Our Worst Strength

American Individualism and its Hidden Discontents

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request. Sign In or Register Now
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

1
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date May 17 2024 | Archive Date Sep 15 2024

Talking about this book? Use #ourworststrength #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

We are all settlers on our own personal frontiers.

-- Watch book trailer here -- http://bit.ly/3uLEW95

It’s our national way of life. Individualism. And, since at least 1970, we have taken individualism to its logical extreme like no other society on Earth. But at what cost for individuals? Radical autonomy without wisdom and lots of social support is a dangerous gift. Geographic rootlessness far from family with often weak, unstable friendship circles easily causes depression through disconnection. Excessive autonomy combined with rigid privacy norms can easily lead to self-destruction beyond any easy intervention. This genre-bending book blurs the boundaries of academic research, narrative nonfiction, and memoir to explore how individualistic thinking permeates the five major domains of everyday life that comprise 80% of our waking time as Americans - work, fun, food, friendship, and family.

Using fresh national research on older Americans' life experiences, his training as a cultural anthropologist, and his own awkward life experiences, Dr. Richardson has crafted a first-of-its-kind social history of the late 20th-century American middle class.

  • Part One - How to Make a Hyper-Individualistic Society in Seven Easy Steps
  • Part Two - How It Became Awkward at Work
  • Part Three - How We Got Lost in the American Funhouse
  • Part Four - How We Came To Eat Whatever, Whenever
  • Part Five - How We Turned Friends into Entertainment Devices
  • Part Six - How We Shriveled the American Family
  • Part Seven - The Future of Individualism in America

Dr. Richardson argues that individualism is not an inevitable way of life. We can take our gifts of autonomy and calibrate them to a more community-oriented future. We can develop new ways to heal the broken and struggling if we can stop seeing them as isolated failures who deserve their fate. But to do this, we have to truly understand what we have before we make changes we would regret as a country.

We are all settlers on our own personal frontiers.

-- Watch book trailer here -- http://bit.ly/3uLEW95

It’s our national way of life. Individualism. And, since at least 1970, we have taken...


A Note From the Publisher

Watch the book trailer!

https://www.socialawarenessinstitute.org

Watch the book trailer!

https://www.socialawarenessinstitute.org


Advance Praise

"Moving, thoughtful and mind-expanding." - Johann Hari, best-selling author of Lost Connections and Stolen Focus


"An astute examination of loneliness and isolation that sheds light, finds humor, and provides hope." - Kirkus Reviews


"Richardson's a shrewd, witty, sometimes outraged observer who urges readers to approach individualistic impulses more critically." - Booklife Reviews (by Publisher's Weekly)


"...an invaluable book for understanding the hidden costs of American individualism." - Rob Henderson, USA Today best-selling author of Troubled: A Memoir Foster Care, Family and Social Class


"A moving portrait of the loneliness embedded in everyday American life and a powerful warning to younger generations to course correct." - Jennifer Breheny Wallace, New York Times bestselling author of Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic -- and What We Can Do About It


"Dr Richardson takes us through an amazing and alarming look in the mirror as a society. As a keen observer of human behavior, James is able to find context and simplify the complexity of answering the question - 'how did we get here?' in an engaging, provocative, and well thought out prose." - Apu Mody - CPG angel investor/advisor and former President Mars Food Americas


"James F. Richardson's Our Worst Strength is a comprehensive and highly entertaining examination of the impact of our unprecedented explosion of lifestyle choices. With humor and care, Dr. Richardson thoughtfully charts the rapid change in social circumstances and attitudes that are contributing to our widespread sense of disconnection. This book is essential reading for anyone looking to better understand the pervasive influence of individualism in modern culture." -Anna Goldfarb, called the "New York Times' friendship correspondent" and author of Modern Friendship: How to Nurture Our Most Valued Connections

"Moving, thoughtful and mind-expanding." - Johann Hari, best-selling author of Lost Connections and Stolen Focus


"An astute examination of loneliness and isolation that sheds light, finds humor, and...


Marketing Plan

The author writes a semi-weekly Substack - Homo Imaginari, with a growing international audience over 1,100 readers. He promotes the book and video trailer once a week at the bottom of every essay.

On LinkedIn, the author has a business following of over 12,000 professionals.

Phase 1 - Pre-orders/buzz - Through May 17

  • Substack and LinkedIn used to generate Kindle pre-orders
  • Request professional reviews
  • Request VIP author blurbs
  • University of Arizona talk
  • Send branded mailers to VIPs
  • Build Amazon launch team 


Phase 2 - Launch Week

  • Push fans to discounted Kindle copies in the first 72 hours
  • Ask launch team to review on Amazon
  • Begin  Substack book tour


Phase 3 - 90 Days 

  • Continue Substack book tour
  • Pitch more VIPs for praise
  • Remind readers and followers to leave Amazon reviews
  • Pitch podcasts aggressively


Phase 4 - PR Acceleration

  • Podcast appearances
  • National media outreach (NPR, radio, magazines)

The author writes a semi-weekly Substack - Homo Imaginari, with a growing international audience over 1,100 readers. He promotes the book and video trailer once a week at the bottom of every essay.

On...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9798988768012
PRICE $19.95 (USD)
PAGES 438

Available on NetGalley

Send to Kindle (EPUB)

Average rating from 4 members


Featured Reviews

I’m an avid reader. I read 100+ books each year. Every few years I come across a book that stands out from the others. This is THAT book. Our Worst Strength, by James F. Richardson offers a penetrating exploration of the complexities surrounding hyper-individualistic societies. With meticulous research and insightful analysis, the book delves into the paradoxical nature of individualism, shedding light on its profound impact on contemporary American society.

Drawing on a rich tapestry of sociological research, cultural anthropological studies, and real-life examples, the author deftly navigates the intricate dynamics at play in our hyper-individualistic culture. Through compelling anecdotes and thought-provoking observations, Richardson reveals the ways in which the relentless pursuit of individualism can paradoxically become our worst strength as a society.

What sets this book apart is its commitment to balance. While acknowledging the benefits of individualism, the author refuses to shy away from its darker implications. By offering a fresh perspective on the complexities of hyper-individualism, the author invites readers to reconsider their assumptions on what is currently considered “normal” in our society, along with the repercussions of this “normal” state of being.

The book itself is a delight to read. Accessible yet intellectually stimulating, the author guides readers through complex ideas without sacrificing depth or clarity.

This isn’t a book you’ll read in one sitting. It isn’t meant to be. Our Worst Strength is a tour de force. Insightful, well-researched, and endlessly fascinating, this book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand American behavior in the twenty-first century.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: