They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life has been a captivating read for me. This book questions the all too simple "gene approach" in explaining what makes up a person's personality, how we interact with others in society and our current life situation. James has vividly illustrated by referring to a great number of studies that the care we receive as children correlates with how apt we are in successfully integrating into society and how likely we are to live rich and fulfilling lives. The identical twin studies, inmate studies and discussed examples of the latter that James provide in his book were the most revealing to me and greatly support his nurture vs nature standpoint. His very relevant discussions of attachment theory, conscience and sense of self tie in well for a greater understanding of personality shaping and our patterns of behavior and perhaps outlook on life that tend to become engrained into our brains from early infancy. This revelation of course gives reason for hope in that our brains are malleable and that with therapy reversal of damage is possible. Anyone with a curiousity for learning about personality shaping, anyone thinking of raising children or those already parents would benefit from reading this book.
I am not an academic, but I am interested in what makes people tick. This book has helped me to see another side and helped me to understand my friends more than any other book has. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!
Although a little dry, I learnt something new on every page. Interestingly, I found myself more accepting and more forgiving of those who I was struggling with. What I was looking for was an excuse to dump these 'difficult' people. Instead, this book helped me to foster better relationships through deeper understanding. What made me read this book? The title. I saw the title and I burst into laughter. (The title refers to a poem by Philip Larkin.)
I have recommended this book to all my friends because it has come the closest to explaining why I am who I am and why they are who they are. He is the only author I have ever read who explains why parents are different with every child they have. I have witnessed this, I have lived this, but parents will always go to great pains to tell you that they treat their children exactly the same way. RUBBISH!! Read this book just for that. Just read this book, it is a real eye opener.
This is a wonderful, well written, highly thoughtful and rather provacative book. It thoroughly, and compellingly discusses the importance of parenting (nurturance) upon how we become the people we are. It likely will go against the grain for those who so pervasively and unpsychologically, try and medicalize mental health, or focus upon genetics. Indeed, the manner in which we were nurtured is clearly identified as having an effect upon our personal/psychological chemistry (as opposed to the other way around).
Oliver James is a great writer, who shares his own experiences and talks about the importance of nurturance, or the lack therof, in the upbringing of people such as Prince Charles, Jeffrey Archer, and Woody Allen, among many interesting others. This really is a unique and valuable book and I'd encourage you to look through it's pages and then dive right in; it doesn't really matter if you start in the middle and then migrate back to the beginning.
I started re-reading the book the day following the first time I had read it, cover to cover. This is an important read for anyone who really wants to see what their parents did to them and how our problems are a direct reflection of the manner in which we were or were not nurtured by our caregivers, primary among them parents, and surrogates. The book discusses related scientific research in a clear, rational, thoughtful manner. The writing is insightful and original.
They F*** You UP is a good call to the way in which we can work towards changing the damage done by our parents through better life experiences, better relationships, and good therapy. Simply reading this book can put you on a good road towards feeling better and stronger.
Do relationships tend to follow the same destructive pattern? Do you feel trapped by your family's expectations of you? Does your life seem overwhelmingly governed by jealousy or competitiveness or lack of confidence?
Current fashion holds that this is all down to genes - we are the victims of what we inherit, and can do little to change that. But in this groundbreaking book, clinical psychologist Oliver James shows that, more than genes, it is the way we were cared for in the first six years of life that has a crucial effect on who we are and how we behave.
The legacy of this early care is lifelong and startingly far-reaching. Through case histories and his own wide-ranging research, James reveals that childhood experience dominates our choice of friends and lovers, defines our interests and professional drive, and even determines how prone we might be to emotional and mental problems. The influence of the formative years, James contends, actually affects the development of our brains, moulding their chemistry and patterns of electrical messages. Nurture, in effect, shapes our very nature.
In vivid, accessible prose, James combines the latest scientific study with revealing interviews with, among others, Stephen Fry, and Jeffrey Archer, and he explores the psychobiographies of the likes of Woody Allen, Mia Farrow and Prince Charles. They F*** You Up shows that understanding your past is the first step to controlling your present. To this end, each chapter includes a searching questionaire that enables you to perform as 'emotional audit' and become more aware of your role in your own unique family drama.
They F*** You Up is a vital, challenging book offering compelling insights into how childhood experience provides the key to personality.