The Status Game Book Summary - The Status Game Book explained in key points
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The Status Game summary

Will Storr

On Human Life and How to Play It

4.4 (353 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

The Status Game by Will Storr examines our deep-rooted desire for social status and how it influences our behavior. It delves into the psychology behind our obsession with winning at the game of life.

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    The Status Game
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    You were born to play

    Ben Gunn had a lover and several campaigners fighting for his release after serving 25 years for killing his childhood friend. Ben was only 14 when the murder happened.

    But every time they came close, he sabotaged himself by committing a minor offense. They wondered, Why would anyone do that?

    Well, Ben Gunn had won respect by studying, defending his fellow inmates, and writing a popular blog that got nominated for an Orwell Prize. His self-worth turned to misery when he finally became a free man.

    Like Ben, everyone has an innate need to belong to a group. People crave the practical benefits they get from social connection – but once they’re part of a group, they then seek to improve their standing within it.

    We all play status games, competing for approval and acclaim from our fellow group members. Higher status often brings more access to resources, more mating opportunities, and better prospects for our offspring. But it also meets our emotional needs for meaning, purpose, and self-worth.

    Status games shape our identity. The groups we belong to and our rank within them influence how we see ourselves and how we behave. We play status games everywhere – at work, online, in hobbies, clubs, and even when we interact with the invisible audience in our minds.

    These games can motivate us to work hard, innovate, and achieve. But the fear of losing status also causes anxiety and harmful behavior as we desperately try to maintain or improve our position. Disconnection from groups can literally make us ill, as social isolation and low status are linked to poorer physical and mental health.

    And so we plug in – and, one way or the other, we pick up cues on how to play.

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    What is The Status Game about?

    The Status Game (2019) explores the unspoken social hierarchies and competitions for status that drive much of human behavior. Examining the hidden rules of the status game provides insight into the psychological dynamics behind people’s everyday choices and interactions, clearing a path for the ethical player to maintain their locus while thriving in a chaotic world.

    The Status Game Review

    The Status Game (2021) is a thought-provoking exploration of the human desire for status and its impact on our lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • By delving into the psychological and cultural factors that drive our obsession with status, the book provides a deep understanding of our own behaviors and those of others.
    • Backed by extensive research and interviews, it offers compelling insights into the ways social status influences our relationships, career choices, and overall well-being.
    • The book challenges conventional thinking and encourages readers to reflect on their own aspirations, ultimately offering a fresh perspective that is both eye-opening and thought-provoking.

    Who should read The Status Game?

    • People fascinated by psychology and human behavior
    • Those seeking self-knowledge and personal growth
    • All interested in social dynamics and influence

    About the Author

    Will Storr is a journalist and novelist who has published several best sellers including The Science of Storytelling, Selfie, and The Hunger and the Howling of Killian Lone. As a journalist, Storr has covered South Sudan, Uganda, Australia, and El Salvador for the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the Guardian in the UK, winning an Amnesty International Award and an AIB Award for his BBC documentary series along the way.

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    The Status Game FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Status Game?

    The main message of The Status Game is how our pursuit of status affects our happiness and well-being.

    How long does it take to read The Status Game?

    The reading time for The Status Game varies, but it typically takes a few hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Status Game a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Status Game is a thought-provoking read, exploring the psychology behind our desire for status. It offers insights that can enhance self-awareness and personal growth.

    Who is the author of The Status Game?

    The author of The Status Game is Will Storr.

    What to read after The Status Game?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Status Game, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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