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Sam Vaknin's Interview
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BookChums' Interview with Sam Vaknin

Post by: Kabita Sonowal

 

Noted Israeli author, Sam Vaknin is synonymous with varied portfolios of work from being the editor-in-chief for the online magazine, Global Politician to writing the widely-acclaimed book, Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited, a treatise and discussion on narcissism. He has also worked as an economic advisor for governments in Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern and Central Europe and he served in the Israel Defense Forces.  And the list goes on; here’s a person, who has been there and done that!


You’re an individual with versatile & varied interests: you work as the editor-in-chief for the Global Politician & you are a writer. In the past, you’ve worked as an economic advisor. What motivates you? What is your inspiration?
I am driven by the need to garner attention (positive, or even negative.) Attention (“narcissistic supply”) is both the fuel on which I run and the drug to which I am thoroughly addicted. I, therefore, gravitate towards professional positions, vocations, and occupations which guarantee my visibility, being the center of attention, and wielding power over people.

 

What triggered you to write?
As a young boy, I was short, foul-smelling, near-sighted, and obese (nothing much has changed since then …:o)) A reject and an outcast, ostracized by peers and physically and psychologically abused by authority figures, such as parents and teachers, I had to struggle to merely survive. Until I made the miraculous discovery: the omnipotence of the word! By combining and permutating syllables, I was able to motivate others to do my bidding; to induce emotions; to draw attention to myself; to generate shared fantasies;  to make a generous living; and to get out of harm’s way. It was nothing short of magic.

 

Tell us in your own words, your perception or views on narcissism.
Pathological narcissism is the narcissist’s incurable obsession with people’s reactions to a piece of fiction created by the narcissist at an early age in order to fend off hurt and abuse (“The False Self”.) The False Self is everything the narcissist is not: omnipotent, omniscient, brilliant … in short: perfect. The narcissist is compelled to behave in ways which elicit from onlookers and nearest and dearest alike affirmation and confirmation that the False Self is credible and real, not a mere fallacious narrative. These repeated attempts to square the circle generate contradictory, exploitative, manipulative, and self-defeating behaviors; rage when frustrated; and a pronounced lack of empathy (the narcissist has to be able to instantly devalue and discard those who threaten his precariously balanced house of cards).

 

Tell us about your hobbies & interests.
I have about 3-4 hours of leisure time per day. I am an eclectic cinephile and watch a minimum of 10 quality movies a week (many of them art house); I read mostly thrillers and mysteries bordering on pulp – to defray the heavy material I consume habitually as a columnist, editor, and amateur psychologist, philosopher, and economist; I write compulsively and incessantly.

 

Any advice for aspiring writers?
KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Dumb down your prose, use monosyllabic words, avoid reverting to a dictionary or thesaurus. The vast majority of your readers are idiots and will resent you deeply for any display of intellectual superiority.
If you write fiction, concentrate on romance and sex. If you are a non-fiction wannabe dedicate your tomes to conspiracy theories, religion, and the occult. Nothing sells better than drivel.
Finally: self-publish e-books and promote them yourself. In today’s world with barriers to entry and gatekeepers rendered obsolete by technology, traditional print publishers are dinosaurs and vampires. Dinosaurs – because they are doomed to perish and vampires – because they give you nothing in return for sucking your pecuniary blood.
 

 

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