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Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional Hardcover – March 13, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A psychiatric pep talk guaranteed to rev up any reader.” – Booklist
 
“Archer’s creative redressing of these pathologically considered conditions is compelling and will definitely capture the attention of readers eager to “re-diagnose” themselves using his spectrum scale.” – Kirkus Reviews

“[An] extraordinary book.” -LibraryJournal.com

"With his fresh approach and some interesting ideas, Archer normalizes personality characteristics too often seen as pathological." -Publishers Weekly

About the Author

DALE ARCHER, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist and distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, founded the Institute for Neuropsychiatry and the psychiatric program at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. He also runs DrDaleArcher.com, a free advice website.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307887464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307887467
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ML VINE VOICE on February 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In his new book "Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional," psychiatrist Dale Archer argues that each of eight major psychiatric conditions -- attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, histrionic personality, narcissism, bipolar personality disorder, and schizophrenia -- are the extreme expressions of eight widely-shared personality traits: adventurousness, perfectionism, shyness, anxiety-proneness, theatricality, self-focus, high energy, and propensity for magical thinking. Each of us displays these 8 traits to some degree, he says, and one of the traits is usually dominant in our personalities.

Archer says his approach is an antidote to the over-medicalization mental health, the transformation of mild departures from "normal" into disorders that require medication. Archer uses himself as an example. He could possibly be classified as suffering from mild forms of several disorders, but, on the other hand, his adventurousness (ADHD) has bought him many rich life experiences; his affinity for drama (histrionic personality) won him many friends (and lovers) and made him a successful television personality; his self-focus (narcissism) has allowed him to pursue his goals and shake off failure; his high energy (bipolar) accounts in part for his being a successful psychiatrist, television personality, and author; and his magical thinking (schizophrenia) has made him a some-time professional poker player and excellent reader of people.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Normal People Scare Me" is a statement on a shirt I purchased years ago. Besides the obvious meaning, I think it makes some people who read it question "What is normal?" In his book "Better Than Normal," Dr. Dale Archer says "The box called normal is getting smaller and smaller and smaller every day" and I believe he couldn't be more right.

He describes in fluent detail how the attributes that make us different can actually make us exceptional. As a psychiatrist he is familiar with abnormality. He proved to me what I've known all along yet (until now) I was unable to find anyone who would admit to it--abnormality is definitely rare.

Our society is focused on labeling and medicating people. Dr. Archer reviews these lables as eight personality traits that are considered negative and abnormal disorders in our society and describes the core strengths of each trait and how each individual can embrace those core strengths to live an exceptional life. These traits are:

1. Adventurous (ADHD--Attention Deficit Disorder)
2. Perfectionist (OCD--Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
3. Shy (Social Anxiety Disorder)
4. Anxious (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
5. Dramatic (Histrionic)
6. Self-Focused (Narcissism)
7. High Energy (Bipolar)
8. Magical (Schizophrenia)

In my opinion, Dr. Archer successfully demonstrated that some of the attributes associated with these personalities are actually assets and not liabilities. For instance, a person who is high on the ADHD continuum has an adventurous personality. It is personalities like this that allow the explorers of this world to succeed. Those who are narcissistic tend to be great performers, visionaries, strategic leaders, and CEOs.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Dr. Dale Archer has written a book of pop psychology that posits the following premise: Most psychological disorders fall into eight categories of traits that exist on a continuum. When any of these traits become super dominant they can present problems, but there are also positive aspects to the traits. Is your glass half empty or half full? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And so forth. The eight traits are:

1. Adventurous (ADHD)

2. Perfectionism (OCD)

3. Shyness (Social Anxiety Disorder)

4. Anxious (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)

5. Dramatic (Histrionic Personality)

6, Self-Focused (Narcissistic Personality)

7. High-Energy (Bi-Polar)

8. Magical (Schizophrenia)

Dr. Archer believes that the mental health establishment has a tendency to over medicate, and that while medication is called for in some cases, in other cases it is better to embrace these traits, see their positive aspects, and how they make you the unique individual you are. They could make you better than normal.

There is a chapter devoted to each trait with anecdotes of people who have the trait and how they have dealt with the problems or managed to turn them into advantages. For instance, the anxious person is detail oriented and plans for all contingencies. Like a scout, their motto is "Be Prepared." But all the thinking about what could go wrong often makes it difficult for these individuals to fall asleep. Dramatic personalities make good actors, or trial lawyers making closing arguments. The self-focused, or narcissistic personality, has loads of self confidence and can bounce back from failure to try, try again.
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