The Narcissism Epidemic

  • by Jean M. Twenge, W. Keith Campbell
  • Narrated by Randye Kaye
  • 12 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Narcissism - an inflated view of the self - is everywhere. Public figures say it's what makes them stray from their wives. Parents teach it by dressing children in T-shirts that say "Princess". Teenagers and young adults hone it on Facebook, and celebrity newsmakers have elevated it to an art form. And it's what's making people depressed, lonely, and buried under piles of debt. Dr. Jean M. Twenge focuses on the pernicious spread of narcissism in today's culture, which has repercussions for every age group and class. Dr. Twenge joins forces with Dr. W. Keith Campbell, a nationally recognized expert on narcissism, to explore this new plague. Together, they provide an eye-opening exposition of the alarming rise of narcissism and its catastrophic effects at every level of society.


What the Critics Say

"Filled with important, disturbing research detailing the alarming cultural spread of narcissism today." ---Karyl McBride, Ph.D., author of Will I Ever Be Good Enough?


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Feeling "special?" Snap out of it!

Twenge and Campbell provide a wide-ranging study of social psychology with many useful insights. Unfortunately the tone in which the book is written and narrated is off-putting, arrogant, and grating on the nerves. The "look at me" author intrusion was over the top. They would have written a much stronger, more cohesive book if that fault hadn't been so distracting. The narrator sounds snarky and disdainful, which doesn't help.

This book goes a long way to explaining how we find ourselves in this situation. Even if you take out the statistics and somewhat outdated cultural references, there's a lot in here that is important to consider. I wish every parent and grandparent would read it and at least think through some of the issues raised.

If you need strategies to deal with a narcissist, you won't find them in this book. For that, I'd recommend looking at Rokelle Lerner's THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION IS IN MY REFLECTION and Eleanor Payson's THE WIZARD OF OZ AND OTHER NARCISSISTS.

This next bit is just my own experience, so feel free to skip if you wish.

I read this book to understand "small-n narcissism" because there is more and more of what this book talks about in the arts.

Three examples from the last week. (1) An inexperienced twentysomething painter threw a screaming tantrum when her inadequate work was not accepted for inclusion in a national, highly competitive exhibition. (2) A teenage boy asked me how long it would take "to get good" on classical guitar. When I told him many years of dedicated study and practice, he said he was "gonna get one of those 'learn guitar in seven days' things online" and wandered off. (3) A twelve year-old bragged to her adoring parents that she had "mastered" the flute and called herself "really gifted." She was not a prodigy, just an ordinary kid who'd finished her fourth lesson.

Those who have something to teach are getting tired of dealing with superannuated two year-olds who have a tantrum every time they find work is required of them, or discover there are others more talented, experienced, or willing to learn from their mistakes than they are. Entitled narcissists want instant fame, accolades, and praise for nothing more than showing up. Like Icarus, they fly on their frail little wings of self-adoration and fall when they come into contact with reality. Then we are expected to clean up the mess.

We need better parenting that includes the establishment of realistic boundaries and a return to a sense of community. None of us exists without the other. Not one of us is better than another. Narcissism destroys all that is good about a civilized society, and only we can stop it from taking over.
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- Die Falknerin "Painter, musician, bibliophile..."

Painful experience

Any additional comments?

I was very disappointed by this audiobook. It was like listening to a broken record for hours on end. On occasion, I even checked the table of contents to make sure I was not listening to the same chapter a second time. I kept on going only because I wanted to hear some concrete suggestions for addressing the problem of narcissism in our society. Unfortunately, I was let down again. After 12 hours and 25 minutes of listening, I learned absolutely nothing. The way the authors talk about themselves sounds pretty narcissistic at times, and they are often condescending, too, which is not attractive. There is no balance here. Top it off with a sappy narration, and you have a terrible listening experience.

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- Kathleen B.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-17-2014
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio