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Reviews

  • An engaging read . . . O'Neil lays out the ways in which shame drives problems such as obesity, drug addiction, poverty and political divides. She discusses how social media thrives on and is designed to encourage humiliation, and unpicks the many fallacies in how we think about shame

    New Statesman
  • Striking ... O'Neil examines how the 'shame industrial complex' divides us and how we can develop a healthier, more forgiving version

    Financial Times
  • A unique and riveting look at a crucial yet little understood aspect of modern life

    Publisher's Weekly
  • A simple rejoinder to our digital phantasmagoria. . . O'Neil encourages readers to try to think more deeply not just about what shame is but what it might be for

    Jennifer Szalai, New York Times
  • What is the relationship between shame and power - and is shame being weaponised? Smart thinker Cathy O'Neil tackles the question in this book, exploring whether public shaming is becoming dangerous

    Evening Standard
  • In this trenchant, and at times heartbreaking, critique of the shame industrial complex, Cathy O'Neil lays bare how shame underpins the deep divides of modern society. But not all shame is bad, O'Neil contends -- used correctly it can be a powerful tool to fight injustice

    Nicole Aschoff, author of The New Prophets of Capital
  • An intimate and unflinching account of the many ways that shame is produced, weaponized, and turned into profit by industries that can only grow big when we feel small. With moral clarity and powerful storytelling, Cathy O'Neil reverse engineers the 'shame machine,' revealing its inner workings and inciting nothing short of a cultural reckoning that has the potential to blow this machine to bits

    Ruha Benjamin, author of Race After Technology
  • Cathy O'Neil's fascinating, important, and insightful book is a hard look in the mirror, but one that also gives us hope that we can marshal shame into a force for social reform and not just social punishment

    Michael Patrick Lynch, author of Know-it-All Society
  • Cathy O'Neil's Weapons of Math Destruction was a thunderclap -- using wonderfully vivid stories, it exposed the dehumanizing effects of a data-driven world. The Shame Machine is even more personal, but no less devastating. Whether it's through body-shaming mobs or a deeply flawed judicial system, humans use shame as a weapon to bully, demean, and devalue other humans. And with the unstoppable growth of digital tools, this power has become far too great. O'Neil reminds us that we must resist the urge to judge, belittle and oversimplify, and instead allow always for complexity and lead always with empathy

    Dave Eggers, author of The Every
  • Whether it's smoking in public, masking against Covid-19, or promulgating political lies, O'Neil allows room for shame while also urging readers always to 'punch up' at the social and economic machine and its masters rather than down at the vulnerable. A thoughtful blend of social and biological science, history, economics, and sometimes contrarian politics

    Kirkus Reviews

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