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Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality Hardcover – February 7, 2011
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The effects of the Internet on our individual and collective psyches are becoming clearer and more worrisome every day. Elias Aboujaoude has written a book that not only has been needed for several years but could become a modern classic. A must-read for all of us who log on every day (Alan F. Schatzberg, MD, former president of the American Psychiatric Association)
Aboujaoude’s thorough review of the psychological and societal dangers of the online world is timely and important. These dangers are richly illustrated with clinical material and are thoughtfully analyzed using relevant research. Anyone who goes online at home or at work, or who has family or colleagues online, should carefully consider the issues raised in his volume. (Dan Stein, MD, professor and chair, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cape Town)
This is a timely volume on how the Internet has changed all of us in ways that we may not be aware of or that we prefer not to think about. It is an eye-opener and brings back a much-needed commonsense approach to the challenges posed by modern information and communication technology. The added value of the book is in its reliance on observation, wisdom and clinical experience, as well as data-driven knowledge. (Vladan Starcevic, MD, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney)
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Top Customer Reviews
The Internet, which offers many good things that support civilization, also offers a perpetual pleasure playground that makes us more distracted, nasty, arrogant, brutish, and narcissistic. Many of us on the Internet see ourselves as "outside of normal rules" (57), larger than life and invincible. This is a dangerous game that entices us to invest "in start-up stocks," seek fame "at all costs," and pursue "reckless sexual pairings," or "impossible-to-fund shopping sprees" (57). Using Freud's categories, Dr. Aboujaoude claims that the Internet has become a strong and almost unbeatable ally of our "id," an ally that could hold our minds, our wills, and our conscience (i.e., our "superego") captive.
As a college professor, I am particularly struck by Aboujaoude's description of the changes in our writing and reading habits. The Internet has already shredded most of our grammar rules. But I was even more alarmed by the changes in reading habits, for it is reading that teaches good writing. According to the British Library study (2008) which Aboujaoude quotes (one of the many invaluable sources he uses) "online readers are 'promiscuous, diverse, and volatile'....Their information-seeking behavior is 'horizontal, bouncing, checking and viewing in nature....Read more ›
It's important to realize that Aboujaoude *does not* say that the internet or our digital lives in general only (or primarily) produces these undesirable effects. This isn't a crazy attack on technology that tries to persuade us to cancel our internet subscriptions and turn off the computer. He acknowledges the many benefits of the internet (e.g., online dating) while focusing on the dangerous and harmful elements that can arise in these same areas. This is important, because the dangerous elements are often insidious and, so far, little attention or study has been given these "dangerous powers."
This book should be required reading for young people today. Actually, it should be required reading for everyone in our digital society. But the things that Elias Aboujaoude has to say in this book need to be heard early on as preventative and not just corrective--after we've already logged enough time online to develop our dangerous e-personality. Unfortunately, as the author points out, there are few, if any, classes in high-school or at the college level that address the issues this book does, despite having many mandatory computer courses. There needs to be more classes that are devoted to the ethics and psychology of our digital lives and this book should be the text-book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. I am a psychologist, and what he writes about is pertinent and highly applicable to this society we live in.Published 2 months ago by Julian
If you read only one book on the impact of technology, the Internet, and cyberspace on our individual psyches, our sense of well-being, and our increasingly-fragile sense of... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Betty A. Driver
Anyone who knows somebody with internet addiction should read this book.
It is an easy read, enriched by illustrative examples.
This book raises all the questions we should be considering as we engage the Web as virtual citizens. Read morePublished on March 23, 2013 by John Robinson
This book is heavy with case studies and numbers... depending on what kind of thinker you are, this may or may not be a good thing. Read morePublished on February 15, 2013 by Jean Fan
At the end of "Virtually You," Dr. Elias Aboujaoude concludes that he has "tried to make the case for the existence of the online self as a relatively independent creature that... Read morePublished on June 17, 2012 by David H. Rosen
Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality is an eye opening exploration of how radically the internet has impacted people's personalities. Read morePublished on February 28, 2012 by Greg Smith (aka sowhatfaith)
Before reading this book, I had high expectations of it. I thought it would shed light on the changing psychology of relationships and human interactions. Read morePublished on September 3, 2011 by Anton Kunin
This sounded so promising. I think a lot of us realize that we are in the middle of a genuine revolution in human interaction and behavior thanks to the Internet. Read morePublished on August 11, 2011 by C. P. Anderson