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The H Factor of Personality: Why Some People are Manipulative, Self-Entitled, Materialistic, and Exploitive_And Why It Matters for Everyone Paperback – November 5, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Kibeom Lee and Michael Ashton, two leading figures in the science of personality, reveal some surprising facts about Honesty-Humility, a profound but misunderstood aspect of personality. Everyone from the sincere and scrupulous to the sly and duplicitous will look at themselves―and most certainly at other people―in a new light.” (Paul Silvia, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, author of How to Write A Lot)

The H Factor is a tour de force. Anchored in solid scientific research, it offers fascinating insights into how previously neglected aspects of personality influence people’s strategies about power, social hierarchies, money, and sex. And it offers sound practical advice for navigating the social world of some unsavory characters. It’s a ‘must-read.’” (David M. Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire and Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind)

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"The H Factor is a tour de force.  Anchored in solid scientific research, it offers fascinating insights into how previously neglected aspects of personality influence people's strategies about power, social hierarchies, money, and sex.  And it offers sound practical advice for navigating the social world of some unsavory characters.  It's a 'must-read'."
- David M. Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire and Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind

"Kibeom Lee and Michael Ashton, two leading figures in the science of personality, reveal some surprising facts about Honesty-Humility, a profound but misunderstood aspect of personality.  Everyone from the sincere and scrupulous to the sly and duplicitous will look at themselves--and most certainly at other people--in a new light."
- Paul Silvia, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, author of How to Write a Lot
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press (November 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554588340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554588343
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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The Myers-Briggs model doesn't have it. The Five Factor model doesn't have it. The Enneagram model doesn't have it. The StrengthsFinder doesn't have it. The DISC and the Social Style Model don't have it. What is "it"? "It" is the personality theory equivalent of the elephant in the room that everyone knows is there, but no one wants to talk about. "It" is the factor of Honesty-Humility--the "H factor"--the low pole of which underlies deceit, greed, psychopathy, and narcissism. As Ashton and Lee explain, the H factor influences "people's approaches to money, power and sex. It governs their inclination to commit crimes or obey the law. It orients them to certain attitudes about society, politics and religion. It influences their choice of friends and spouse." It can help us understand why some CEOs turn their companies into their personal piggy banks, and why some people are more likely than others to cheat on their spouses or partners.

How could such an important aspect of personality fall through the cracks? Well, for models such as the Myers-Briggs and StrengthsFinder, its absence is understandable because the creators of these models made a conscious decision to focus on the positive aspects of personality. But when it comes to the model that is currently the most widely used by personality researchers, the "Five Factor model" (also known as the "Big Five") the explanation is not so simple.

The Five Factor model breaks personality down into five factors (each of which are composed of six subtraits or facets) that are seen as the "primary colors" from which each unique personality is created.
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This book is written by two leading personality psychologists. I like that it is empirically based, but written in a way that is accessible for non-academic audiences. A great overview of the history of psychological research on personality and moral character. I have bought this book for countless friends and colleagues who are interested in understanding how personality relates to unethical behavior.
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The hexaco model of personality is probably the most accurate model of human personality available today. So if you want to learn about personality i will recommend starting by reading up on this model. This book is the only "non-academic" book on the subject, so it's a good place to start. The book is well written, and entertaining.

There are also a lot of good articles on the subject that you can find on google, eg the article 'Empirical, Theoretical, and Practical Advantages of the HEXACO Model of Personality Structure'.

I do have some questions left unanswered after reading the book. I hope the authors will address some of these questions in later works:

* In the book it's claimed that the Openness scale includes a tendency to be interested in science. However the questionnaire in the hexaco-pir contains very few items that assess scientific interests. According to the survey 'Psychometric Characteristics of a Public-Domain Self-Report Measure of Vocational Interests: The Oregon Vocational Interest Scales' the Openness scale does not predict interest in "stem subjects" like science and math. So it seems to me that it's not correct to claim that people low in Openness is not interested in science.

* Sense of humor is not discussed in the book. I think this is an important aspect of personality, and it should at least have been mentioned.

* "Femininity vs Masculinity" is not discussed in depth. I doubt these traits are completely captured by the Emotionality factor. E.g men and woman like different types of movies, and choose different occupations and so on. There seems to be lots of gender differences in personality that the HEXACO model does not account for.
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This "scientific" analysis of personality, is bad science. As a survey researcher for several years, I was looking for an improvement to the Myers-Briggs which is a good start, but flawed. I wanted a consistent personality test based on modern psychology. This book introduces the HEXACO personality structure. Authors Lee and Ashton purport that most personalities can be defined along 6 traits. Those six traits are: Honesty/Humility, Emotionality, eXtraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, & Openness to experience. I have no problem with personalities being defined by a limited number of characteristics; scientific understanding is often based on categorization and boundaries defined to allow differentiation. The failing of this work is that every single one of the HEXACO traits is defined on a spectrum that has positive connotation on one end and negative connotation on the other. To provide examples: H - honest, ethical vs. self-centered, hypocritical; E - emotional, oversensitive, vs. unfeeling insensitive; X - outgoing, lively vs. inhibited, gloomy; A - patient, tolerant vs. headstrong, blunt; C - organized, self-disciplined vs. absent minded, messy; O - intellectual, creative vs. conventional, close-minded. When there are positive/negative connotations this strong in a personality test, the test becomes more of an intelligence test or a test of the taker's ability to game multiple choice questions than a true reflection of personality. I also disagree with the premise that the defining dimensions in human personality are good or bad. (In the book, the authors do not identify certain traits as positive/negative, but their choice of descriptive words makes their case clear.Read more ›
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