We live in a world increasingly dominated by the fake, the prepackaged, the artificial: fast food, scripted reality-TV shows, Facebook ‘friends’, and fraudulent memoirs. But people everywhere are demanding the exact opposite, heralding ‘authenticity’ as the cure for isolated individualism and shallow consumerism. Restaurants promote the authenticity of their cuisine, condo developers promote authentic loft living, and book reviewers regularly praise the authenticity of a new writer’s voice.
International best-selling author Andrew Potter brilliantly unpacks our modern obsession with authenticity. In this perceptive and thought-provoking blend of pop culture, history, and philosophy, he finds that, far from serving as a refuge from modern living, the search for authenticity often creates the very problems it’s meant to solve.
Andrew Potter is the co-author of the international bestseller The Rebel Sell: how the counter culture became consumer culture. A journalist and writer, he holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto, and he is a former assistant professor at Trent University in Peterborough, Canada. He has also taught at the University of Toronto and the University of Quebec at Montreal.
Potter is currently a public affairs columnist with Maclean’s magazine, Canada’s premier newsweekly, and a features editor with Canadian Business magazine. Until recently he was the national editor with the Ottawa Citizen. He lives in Toronto, Canada.
Exploring a number of trends in our popular culture—from Sarah Palin to Antiques Roadshow, organic food to the indignation over James Frey’s memoir—Andrew Potter follows his successful Nation of Rebels with a new book that argues that our pursuit of the authentic is fraught with irony and self-defeat. Readers of The Paradox of Choice or Bowling Alone will find many enlightening insights in The Authenticity Hoax, which is, in the words of Tom de Zengotita (Mediated), “the kind of criticism that changes minds.”