The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations

The Culture of Narcissism American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations When The Culture of Narcissism was first published it was clear that Christopher Lasch had identified something important what was happening to American society in the wake of the decline of the fami

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When The Culture of Narcissism was first published, it was clear that Christopher Lasch had identified something important what was happening to American society in the wake of the decline of the family over the last century.The book quickly became a bestseller This edition includes a new afterword, The Culture of Narcissism Revisited.
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    Christopher Lasch
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    Published :2018-03-13T16:18:35+00:00

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  • Szplug says:

    I read this book and thought This is a good book.I read this book and thought I've learned from this book.I read this book and thought Kit Lasch is the bomb.I read this book and thought Man can be as slippery as Saturday's soap.I read this book and thought Man can be as silly as Bugsy Malone.I read this book and thought This is a serious book, with serious thoughts, and serious insights, and here I am chewing gum and popping bubbles.I read this book and thought I really like this book. It's aces [...]

  • Thomas Fortenberry says:

    I would give this book five stars but there was not enough about me in it.

  • Justin Evans says:

    Lasch, on the evidence of this book, is the American Adorno. He writes in a similar style; each sentence is perfectly formed, but often not so well connected to the preceding and following sentences. He has no patience for the conservative/progressive distinction, and would rather discuss the effects of an idea or practice rather than immediately laud or damn it (so, for instance, 'feminism' isn't abruptly praised or scornfully ignored; rather, the difficulties of putting feminist doctrine into [...]

  • Bettie☯ says:

    Description from Robert Reich:In 1979, when 33-year-old Donald Trump was building Trump Tower -- his first big narcissistic project -- sociologist Christopher Lasch published “The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations.”In his book, Lasch argued that a host of economic factors, especially rampant consumerism, had made people self-obsessed, hyper-competitive, cut off from reality, erratic, unempathetic, angry, and vindictive. As a result, he wrote, “truth [...]

  • Steve Stein says:

    Now this is fun. Published in 1979, this is a classic "curmudgeon book". Lasch excoriates everything about modern life in an innovative way, combining a conservative respect for traditional life and morality with Freudian and to a lesser extent Marxist perspectives. The main argument: we are all narcissists. We have deep issues with self-esteem, are consumed with appearance instead of character, and are constantly in need of approval. Due to the demands of business, people are alienated from the [...]

  • John David says:

    Christopher Lasch’s “The Culture of Narcissism” was originally published in 1979, and has been a major cynosure of cultural and social criticism ever since. English literary critic Frank Kermode called it, not inaccurately, a “hellfire sermon.” It is a wholesale indictment of contemporary American culture. It also happens to fall into a group of other books which share the same body of concerns that I have been working my way through, or around, in recent months: Daniel Boorstin’s [...]

  • Kate Hoffman says:

    This hyper-technical book about the psychology of the current state of the Selfish Union has been really, really hard for me to get into. But I'm wading along, hopefully learning something about you, me and everyone we know.**Update: May, 2012**Jesus, I'm STILL not done with this book. :) But it is thoroughly fascinating, and worth the time it is taking me to fully digest what is being discussed. I often find I really have to re-read entire pages a few times for it all to sink in. I also am so i [...]

  • Murtaza says:

    I was surprisingly a little underwhelmed by this book, not because its insights and criticisms didn't ring true but rather because they all seemed quite familiar already. This could probably be attributable to the fact that it was written several decades ago and the arguments have already been internalized by the broader culture (even if changes haven't really been effectuated). After reading Patrick Deneen's "Why Liberalism Failed," this book seemed like a more granular retread of some of the p [...]

  • Jayesh says:

    Important read for me personally. Forced me to rethink about a lot of my beliefs. Despite being originally published in 1979, little of this thoughtful analysis of American culture has dated surprisingly. It's kind of eerie, honestly, to see all the current artifacts, from Trump to MRA to identity politics. I can understand that it can come across as an old man curmudgeonly ranting at the world and the Freudian psychobabble doesn't help. But if you ignore that (although Lasch is guilty of taking [...]

  • Sean Chick says:

    A stunning work, written by a man who defies our current definitions of conservative and liberal, which were born in the 1960s. The issues Lasch raises still plague us today because we have elevated capitalism to a religion and the baby boomers, who Lasch consistently blasts, are now in full control. If this book were written in 2012 it would still make sense.None of this means the book is perfect. Lasch discusses obscure thinkers without describing their ideas. He is too Freudian and his afterw [...]

  • Beatrix says:

    This is what I live in. (Even if I don't live in the US.) (Or perhaps this is what we all live in, but I'd rather just speak for myself.)And this is an excellent book. I've got this theory that the best non-fiction books are the ones that don't tell me anything I don't already know, but they are great because they can explain what I already know and what I experience everyday, while I can't do this. I can only express my dissatisfaction and the constant feeling of "what the hell is going on?" in [...]

  • Nathan Duffy says:

    Chock full of trenchant insights about what forms and constitutes our cultural narcissism. A tad too much Freud and Marx for my taste, but even those frameworks are utilized deftly.

  • Alex Stroshine says:

    Christopher Lasch unleashes a brisk polemic against the proliferation of narcissism in American culture. Lasch examines how pathological narcissism has affected labour, sport, sex and especially the family (no wonder he was so admired by conservative Christians; although not a believer himself, his analysis of the foibles of liberal permissiveness are exceptional). Although virtually all the individuals Lasch mentions and engages with have passed from the limelight, the tendencies and ideologies [...]

