"Vainglory, like all of the other capital vices, is a disordered love for something that — if sought in a well-ordered way — is good. To have our goodness recognized and acknowledged is something we long for as human beings. God not only made us good, but in the beginning of everything affirmed our goodness by announcing to the world he had made that we are 'very good.' . . . Pride spoils this view of our goodness and God's affirmation of it. It tempts us to distrust what God said, pronounce it inadequate , and try to produce something better by our own efforts. And so we scramble, breathless, toward greater achievement, or at least the appearance of it, hoping to shore up a track record of goodness that will win us acclaim." So writes Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung, a professor of philosophy at Calvin College. She has published and lectured on many other vices and virtues including sloth, despair, envy, gluttony, greed, fear, magnanimity, and hope.

The author looks at pride's offspring vices of boasting, hypocrisy, the "presumption of novelties," a peculiar medieval name for the habit of using, having, or doing the latest and greatest thing in order to produce astonishment in others and attract attention to oneself. DeYoung explains that vainglory's roots resides in pride and fear.

Marshalling insights from Augustine, Aquinas, the Desert Fathers and other theologians, the author suggests the antidotes for this vice include avoiding attention and fame, practicing silence and solitude, relying on the support of Christian community, and receiving the gift of glory. These same spiritual practices are applicable to the present-day stand-in for pride — narcissism.