You can check out the book here. I’m not associated with Amazon, I don’t get a kick-back, and I have no idea if that’s the cheapest you’ll find it. I do, however, recommend this book to everyone. If the authors are right, and I think they are, we as a culture are in a lot of trouble.

The authors’ main concern is narcissism – the belief that you are more special, more valuable, and more entitled than other people. These are the obnoxious types that decide they can park wherever they want, regardless of silly things like “laws.” They tend not to care about other people’s feelings, because they are their number one priority. They rack up insane amounts of debt, because they deserve that house they can’t afford! And they like to talk about themselves. Not surprisingly, destructive relationships haunt them like ducks following someone with bread.

But that’s not why this book is important. I could have learned about narcissism from wikipedia (I think – I don’t feel like looking it up right now).

The Narcissism Epidemic opens its readers’ eyes to the shallow, dangerous levels of narcissism that that have infused our culture. For example, did you know clinical data suggests that telling kids they are special and emphasizing that they should love themselves most (ie, self-esteem) actually leads to less success later in life? I sure didn’t. Now I’m angry that I was forced to take a “self-esteem” class in the fourth grade.

I blame that class for all of my failures in life. Actually, a classic narcissistic trait is the tendency to blame others for your own failures. Oops.

The authors present a great little crash course in current pop-culture trends, which is helpful for those that might be a little behind the times and don’t have ready access to high school students. But that isn’t why you should read this book.

They also give a fabulous twist on the current financial crisis, proposing that the narcissistic tendency to feel entitled to things and materialism without having actually earned anything has led to our current mess. Their point didn’t surprise me, because it makes so much sense. Instead, it scares me. We as a culture are so willing to kill ourselves with debt because we have a fall sense of entitlement – I deserve that new/bigger/faster <insert here>, even though I can’t actually afford it.

Scary stuff. But that still isn’t why you should read this book.

Read this book because you care about our future. The authors give advice for how to manage the lethal levels of narcissism swirling around our lives, and what they have to say is important.

Or read the book for yourself, for the sake of helping you manage your own narcissistic tendencies. Treat it like a self-help book. That’s part of the reason why I read it, but then again, I’m a narcissist.