  • Cary says:

    A couple times I almost tossed this aside, but then I rather liked it in the end.At times it seemed ranty and overly focused on the 70s. At others, and sometimes simultaneously, it seemed like it could've been written last year and was a cogent criticism of modern society--in some ways worse in the exact ways the author criticized forty years ago.Lasch deploys liberal and conservative criticism alike -- sounding almost Marxian in his criticisms of capitalism at times and Reaganesque in his comme [...]

  • Liam says:

    "The romantic cult of sincerity and authenticity tore away the masks that people once had worn in public and eroded the boundary between public and private life. As the public world came to be seen as a mirror of the self, people lost the capacity for detachment and hence for playful encounter, which presupposes a certain distance from the self. In our won time, according to Sennett, relations in public, conceived as a form of self-revelation, have become deadly serious. Conversation takes on th [...]

  • Emily says:

    Sometimes I felt the author was trying too hard to write complex words, but nonetheless, the meaning behind his writing was enlightening. Some of the comments Lasch writes, I do not agree with and find them a far stretch to explain the complexity of our generation or even human nature. I always thought the definition of narcissism was simply "someone who is self-absorbed." This book explains the more complex meaning of a narcissist. Almost makes a person want to diagnose themselves as such. If y [...]

  • Stephen Hicks says:

    Written in 1978, Culture of Narcissism is as pertinent, prophetic, and poignant as ever it seems. And while that is a credit to Mr. Lasch, it is a warning to American society. I can't even begin to outline specific sections that were especially cogent and acerbic, but the chapters on education, sports, and reproduction left deep impressions on my understanding of the current ailments wreaking havoc on modern America. This book is strikingly apolitical as well. It does not point to the Left or th [...]

  • Chris J says:

    I have read a decent number of cultural studies and critiques, but none as clinical nor focused on the psyche of the modern American. Its novelty in that regard, as well as its genius, make it required reading for any student of American culture. While it has its share of challenging sections, I found that it was largely accessible to a layman like myself, suitable for the intellectual undergrad and beyond. I feel Lasch would be fine with me combining his words to define narcissism as "An intens [...]

  • Austin Burbridge says:

    A bore. Reader, pass by! This farrago of ludicrous banalities could have been a good book: interesting, informative, critical. Instead, the author has squandered the opportunity — and the reader's time — with two hundred and sixty-eight dull pages of pompous, pious, neo-conservative cant. It's barber-shop talk — Sunday-school self-righteousness — gussied up in the pretentious, pseudo-academic argot of the chattering classes of New York City, circa 1979, with a liberal garnish of end n [...]

  • Adam says:

    Probably Lasch's most famous work, this is also, I think, the most easily misunderstood. The titular "narcissism" is decidedly not vanity; Narcissus's fatal weakness was not the admiration of his reflection, but his inability to tell where his reflection ended and his face started. The Minimal Self (the third book in Lasch's trilogy, which began with Haven in a Heartless World) contains a more mature and, in my opinion, more precise formulation of the critique of the self found in Culture. Cultu [...]

  • Oliver Bateman says:

    A bit dated, sure, but: SO. FREAKING. GREAT. Outrage without solutions? Check. Thoroughgoing critique of modern life without praising the past or providing any optimism about the future whatsoever? Check. Leftist writing so moralistic and judgmental that it's essentially paleoconservatism? Check and MATE, brahski. Read this one. It's fun, fun, fun. We're all doomed, but hey, we never had a chance in the first place. Vitam continet una dies (lawlz).

  • Joe says:

    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.

  • Peter says:

    And I thought I was a pessimist

  • Brandy says:

    It’s rare that I find myself simultaneously in such deep agreement and disagreement with an author. How I wish Lasch had been writing today; I would love to read his takes on our current leadership and bizarre cults of personality. His insights into public egos are many, and he has a certain approach to discussions of politics and social capital which I enjoy deeply. But there is also a strange thread of nostalgia for some “golden age” of the past at times that strikes me as both odd and o [...]

  • mark says:

    Can I give this six stars? I highly recommend this book for all serious, critical thinkers – now more than ever – even after forty years. The “culture of narcissism” in America has exploded beyond anyone’s imagination, would anyone disagree? But beware – this critique isn’t about the 45th president, Donald J. Trump, he was just getting started when the book was written, no it’s about you. Yes, you can recognize elements of Trump’s personality here, but as I’ve written about e [...]

  • Daniel says:

    When I began reading this book, I had a hard time believing it was published in the 70s. Excepting the references to Vietnam or Quebec separatists, the preface had me feeling as if I were reading a book published within the last year when, as in the 70s, "Bourgeois society seems everywhere to have used up its store of constructive ideas. It has lost both the capacity and the will to confront the difficulties that threaten to overwhelm it. The political crisis of capitalism reflects a general cri [...]

  • Lukas Evan says:

    I think it's a little narcissistic to think anybody would be interested in reading your grumpy book.

  • Ebonique Ellis says:

    so poignant and more relevant today than when originally published.

  • Alicia Fox says:

    "We demand too much of life, too little of ourselves."I absolutely loved this book. It's not an easy read; Lasch presupposes the reader will have some familiarity with philosophy, history, sociology, psychology, and economics. Apart from boring me a bit with Freudian stuff, it's a fascinating book.There's no easily recognizable political spin here. One minute, it's, "OMG ultra-conservative," and the next minute, "OMG Marxist." Lasch isn't promoting any particular established agenda. He fully des [...]

  • Ugh says:

    The Culture of Narcissism posits that when we tumble forth from the bliss-like satisfaction of the womb into the cold hard world, where not all of our needs are satisfied, we develop the capacity for anxiety; and that because the modern advertising industry keeps us in a state of constant desire, and because the bureaucratic nature of modern life makes us feel, and indeed often makes us in fact, helpless to act in many of the ways we wish to, we're not able to achieve or be satisfied with the mi [...]

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