The Narcissism Epidemic

21 June 2011 by Wes Bredenhof

This is not a Christian book.  But it is a book that should be read by Christians, especially by pastors and elders.  The authors lay out in detail the plague of narcissism that has descended upon our culture.  The solutions offered are lacking, of course, but the observations are mostly bang on.  Here are a couple of samples:

Narcissism is the fast food of the soul.  It tastes great in the short term, has negative, even dire, consequences in the long run, and yet continues to have widespread appeal.  (259)

The course of the epidemic of narcissism looks more like AIDS than Ebola.  The damage that narcissism causes to the individual ‘host’ often does not show up for a long time.  Narcissists typically look healthy and appealing from the outside, at least in young people and strangers.  Narcissism, however, is a destructive trait in old age.  You lose your looks and your behaviour drives away your family and friends.  The 65-year-old man who still primps in the mirror and drives a flashy car is semipathetic.  Senior citizen narcissism is not a good way to end your time on earth.  (273-274)

This well-written book gives a penetrating look at our culture and that makes it worthwhile.  However, be forewarned:  there is graphic and crude language in some of the places where the authors are quoting others.