic in America. The book begns with “The Diagnosis” then describes the “Root Causes of the Epidemic” and “Symptoms of Narcissism” before wrapping up with “Prognosis and Treatment.” It’s densely packed with goodness.
In this Note, we’re going to take a quick look at the attributes and causes of narcissism then focus on what we can DO about it.
This is one of those books where, even with a 60-page Note we’d barely scratch the surface of all the wisdom. So, if you’re feelin’ it and are interested in really understanding this complex issue, I HIGHLY recommend the book.
For now, let’s jump in! We’ll kick it off by quickly defining narcissism:
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