Posted on January 19, 2019


David Riesman with Nathan Glazer and Reuel Denney; Foreword by Todd Gitlin The Lonely Crowd is considered by many to be the most influential book of. The Lonely Crowd. A study of the changing. American character by David Riesman with Nathan Glazer and Reuel Denney. Abridged edition with a preface. Lonely Crowd. A Study of the. Changing American Character. By. DAVID RIESMAN. IN COLLABORATION WITH. Reuel Denney and Nathan Glazer.

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Riesman believes that personal autonomy has declined in the other-directed society that industrial capitalism has produced. Even though he describes the other-directed society as obsessed with other people, he seems to say that this is a superficial and fake kind of sociability.

He sympathizes with persons of color who suffer from the other-directed prejudice of white Americans. While many of Riesman’s examples may seem dated, his concepts hold up overall. Lists with This Book. He explores how societies in various stages of population growth or decline inculcate different orientations withing individuals.

The problem with this happening in humans is that the worry over production concentrates us on the material world and its consequent attention to science and engineering. This lifestyle has a coercive effect, which compels people to abandon “inner-direction” of their lives, and induces them to take on the goals, ideology, likes, and dislikes of their community.

But we must never forget that these barriers could frequently be organized as defenses for the individual, once their flanks were turned by energy and talent, they provided the freedom in which autonomy as well as rentier complacency could flourish.

The third type is the other directed person. Unlike earlier Americans who looked inward towards their moral compass we depend on our peers for our values. Inevitably, our own character, our own geography, our own illusions, limit our view. Unlike the inner directed person, who is focused on truth and progress, she is not as certain what progress means.


The Lonely Crowd – Wikipedia

Outdated theories but the typologies still ring true today. The inner directed person tells their children fables and fairytales like Little Eiesman Riding Hood.

Pretty dense, dry, but amazingly prescient. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Just a moment tthe we sign you in to rifsman Goodreads account. It was quite interesting but I almost gave up. Rereading the book now, I can’t imagine why I was so impressed. However, he meanders incessantly, sometimes into tangents that seem to have little to do with his main point.

Some things have improved like tolerance of diversity at least in race and gender matters. Today’s other-directed people are driven by an anxiety that they are constantly missing something in life and that they are not likeable and interesting enough to others.

Jul 27, Brad marked it as to-read. View all 3 comments.

This section does not cite any sources. Feb 26, Dana marked it as to-read Shelves: Read this a long long time ago With books about social intelligence coming out every year we see a rehashing of Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people” still in print and selling well since it came out in we are all salesmen and team players if we want to get ahead.

Although this book is generated of a specific time and place some of it still holds water. How to define one’s self became a function of the way others lived.

A rentier is a person or entity that receives income derived from economic rents, which can include income from patents, copyrights, brand loyalty, real estate True, his prose has very little jargon for a sociologist not a high bar, admittedlyperhaps because tne wasn’t one he was a lawyer by training.

This was something I figured out myself when I was 19 or so, so I almost jumped when I read it in one of the greatest sociology books of all time. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. The consumerist society of today he describes as other-directed, i.


In traditional societies, people are oriented toward tradition unsurprisingly and may have very little conception of their individuality. The prediction that work and play would become increasingly difficult to differentiate was fascinating and one of a string of predictions that are more true today than could they ever have been in We have a proliferation since the fifties of subculture including some “rebels” but by and large we depend on others for self-valuation.

Today the triumph of riseman type of social personality is complete. He cautions the reader not to assume that his argument is Gospel for all Americans many popular readers assumed this, anyway.

He also taught at the University of Buffalo Law School. May 20, Brandy marked it as to-read.

But, finally picked it up again and really enjoyed it this time. Trivia About The Lonely Crowd After the Industrial Revolution in America had succeeded in developing a middle-class state, institutions that had flourished within the tradition-directed and the inner-directed social framework became secondary to daily life.

The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character

oonely Riesman argues that the character of post WWII American society impels individuals to “other-directedness”, the preeminent example being modern suburbia, where individuals seek their neighbors approval and fear being outcast from their community. Aug 01, William rated it really liked it Shelves: Jun 23, joseph rated it really liked it.

Is it conceivable that these economically privileged Americans will some day wake up to the fact that they overconform? Politics should not be based on popularity or transactions. The main problem is that there is so much to say about this book that it is hard to not go on forever.