Complexity, Entrepreneurship, and Society Speaker Series

Entrepreneurs of the Self: Inside the Self-Optimisation Movement

Carl Cederström (Stockholm University) and André Spicer (Cass Business School)

October 18th, 2-4PM, John Molson School of Business, 6th floor, room 260 (S-MB 6.260)

When did we become obsessed with incessant self-improvement? Why did this happen? What are the consequences of always trying to work on ourselves? In this presentation, Andre Spicer and Carl Cederstrom will chart the rise of the culture of self-improvement from Europe in the early 20th century to Silicon Valley in the early 21st century. They will look at how this culture of self-improvement has seeped into many major social institutions such as the workplace, universities and the state. Drawing on a 12 month auto-ethnography, they will discuss what the contemporary culture of self-improvement looks like from the inside. Finally they will consider what the major drives of this culture of self-improvement are and what the prospects might be for escaping incessant self-improvement. The talk will draw on their two books, The Wellness Syndrome, and Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement. 


Speakers bio


Carl Cederström is Associate Professor of Organisation Studies at Stockholm University. He has written extensively about topics such as happiness, the CSR policies of Jamaican gangsters and psychoanalysis. He is also a contributor to the New York Times. He is currently working on the cultural history of fatherhood. 



André Spicer is Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Cass Business School, London. He has published widely on a range of topics in top academic journals. Recently these including bullshit, stupidity and institutions. He also regularly writes for the Guardian. He’s currently trying to write a book about the role doubt plays in human life. 


Where: Room MB-6.260, John Molson Building (1450 Guy), Sir George William Campus

Cost: This event is free

Speakers: Carl Cederström (Stockholm University) and André Spicer (Cass Business School)

Organizers: Joel Bothello, Pierre-Yann Dolbec, and Robert S. Nason