In every facet of postindustrial society - -the way we eat, the way we communicate and entertain, the way we work, the way we court lovers and raise children, educate and govern -- technology and affluence now let us reach our goals with a speed and efficiency unimaginable even a generation ago. But the result, Paul Roberts warns, is not all milk, honey, and gold. Companies now reflexively maximize short-term gain at the expense of long-term success. Politicians resort with ever-greater speed to nasty campaign tactics, and can count on their damaging claims to spread before the facts catch up with them. Consumers engage in serial over-indulgence in a self-tailored bubble. And the costs are substantial- financial volatility, health epidemics, environmental exhaustion and political paralysis, to say nothing of a growing, gnawing dissatisfaction. Over thirty years ago, Christopher Lasch published his landmark book, The Culture of Narcissism , which struck a chord and became a runaway bestseller. Lasch's analysis was largely cultural, but the real story has always been an economic one, and the conditions that led to increasing selfishness and the breakdown of society have only gotten worse. Paul Robert digs down to the economic roots of the problem, shows how it has metastisized to affect every facet of our lives and our ability to navigate the future. In clear, cogent prose that mixes illuminating analysis and vibrant reporting, Roberts not only tells the fascinating story of how the impulse society came to be, but shows how, perhaps, a healthier society may still be possible.