We typically think of narcissists as people with an inflated sense of their own uniqueness. If you’ve been around a parent in the past, say, century, you will have been subjected to a more peculiar type of narcissism: the one that assumes the universality of their highly anecdotal experience. (As a parent myself, I’m certainly part of the problem.) In the Guardian, Oliver Burkemanshows how the baby-advice literary-consumerist complex has capitalized on this tendency, producing book after book filled with often-useless, self-contradictory insights.

It’s no surprise, argues Burkeman, that this publishing explosion came about just as newborns’ chances of survival increased dramatically. The removal of most life-threatening circumstances from the experience of giving birth and raising an infant opened up the space for anxiety around the more trivial aspects of parenting.

Child mortality began to decline precipitously from the turn of the century, and with it, the life-or-death…

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