|Tara Isabella Burton||
An exploration into the curation of the self in Western civilization from Da Vinci to Kim Kardashian.
In a technologically-saturated era where nearly everything can be effortlessly and digitally reproduced, we're all hungry to carve out our own unique personalities, our own bespoke personae, to stand out and be seen. As the forces of social media and capitalism collide, and individualism becomes more important than ever across a wide array of industries, "branding ourselves" or actively defining our selves for others has become the norm. Yet, this phenomenon is not new. In Self-Made, Tara Isabella Burton shows us how we arrived at this moment of fervent personal-branding.
As attitudes towards religion, politics and society evolved, our sense of self did as well, moving from a collective to individual mindset. Through a series of chronological biographical essays on famous (and infamous) "self-creators" in the modern Western world, from the Renassiance to the Enlightenment to modern capitalism and finally to our present moment of mass media, Burton examines the theories and forces behind our never-ending need to curate ourselves. Through a vivid cast of characters and an engaging mix of cultural and historical commentary, we learn how the personal brand has come to be.
Out June 27 (US) and June 29 (UK): Pre-order now.
"Self-Made takes the reader on an incredible journey that begins in the Renaissance and ends with the Kardashians, Donald Trump, and Silicon Valley's extropians, tracing the peculiarly modern phenomenon of people who make themselves the objects of their life's work. It is both revelatory and a warning about the ways that focus on the self distorts our individual lives and the broader society"
-- Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History
"This funny, startling, insightful story of the selfie, from Dürer to the Kardashians, is a must read if you want to understand how we reinvent ourselves every time we reveal ourselves"
-- Peter Pomerantsev, author of This is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality
"Ranging from Aristotle to OnlyFans by way of the Marquis de Sade and Frederick Douglass, Tara Isabella Burton delights, infuriates and instructs while offering some of the sharpest and most insightful social commentary being written today. This is a book you will not forget"
-- Walter Russell Mead, author of The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People
"Tara Isabella Burton's thoughtful, beautifully written book charts the engrossing history of the self-made man (and woman) from the geniuses of the Renaissance to present-day reality TV stars. Philosophical, ethical and pragmatic by turns, Burton urgently interrogates the culturally dominant myths of individualism and self-realisation, asking what we lose when we gain what we think we really want: when we make ourselves into gods"
-- Carolyne Larrington, author of The Norse Myths: A Guide to Viking and Scandinavian Gods and Heroes
"In the spirit of Kurt Andersen's Fantasyland and Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright Sided, Tara Isabella Burton delivers a fascinating intellectual and cultural history of our never-ending quest to reinvent ourselves. She masterfully balances high and low culture, ranging from Renaissance sculptors and Parisian Dandies, to American hucksters and Instagram selfies. Self-Made clears through the fog of our current moment and lets us see the methods behind our collective madness. An essential read for our era of Late-Stage Everything"
-- Jamie Wheal, author of Recapture the Rapture
“Burton is that rare cultural critic who delivers insight with sass and wears her deep knowledge of history and philosophy with a lightness and grace. A dazzling cast of characters struts across these pages, but Burton is always fully in control; every case study and example accretes to build her argument, for we are not merely self-stylists but shapeshifters, not just makers, but gods.”
--Marina Benjamin, author of Insomnia and Middlepause
"What does the Marquis de Sade have to do with David Bowie? Oscar Wilde with Oprah Winfrey? Montaigne with Donald Trump? Learn the fascinating historical and philosophical connections over the past five centuries in this erudite and wildly entertaining study on the fine art of self-creation, one of the modern era's defining cultural traits long before Instagram made it a daily universal habit."
-- Tony Perrottet, author of The Sinner’s Grand Tour: A Journey Through the Historical Underbelly of Europe
"Since the rise of Instagram and Facebook, how we present ourselves to the world has become a contemporary obsession. But as Tara Isabella Burton shows in her new book, Self-Made, it has a long history, from Beau Brummel to the Kardashians. The result is a fascinating, deeply researched and entertaining tour de force"
-- Simon Worrall, author of Starcrossed: A True Romeo and Juliet Story in Hitler’s Paris
"Looking around at the strange terrain of American politics, religion, culture, and media, almost everyone is asking, "What happened?" and "What's next?" This book tells us the story behind those questions. Those who wonder why almost every aspect of life seems to be, at best, a reality television series and, at worst, a dark science fiction drama, will need this important work. This book will shift the conversation, at perhaps just the right time"
-- Russell Moore, author of Losing Our Religion: An Altar Call for Evangelical America