Paperback Writer welcomes Jay Slosar authors of The Culture of Excess: How America Lost Self-Control and Why We Need to Redefine Success. He shares his expertise as a psychologist and how we can refocus ourselves for a more rational, self-controlled future. Grab a cup of coffee and please join us for his interview.
About the Book
In the wake of buckling markets, banks knocked to their knees, and massive amounts of presumed wealth revealed as the product of self-deception and breathtaking criminality, an age of indulgence has dramatically impacted American life. Economically, we understand how it happened, but why it happened is more of a mystery. What psychological factors fueled the years of excess and, more important, how do we refocus ourselves for a more rational, self-controlled future?
As J.R. Slosar shows in this urgent, sometimes startling volume,the nation’s fast-and-loose approach to money was, in fact, a symptom of a more widespread pattern of excessive behavior. In The Culture of Excess: How America Lost Self-Control and Why We Need to Redefine Success, Slosar portrays an America where the drive to succeed and the fear of missing out manifested itself not only in self-entitled corporate fraud, but in everything from sharp rises in obesity and cosmetic medical procedures to equally troubling increases in eating disorders, panic attacks, and outbreaks of uncontrollable rage.
Illustrating its thesis with numerous vignettes and case studies, The Culture of Excess is the first book to assess the impact of economic and social factors on the nation’s psychological well-being. It shows how capitalism, technology, and media interact and become additive factors in the loss of self-control, and it explains how the compromises made in adapting to intense economic competition lead to a false sense of self and reality. Narcissism, productive narcissism, psychopathy, rigidity and self destruction, perfectionism, the illusion of success, and identity achievement all come into play as Slosar diagnoses the psychological drivers behind this indulgent age, offering his prescription for helping “Generation Me” become “Generation We.”
Good Morning Jay,
Thank you for being our guest here, today, at Paperback Writer.
It is my pleasure.
Jay, Would you share with us how you came up with the idea for your book?
A: I began to see changes in patients in my private practice as a psychologist. The changes showed more evidence of narcissistic tendencies that matched the excess in our economy and financial world. I linked this together to present the cultural changes that have altered our personality development.
Q: Was it a light bulb moment or something that you thought about for a very long time?
A: A very long time, I began writing about these ideas in 2003 and they evolved until 2008/2009.
Q: How did you come up with the title?
A: I had several titles before this (and rejections). Finally, as I linked my sub topics with my theme–The Culture of Excess emerged. The subtitle was changed and presented by the publisher. I accepted per the contract, but their subtitle was actually ok with me.
Q: How did you find an agent and publisher?
A: My book is non-fiction and as a professional/psychologist you can publish an a more academic work without an agent. I wanted my book to be for a broader audience. I did try hard to get an agent–had several who were very interested–but didn’t quite get one. Finally, Praeger proved to be a publisher that did my kind of book–so I went to them and landed a contract directly.
Q: Who reads you work in progress?
A: I was in a writing group and that helped. Colleagues and friends read parts of it also.
Q: Who made a difference in the book’s quality?
A: Suggestions from the writing group were very helpful. I hired a developmental editor and that was helpful too. Finally, I had a line editor who wen through the whole book and perfected it also. Of course, this all costs money.
Q: How long did it take you to complete the first draft? Two years.
A: How long did it take from start to publication? About 5-6 years.
Q: Do you have any advice for new authors?
A: Find the right publisher. I believe you should have most of it done before you approach agents or publishers. I wouldn’t self publish.
Thank you, Jay Slosar for stopping by Paperback Writer on your virtual book tour. I wish you continued success through the rest of you tour.