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  • The Status Game

  • On Human Life and How to Play It
  • By: Will Storr
  • Narrated by: Will Storr
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (213 ratings)

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Summary

What drives our political and moral beliefs? What makes us like some things and dislike others? What shapes how we behave, and misbehave, in a group? What makes you, you

For centuries, philosophers and scholars have described human behaviour in terms of sex, power and money. In The Status Game, best-selling author Will Storr radically turns this thinking on its head by arguing that it is our irrepressible craving for status that ultimately defines who we are.

From the era of the hunter-gatherer to today, when we exist as workers in the globalised economy and citizens of online worlds, the need for status has been wired into us. A wealth of research shows that how much of it we possess dramatically affects not only our happiness and wellbeing but also our physical health—and without sufficient status, we become more ill, and live shorter lives. It’s an unconscious obsession that drives the best and worst of us: our innovation, arts and civilisation as well as our murders, wars and genocides. But why is status such an all-consuming prize? What happens if it’s taken away from us? And how can our unquenchable thirst for it explain cults, moral panics, conspiracy theories, the rise of social media and the ‘culture wars’ of today?

On a breathtaking journey through time and culture, The Status Game offers a sweeping rethink of human psychology that will change how you see others—and how you see yourself.

©2021 Will Storr (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"I haven’t finished reading The Status Game because I’ve only read it once. There's so much in this dazzling book I will be revisiting over and over again." (Daniel Finkelstein, author of Everything in Moderation)

"The Status Game could not be more timely and provides a missing piece for understanding where we are, and how to get out of this mess.... I can’t recommend it highly enough." (Greg Lukianoff, co-author with Jonathan Haidt of The Coddling of the American Mind)

"Thought provoking and enlightening—you’ll be discussing The Status Game everywhere you go." (Sara Pascoe)

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    4 out of 5 stars

Oversimplified conclusions to fit the status narrative

The case studies were very interesting; albeit, that the narrator seemed intent on applying status to all parts of social interaction. While it can be observed how crucial status is to our perception of self, I think the writer goes a step further than most to say it was what governs our society. The arguments are stretched and other auxiliary factors not given proper credence (culture, religion, sustenance etc).

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Fascinating!

An eye opening book that really puts life into perspective. Well worth a read / listen!

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The unchangeable human condition, explained

Storr compellingly tells our truth, "we are in the 21st century as we've always been, great apes hunting connection and status inside shared hallucinations." In his own voice he synthesizes evo psych, behavioral psych, political economies, organized religion, and social media to fashion a necessary lense with which we can better understand our shared delusion.

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Exceptionally enlightening

An excellently written and narrated account of what makes us behave the way we do! Reasserts a certain degree of faith in humanity when wokeness, nationalism and bigotry looked to have gotten the better of us. Excellent!

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Great, now I’m obsessed with status.

The idea that we are all tribal creatures that constantly go about obsessed with our status is ingenious. Great book. Thanks Will Storr.

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The most important book of 2021

Will has done an incredible job of weaving a narrative that makes sense of the divided world we are confronted with in 2021. Utterly brilliant!

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Fascinating

Really enjoyed this. A book I heard of via the Jordan Peterson podcast. Gives a different perspective on politics, Twitter and those uncomfortable conversations you find yourself in with people you've just met that quickly seem to lean towards politics and where you stand on the current hot topic! Well worth a listen.

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A great listen

Great book full if interesting thoughts. I can't say i always agree with the author, but that doesn't detract from it, in my opinion. Narration is good, but as someone who isn't a native british english speaker. Some words or meanings in sentences are a bit hard to get at times.

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Interesting takes!

I certainly enjoyed this but I did feel it approached repetitive topics about 60% of the way through. Certainly worth a listen and there’s plenty of links to philosophy, psychology and other aspects of the world we live. Wahoo!

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The Best book for understanding humanity.

This is maybe one of the best books I have ever read.
The book presents a model for our main driving force to act and and strive, which is to seek higher status among our peers. Through our inescapable status games we humans play whether we want too or not.
This enables us to understand ourselves, humanity as a whole, and large parts of our history. Thank you Will Storr for writing this.

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  • Mike from MT
  • 27-08-22

This book illuminates so much fun of human action

If you're looking for a book to confirm your bias then it is probably not for you. If you want to understand human interaction better, don't wait.

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  • raluca mitarca
  • 15-05-22

Best book I've listened to this year

Narrator? Perfect. Content? Enlightening. A gripping tale of how society and humans work, and it's a great way of making sense of the world. I truly recommend it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-09-22

I nominate this book as required reading for a responsible adulthood

I feel like this is a beautiful rational book. Even handed and compassionate. If you are curious about your behavior and the behavior of others this book is as compelling and well written as a Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. We are all in the same boat playing games we choose without conscious choice. Thanks Mr. Storr for this small neat gift to humanity.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-09-22

Globally and Personally Relevant

You don't say that every book. Sprightly writing, well researched, timely. A must read/listen. Enjoy.

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  • Adam S McConnell
  • 17-09-22

A brilliant lens

I love books that expose you to different ways of seeing the world. This book is a brilliant example.

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  • Zoltan Kali
  • 13-09-22

Encouraging and comforting

Good synopsis of social, psychological and economic phenomenon that define humanity and its development. Just like a telescope shows your scale in the context of the univers, this book puts perspective on all daily pains and gains that we often take too seriously.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-09-22

Insightful and Unique

A thought-provoking book about the human desire for status and how it fuels our actions, good and bad. It's surprising the book is not more popular as it offers convincing explanations of different human phenomena. From how the Germans were drawn to Hitler and the Nazi ideology to why social justice warriors exist.

The main point of this book, that humans are primarily driven by the desire to increase their status, is fairly unique. At least I haven't seen it discussed before.

Will Storr is also a great narrator.