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The Normal Personality: A New Way of Thinking about People 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521707442
ISBN-10: 0521707447
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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Normal Personality: A New Way of Thinking about People
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  • Who Am I? The 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Our Actions and Define Our Personalities
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  • The 16 Strivings for God: The New Psychology of Religious Experiences
Total price: $64.00
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This latest from Ohio State University psychology professor Reiss (Who Am I?) takes on a good majority of working therapists and academics by positing that "values, not unconscious psychodynamics, drive the human psyche." With vigorous research, analysis and anecdotal evidence, Reiss argues convincingly that by addressing ordinary personal problems with "constructs developed to study mental illnesses," the community has pathologized normal human personality traits and behaviors: "orderliness is a mild form of Obsessive-Compulsive disorder; unhappiness is a mild form of depression." Reiss's model, "motivation analysis," sees problems as the result of frustrated goals or values in the here and now, rather than hidden reserves of anxiety or anger. One's mix of goals and values can be determined and analyzed using the Reiss Motivation Profile (RMP), based on what Reiss argues is the most complete taxonomy of personality yet developed. Extensive empirical research has led Reiss to identify sixteen basic desires (including acceptance, curiosity, family, power and tranquility) that, together, provide an accurate personality portrait. Reiss makes an accessible case for his approach's superior ability to understand problems and predict behavior. It should provide food for thought for anyone in the mental health community, as well as those who feel they've been underserved or misunderstood by traditional psychotherapy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Printed Access Code edition.

Review

"...In a time when children, and even household pets, swallow Prozac, Reiss revives a neglected diagnosis for worrywarts, wallflowers, daydreamers, pessimists, and eccentrics alike: normal. He broadens normality by outlining how abnormal behaviors can arise when life motives are obstructed or personal values contradicted. Reiss lists how various combinations of 16 basic desires lead to dilemmas that eventually bring people to counseling. He offers a way to manage personal problems, without cracking the medicine cabinet or the skeleton closet."
--Science News


"...this book advances a scientific theory of psychological needs, values and personality traits. Reiss' research shows how the motivational spectrum produces different personality traits and values, and how that correlates to the way we handle/deal our personal relationships. "
--Lenore Skomal, divorce360.com


"The Normal Personality: A New Way of Thinking About People, Steven Reiss (Cambridge University Press): Good news: You're normal. Despite the fact that every lesbian you know is on Prozac or in therapy, Reiss insists most of us aren't crazy. Instead, he contends that an over reliance on Freudian analysis led modern psychopathology to evaluate normal personal problems using constructs developed from studies of mental illness. Rather than unconscious mental forces originating in childhood, Reiss points to 16 basic human desires lead that lead to personal issues. Not immune from the natural human intolerance of people expressing significantly different values; Reiss argues, psychologists and psychiatrists often confuse individuality with abnormality and over-diagnose disorders."
--Curve Magazine


"...it offers a new view of the "normal" personality, one firmly ensconced in the study of values and motivations...an intriguing account of why human conflict, particularly the romantic variety, occurs with such regularity...Recommended..."
--D.S. Dunn, Moravian College, CHOICE
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (June 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521707447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521707442
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,595,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the first moment I began reading DR. Reiss first book "WHO AM I" I got fascinated in his theory of motivational-profiles.
I have a academic degree in "adult-education" and am a professional trainer since 2000.
I have implemented DR. Reiss findings within my training-program. People open up and feel comfortable when you help them understand their profile and why their behaviour is characterized in their peculiar manner.
The second book "the normal personality" has given me more assurance as to why my "methods" are based on reliable assumptions; from my own research viewpoint.
Both books are part of my background-documents.
They need to be studied over and over again so to sharpen my own approach with the people I help.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ground breaking research. Reiss's has finally solved the human equation with his science based motivation profile. This and his other book, "Who am I", really explains personality differences, how we're driven by motivations to get to our own "Goldilock's zone" of not too little and not too much of our own unique individual set point for each of the 16 disires that motivate all humans and shape our personalities.
If you like people watching or are curious or frustrated about your own or other's behavior/personality, Check this out. This is the ultimate self-help book becaues you'll understand what area of your 'self' you need to help to match your desire profile. Explains why 'self-help' solutions that worked great for someone else, could fail completely for you.
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Format: Hardcover
The Reiss Profile is still little-known in the academic world, let alone by the general public. Yet it is starting to make waves.
This book is an excellent introduction to this cutting-edge assessment tool, and to the philosophy that underpins it.
Using this tool one can quickly obtain external confirmation about our innermost motivations, and how exceptional they are in comparison to the general public.
Buy the book and take the test!
Then take the results seriously!
Andrew (Mo) Riddiford (2008 Amazon best-selling co-author of "Upping the Down Side")
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I always find work on personality types and the like interesting, so I always enjoy reading this type of work. However, this book tried to be more than a more detailed and thoroughly researched version of MBTI or similar work. This author first spends some time trying to convince readers that he is very smart. He then presents his work on personality attributes as a way to show that most of the disorders recognized by psychologists are in fact simply personality attributes. I appreciate the attempt to include more people in the "normal" category and help people with psychological disorders feel more mainstream, but I fail to see (in this book at least) how this isn't just a question of semantics. The author doesn't show that psychological disorders aren't reasonable descriptions or that the work psychologists do is invalid. He does make the case that the underpinnings of modern psychology are not very well supported with empirical evidence, but he does seem to ignore decades of successful work by psychologists based on that theoretical base (however shaky its foundation). The personality typology and modern psychology seem to be competing ways of viewing the world, neither of which can be shown to be right or wrong, both offering help for different people with different issues. I am not sure why the author felt the need to compete with psychology instead of simply offering a useful model for understanding ourselves and others in a different and perhaps more complete way. In sum, a nice quick read, but not the groundbreaking work for which the author was clearly reaching.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked this book more than I disliked it. I appreciate the non-pathological approach Dr. Reiss brings to personality. As a mental health professional, I know that we sometimes interpret problem behaviors as disorders. Dr. Reiss's stance that a person's conflict of values is not mental illness internal is valid. His examples of the many forms these normal conflicts can take certainly make his point. Things I disliked were his criticisms of traditional psychology and therapy based on an outdated information and understanding of psychodynamic thinking. Also, to say that psychologists have not studied motivation, or that if you choose the right career you won't need a counselor, or that psychologists automatically view school problems as a learning or attention disorder does a dis-service to those with significant emotional issues and the many competent professionals who do look at the full range of what contributes to problems. With all that said, I still liked this book more than not. I read it months ago and the ideas and research on how problems arise from conflicting values are still fresh in my mind. If I were teaching a course on personality or abnormal psychology, I would definitely incorporate his ideas and research.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
By itself, this title would be worth reading, but if you've already read "Who Am I?", it's a bit redundant. I don't know that I really learned anything that I didn't already learn from the first book. Still, I applaud Steven Reiss for the validity of his Motivation Theory, so I didn't mind sending a few more dollars his way.
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