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Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality Hardcover – February 7, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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As it does everything else it touches, the Internet has infiltrated the intricacies of its users’ psyches, spawning new forms of behavior, from the obsessive-compulsive checking of e-mail to the paranoid fear of identity theft. Equally hard-to-control character traits, such as narcissism and grandiosity, take on dangerous new meanings in one’s digital life, while video poker and one-click shopping elevate impulsive tendencies to uncontrollable levels, and avatars in parallel cyber-universes allow for the creation of alternate personalities. With a practice located in the heart of the Silicon Valley, Stanford University psychiatrist Aboujaoude credibly and rigorously explains how the way an individual functions in cyberspace impacts his or her behavior in the real world. Whether in rekindled romances facilitated by Facebook friendship or outraged ventings of opinion on a blog, offline selves are being influenced by online personae in ways society has yet to fully comprehend. Instantly engaging and eminently accessible, Aboujaoude offers an enlightening and cautionary exploration of an increasingly intrusive aspect of modern society. --Carol Haggas


Dr. Aboujaoude documents a disturbing phenomenon that few medical professionals have written about, or understand, but most have witnessed. This important and intelligent book shows how the Internet has changed our lives, not all for the better. Relationships have become virtual, rather than real, and in the process, our personalities have been transformed to suit the new technology. Not suggesting we reverse the clock, Dr. Aboujaoude suggests we proceed with caution in this brave, new world, and try to better understand the transformative power of this new ‘virtualism.’ (Donald W. Black, MD, professor of psychiatry, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine)

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (February 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393070646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393070644
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #808,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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VINE VOICEon February 22, 2011
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on March 4, 2011
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