The Status Game: On Human Life and How to Play It

By Will Storr

‘Will Storr is one of our best journalists of ideas … The Status Game might be his best yet’ James Marriott, Books of the Year, The Times

What drives our political and moral beliefs? What makes us like some things and dislike others? What shapes how we behave, and misbehave, in groups? What makes you, you?

For centuries, philosophers and scholars have described human behaviour in terms of sex, power and money. In The Status Game, bestselling author Will Storr radically turns this thinking on its head by arguing that it is our irrepressible craving for status that ultimately defines who we are.

From the era of the hunter-gatherer to today, when we exist as workers in the globalised economy and citizens of online worlds, the need for status has always been wired into us. A wealth of research shows that how much of it we possess dramatically affects not only our happiness and wellbeing but also our physical health – and without sufficient status, we become more ill, and live shorter lives. It’s an unconscious obsession that drives the best and worst of us: our innovation, arts and civilisation as well as our murders, wars and genocides. But why is status such an all-consuming prize? What happens if it’s taken away from us? And how can our unquenchable thirst for it explain cults, moral panics, conspiracy theories, the rise of social media and the ‘culture wars’ of today?

On a breathtaking journey through time and culture, The Status Game offers a sweeping rethink of human psychology that will change how you see others – and how you see yourself.

Author: Will Storr
Format: Hardback
Release Date: 02 Sep 2021
Pages: 416
ISBN: 978-0-00-835463-3
Will Storr is an award-winning writer. His work has appeared in the Guardian, Sunday Times, New Yorker and The New York Times. He is the author of five critically acclaimed books, most recently the Sunday Times bestseller, The Science of

”'Will Storr is one of our best journalists of ideas … The Status Game might be his best yet” - James Marriott, Books of the Year, The Times

”'[The Status Game] challenged the way I think about the role of status in my own life and in some ways it made me feel less terrible about some of my unhealthy fixations. If you find yourself needlessly worried about status, it might do the same for you … I can’t stop thinking about it” - Sean Illing, Vox

”'Eloquent, entertaining” - New Statesman

”'Moving … Scholarly … Storr showcases a rare skill - the ability to use technical academic scholarship in solving a real-world problem” - Helen Dale, CapX

‘I haven’t finished reading The Status Game because I’ve only read it once. There's so much in this dazzling book I will be revisiting over and over again’Daniel Finkelstein, author of Everything in Moderation -

‘The Status Game could not be more timely and provides a missing piece for understanding where we are, and how to get out of this mess … I can’t recommend it highly enough’Greg Lukianoff, co-author with Jonathan Haidt of The Coddling of the American Mind -

”'Thought provoking and enlightening - you’ll be discussing The Status Game everywhere you go” - Sara Pascoe

‘Bursting with insights into the hierarchy-crazed hellscape of a world shaped by social media, this book confirms Will Storr’s own status as a master storyteller’Helen Lewis, author of Difficult Women -

‘A radical new theory of human nature … It should - quite appropriately - establish Will Storr as the finest science writer being published today’David Robson, author of The Intelligence Trap -