‘Brilliant’ Evening Standard
‘Electrifying’ Financial Times
‘So interesting I literally couldn’t put it down’ Sunday Times
We live in the age of the individual. We are supposed to be slim, prosperous, happy, extroverted and popular. This is our culture’s image of the perfect self. We see this person everywhere: in advertising, in the press, all over social media. We’re told that to be this person you just have to follow your dreams, that our potential is limitless, that we are the source of our own success.
But this model of the perfect self can be extremely dangerous. People are suffering under the torture of this impossible fantasy. Unprecedented social pressure is leading to increases in depression and suicide. Where does this ideal come from? Why is it so powerful? Is there any way to break its spell?
To answer these questions, Selfie by Will Storr takes us from the shores of Ancient Greece, through the Christian Middle Ages, to the self-esteem evangelists of 1980s California, the rise of narcissism and the selfie generation, and right up to the era of hyper-individualistic neoliberalism in which we live now.
It tells the extraordinary story of the person we all know so intimately – our self.
As featured on Russell Brand's Under The Skin podcast.
Far more ambitious than its title might suggest . . . Selfie illuminates much of what feels peculiar about the world in 2017 . . . Storr has put in a formidable amount of work, he is irascibly good company, and he has something approaching genius for marshalling his material . . . This could be a pessimistic book. In fact, its insights are timely and welcome (Richard Godwin Sunday Times)
As entertaining as it is provocative and disquieting . . . His breezy prose is bedded down in intensive research, much of it immersive . . . his closing thoughts can’t help but be comforting (Mail on Sunday)
Storr has done huge amounts of research for this book . . . he conveys it with a gifted lightness of touch that is wry and funny (his investigative mode has been compared to those of Jon Ronson and Louis Theroux, with which I wouldn’t disagree) . . . entertaining . . . fascinating (The Times)
Thoughtful and engaging . . . wonderfully funny . . . Storr’s cultural history is fascinating (Guardian)
An ambitious argument . . . Storr is an electrifying analyst of internet culture, documenting the rise of connectivity in prose that crackles with the energy of the early 21st century . . . an excellent antidote to time-wasting on social media (Financial Times)
Storr is a magnificent reporter in the mould of Jon Ronson or Louis Theroux . . . Selfie is profound, uncomfortable, joyful, frustrating, fascinating, fragmented, inspired, heartbreaking, and occasionally riven with internal contradictions. Just like a person, really. (Helen Lewis New Statesman)
Brilliant . . . There aren’t many authors who can range so confidently across disciplines and, if you go with the flow, you’ll encounter some fascinating nuggets along the way . . . inspiring (Rohan Silva Evening Standard)
This book is IMMENSE; like reading an Adam Curtis documentary (Stuart Heritage)
‘Compelling, terrifying and a total must-read . . . Selfie is a fascinating investigation into the intersection of history, psychology, culture and the economy, and how our brains, our egos – and our constructed sense of self – are products of these interconnecting spaces . . . Reading Selfie is like seeing links light up on a switchboard. Everything is connected; everything makes sense. Yet the most incredible thing about Storr’s book is how it stays with you long after you've read it . . . In both an equally troubling and comforting way, Selfie’s insights can’t been unseen’ (Marisa Bate The Pool)
This book is fascinating, illuminating, terrifying and reaffirming . . . As a mum of three, it’s a must-read (Davina McCall)