Curse of the Self: Self-Awareness, Egotism, and the Quality of Human Life / Edition 1

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Despite its obvious advantages, our ability to be self-reflective comes at a high price. Few people realize how profoundly their lives are affected by self-reflection or how frequently inner chatter interferes with their success, pollutes their relationships with others, and undermines their happiness. By allowing people to ruminate about the past or imagine what might happen in the future, self-reflection conjures up a great deal of personal suffering in the form of depression, anxiety, anger, jealousy, and other negative emotions. A great deal of unhappiness, in the form of addictions, overeating, and domestic violence, is due to people's inability to exert control over their thoughts and behavior. Is it possible to direct our self-reflection in a way that will minimize the disadvantages and maximize the advantages? Is there a way to affect the egotistical self through self-reflection? In this volume, Mark Leary explores the personal and social problems that are created by the capacity for self-reflection, and by drawing upon psychology and other behavioral sciences, offers insights into how these problems can be minimized.

About the Author:
Mark R. Leary is Professor of Psychology at Duke University

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Get ready to drop your ego and step into the real world. If you ever wanted to know why everybody else always seems one step removed from reality - Beware - Leary's well researched deadly accurate book, proves once and for all that the common denominator in all your failed relationships is you! Read The Curse of the Self and unlock the door to the bizarre inner workings of the human mind." —Lisa Earle McLeod Syndicated columnist, Lifetime Radio commentator and author of Forget Perfect (Penguin/Putnam)

"represents an impressive level of scholarship, presented in a pleasant and accessible way, with anecdotes and touches of humor. Leary is clearly an expert on the topic-I doubt you would find anyone better qualified to write this book." -Roy Baumeister, Professor, Department of Psychology, Florida State University

"Many years ago Whitney Houston sang that the greatest love of all was love for the self. She wouldn't feel that way if she read Mark Leary's refreshing and provocative analysis of how our 'selves' cause many of our greatest disasters and disappointments. Ironically, this book generates considerable introspection, even as it provides inspiration for learning not to let our selves get in the way of healthful and meaningful living." -Todd F. Heatherton, Champion International Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College

"The Curse of the Self is a thinking person's self-help book, not in the trivial, superficial sense in which the term 'self-help book' is usually used, but in the sense of being both intellectually stimulating and offering useful, practical advice and insights." -Lee Jussim, Department of Psychology, Rutgers University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195325447
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/4/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 236
  • Sales rank: 1,125,216
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark R. Leary is Professor of Psychology at Duke University. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and former president of the International Society for Self and Identity. He was named by the Institute for Scientific Information as among the 25 most productive scholars in psychology (1986-1990).

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Table of Contents

1. The Self-Aware Animal
2. Living in Two Worlds
3. Through the Eyes of the Ego
4. Making Ourselves Miserable
5. When Selves Collide
6. Risking Life and Limb
7. Religion and Morality
8. The Self Out of Control
9. Bringing out the Best in the Self

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