Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed Summary

Sixteen literary luminaries on the controversial subject of being childless by choice, in this critically acclaimed, bestselling anthology

One of the most provocative and talked-about books of the year, Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed is the stunning collection exploring one of society’s most vexing taboos.

One of the main topics of cultural conversation during the last decade was the supposed “fertility crisis,” and whether modern women could figure out a way to have it all—a successful career and the required 2.3 children—before their biological clocks stopped ticking. Now, however, the conversation has turned to whether it’s necessary to have it all (see Anne-Marie Slaughter) or, perhaps more controversial, whether children are really a requirement for a fulfilling life.

In this exciting and controversial collection of essays, curated by writer Meghan Daum, thirteen acclaimed female writers explain why they have chosen to eschew motherhood. Contributors include Lionel Shriver, Sigrid Nunez, Kate Christensen, Elliott Holt, Geoff Dyer, and Tim Kreider, among others, who will give a unique perspective on the overwhelming cultural pressure of parenthood.

This collection makes a smart and passionate case for why parenthood is not the only path to a happy, productive life, and takes our parent-centric, kid-fixated, baby-bump-patrolling culture to task in the process. In this book, that shadowy faction known as the childless-by-choice comes out into the light.

Book Reviews


On not having children5 star

Brilliant essays by sixteen people who are neither selfish, shallow, nor self absorbed.55

Stack of plates

Good3 star

All the differing perspectives are great, the writing superb!35


Children are not the answer.5 star

Many folks have stated that making the decision not to have children is a selfish one. I propose that choosing to have children is the single most selfish choice that humans ever make. The end.55

Other Books by Meghan Daum

The Unspeakable


The Unspeakable
4     32
My Misspent Youth


My Misspent Youth
The Problem with Everything


The Problem with Everything
4.5     11

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