My Review: Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace


This is a book for the socially anxious, and for the human.

The central point is that people like people who like them and everyone is constantly thinking about whether people are liking them so if you want to be liked just show people you like them but if you try too hard to be liked people will notice you’re not focusing on liking them and won’t like you but if everyone is actually honest and just goes around asking people whether they like them all the time then the differentiating characteristics in our surface personalities on which people base their likes and dislikes would be eliminated so the answer to the question ‘do you like me’ would cease to have any meaning.

Other ideas:
- “All true art is music.”
- There can be no awareness of sin without awareness of transgression without awareness of limit.
- People have a psychological need to believe others take us as seriously as we take ourselves.
- Vulnerability can make us resent the person we feel vulnerable with.
- Sadness can be a type of narcissism where everything becomes about you and your struggle.
- A deep need for anything from other people makes us easy pickings.
- “This… is known as Werther’s Axiom, whereby… the intensity of a desire D is inversely proportional to the ease of D’s gratification. Known also as Romance.”