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Narcissism by the Numbers

June 1, 2009

I am reading The Narcissism Epidemic by Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell. These numbers hit me.

In data from 37,000 college students, narcissistic personality traits rose just as fast as obesity from the 1980’s to the present, with the shift especially pronounced for women.

Anyone want to ask for self-sacrifice in a world like that? Anyone wonder why problems in our culture are multiplying? Why do we have a war on obesity in our culture without even a word about narcissism?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Nick Gill permalink
    June 2, 2009 12:20 pm

    Because narcissism doesn’t cost the insurance companies quite as much.

  2. June 2, 2009 7:20 pm

    Thanks for the comment Nick though I’m not sure it doesn’t cost even more. I wonder how many auto accidents could be linked to it?

  3. John-David Meissner permalink
    June 2, 2009 7:29 pm

    I agree with Nick. It’s all about the dollar. Look at the books that are on the New York Times best-seller list: Hardcover Advice ( and Softcover Advice (

    Altruism is a hard sell in our independent, life’s-all-about-me culture. Preach about how Christ can make me a better person or what He can do for me, and I’m in. Preach how Christ wants to use me to help others, and I’m thinking what’s the best excuse I can come up with not to get involved.

  4. Wendy Simmons permalink
    June 6, 2009 6:36 pm

    I need to read this book. I know a few people that I have come to describe as narcissistic, but maybe it is more widespread than I thought. At my previous job, I volunteered to be the president of the “CARE” committee for two years, and I got so frustrated that the other members had plenty of suggestions & criticism for projects, but rarely were willing to put any effort into them, and I often did all of the work myself. Sometimes I even got little support for good causes, such as a local cereal drive. How do you motivate people that are so self-centered?

  5. June 9, 2009 2:52 pm


    Good question. It will take a lot of effort because this has quickly become engrained in our culture. I would probably go back to stories. Find people like them and tell stories that they can relate to about the damage done.

    It is also important to reward and celebrate service. You have probably noticed we try to do that a lot at NHC. Raise up those who serve and show that is worth celebrating.

    In the end the best think is knowing that it isn’t what God wants and while you may feel abused it is worth it because you are doing what is right.

    P.S. We will get together starting in July to talk about the project of stories we discussed.

    Thanks for the comments. Still praying for the situation.

  6. Wendy Simmons permalink
    June 10, 2009 3:51 am

    Thanks so much, Darin. I really appreciate it.

    I look forward to starting on the project next month.

  7. June 10, 2009 4:29 pm

    I am excited to see how it goes.

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