Paul Verhaeghe / Paul Verhaeghe – What about Me?

Paul Verhaeghe – What about Me?

Paul Verhaeghe – What about Me?

Rights sold

  • Scribe (ANZ)
  • Ciceron (Slovenia)
  • Antje Kunstmann (Germany)
  • Sciencebooks (Korea)
  • Guangzhou Shengya (China)


Read our sample translation of What about Me?


About the book

According to current thinking, anyone who fails to succeed must have something wrong with them. The pressure to achieve and be happy is taking a heavy toll, resulting in a warped view of the self, disorientation, and despair. People are lonelier than ever before. Today’s pay-for-performance mentality is turning institutions such as schools, universities, and hospitals into businesses — even individuals are being made to think of themselves as one-person enterprises. Love is increasingly hard to find, and we struggle to lead meaningful lives.

In What about Me?, Paul Verhaeghe’s main concern is how social change has led to this psychic crisis and altered the way we think about ourselves. He investigates the effects of 30 years of neoliberalism, free-market forces, privatisation, and the relationship between our engineered society and individual identity. It turns out that who we are is, as always, determined by the context in which we live.

From his clinical experience as a psychotherapist, Verhaeghe shows the profound impact that social change is having on mental health, even affecting the nature of the disorders from which we suffer. But his book ends on a note of cautious optimism. Can we once again become masters of our fate?

Paul Verhaeghe describes how the modern economy perpetrates a merciless selection, thereby forcing people into permanent competition. A settling of accounts with neoliberalism. - Frankfurter Rundschau & Berliner Zeitung

Remarkable. … What About Me? is one of those books that, by making connections between apparently distinct phenomena, permits sudden new insights into what is happening to us and why. – The Guardian

A well-considered and fierce indictment of the rat race we call our lives and the toll it takes on us. – NRC Handelsblad


Clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Paul Verhaeghe (b. 1955) is head of the psychoanalytical department at the University of Ghent. With his books Tussen hysterie en vrouw (Between Hysteria and Woman, 1996) and Over normaliteit en andere afwijkingen (On Being Normal and Other Disorders, 2002) he gained international recognition as an expert on Freud and Lacan. He acquired a broad readership with Liefde in tijden van eenzaamheid (Love in Times of Loneliness 1998, updated 2011) and Het einde van de psychotherapie (The End of Psychotherapy, 2009), while De effecten van een neoliberale meritocratie op identiteit en interpersoonlijke verhoudingen (The Effects on Identity of a Neoliberal Meritocracy) won him a prize for the best essay of 2011 from Liberales. The American edition of On Being Normal and Other Disorders (2002) was awarded the Goethe Prize. His work Identiteit (What About Me? The struggle for identity in a market-based society, 2012) was published in German, English, Korean, Slovenian and Chinese.  Autoriteit (Authority, 2015) is an encouraging and much-needed appeal to give a new, modern interpretation to authority.

© Michiel Hendryckx

Additional book information

  • Non-fiction
  • ISBN 9789023473039
  • Number of pages: 256
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: € 19,90
  • English sample available