The entry below appears in an excellent blog titled Crime & Federalism.
The issue of Narcissism is a major interest of the founder and integral to understanding many of the trends in society and the investment world. The author does such a fabulous job of explaining the topic that it is an honor to feature it in its entirety. The link to his blog will appear below. We encourage the reader to visit his blog in its entirety. There exists no cross promotion agreement or other business arrangement, and this feature does not anticipate such an arrangement. All links in the original work are retained.
Probably most human behavior would not be surprising if a person understood: social classes; sociopathy; and especially narcissism. Humans really can be stereotyped. People are interesting, persons are boring.
A great place to start is: Narcissism: Denial of the True Self (here). The book's cover is purple, and indicates that an M.D. wrote it - either of which should disqualify it from purchase. It's good, if you think of it like The Sociopath Next Door - an introduction to the issues and psychopathology. Once you're done with Narcissism, check out The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations (here).
The Culture of Narcissism was first published in 1979. Three decades have not altered the themes. Books like The Culture of Narcissism reminds one why it's pointless to watch "the news." Most news is transitory. Would anyone who has read Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds be surprised to learn about the housing bubble? Tulips or houses; bubbles are bubbles. Would anyone who has read Extraordinary Popular Delusions (here) be surprised to learn that we are currently in a higher education bubble; or that we're still in a housing bubble? No.
But books take a long time to read. If it's a good book, closing the covers reminds you that you're now ignorant of 99% of a subject. And if you only know 1% about something after reading a book: What does that say about your fluency in everything else?
Reading headlines, though, makes you feel like an informed citizen. "Did you see the news today?!" No. Should I have?
Reading books makes you question everything that a lifetime of headlines have indoctrinated you to believe. It's better to feel informed than have the ignorance of your true self revealed. Indeed, that's the curse of narcissism.
Lacking a true self, you construct the Informed (Wo)Man. In reality, you're empty. You know nothing. You have no wisdom or knowledge. Reading news is an easy way to protect yourself: How dare you?! I know stuff!
Of course, learning stuff is a process of manipulation. Protecting your empty self allows mass media to create an additional self - the Easily Manipulated Consumer. No. Not me. I choose to buy this new car. That's what they want you to think.
More from this author:
As we live in a culture of narcissism, few realize when we are in a bubble. Sure, there have been bubbles in most every other country; and all throughout history. But we are special. I am a special. I would never get caught in a bubble. Well, of course, this time wasn't different.
Oh, but the recession/depression is over, right? Even though Japan lost a decade, and the Great Depression lasted years. We are special. This time is different. Narcissism.
The theme is explored in This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.