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Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad-and Surprising Good-About Feeling Special Hardcover – July 7, 2015
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“A fresh approach to the way we regard one of psychology’s most complex conditions. In a book that’s persuasive, insightful, and never dry, Dr. Malkin offers the right mix of analysis and advice and presents compelling, ground-breaking evidence that narcissism is necessary—in the right doses, of course.” (Peggy Drexler, PhD, Assistant Professor, Weill Cornell Medical College, author of Raising Boys Without Men and Our Fathers, Ourselves)
“This is an enthralling book. It takes the clichés of narcissism and unpacks them to help us understand and accept our human need to feel special while also coping with the dangers of self-absorption. It will become a classic.” (Dr. Sue Johnson, author of Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships)
“... a book that will have readers rethinking themselves and, paradoxically, those around them.” (Publishers Weekly)
“This is a true gem on the subject of narcissism.” (Library Journal)
“[Dr. Malkin’s] reassuring tone and plethora of case histories offer considered advice and generous encouragement.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“A gripping and sometimes terrifying book that will make you look anew at your spouse, your parents, your children, your friends, your enemies, your fellow workers and - perhaps most pertinently - your reflection in the mirror.” (The Daily Mail (UK), "Book of the Week")
“Dr. Craig Malkin offers a surprising, accessible analyis of narcissism—and explains why a healthy dash of narcissism can be a good thing.” (Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of Better Than Before and The Happiness Project)
“In Rethinking Narcissism, Dr. Malkin reveals the surprising good news about narcissism, exploring the complexities of narcissistic traits and deflating popular myths. Most importantly, he shows us how to develop a healthy sense of narcissism and how to manage relationships with narcissistic partners, friends, colleagues, and family.” (Dr. Drew Pinsky, author of The Mirror Effect)
“Certainly one of the best books I’ve read this year. Don’t be fooled by the title.. this book is for anyone trying to better understand themselves and other people.” (Todd Kashdan, PhD, author of The Upside of Your Dark Side)
“[A] fascinating book.” (The Independent)
“Among all the books that have been published on the topic in the past 10 years, Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad - and Surprising Good - About Feeling Special stands out as a definite must-read.” (Psych Central)
“Thank you, Dr. Malkin, for saying what needed to be said and clearing things up for me. For all of us.” (BookTrib)
“If you’re to buy just one book on narcissism, this is the one to purchase.” (Leon Seltzer, author of Paradoxical Strategies in Psychotherapy)
“Malkin, a therapist and psychology instructor at Harvard Medical School, takes a more inspirational attitude...” (New York Times Book Review)
“...gives us all a coherent way of talking about a much-discussed but often over-simplified and over-dramatized subject in these ‘look at me’ times.” (Peg Streep, bestselling author of Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt)
“Rethinking Narcissism brings much needed compassion and clarity to one of the most vexing problems in mental health without ever resorting to false hope or naivete. In that way, the book itself is special.” (Tom Wootton, Huffington Post blogger and author of The Bipolar Advantage)
“The book that protects you from narcissists...Is there someone in your life who’s hurting you and you just don’t know it? In this Harvard researcher’s illuminating, reads-like-a-novel-book, he reveals how to identify and repair your relationships to live with more fulfillment.” (Oprah Book Club 2.0)
“Is there a narcissist in your life? Chances are, the answer’s yes-here’s how to spot them.” (Red Magazine)
“Narcissists. They’re everywhere…Not according to Dr. Craig Malkin, whose new book suggests we’ve got it all wrong.” (Sunday Times Magazine (London))
“If you’re only going to read one book about narcissism this is it. Eminently accessible for the lay audience and professional alike, Dr. Malkin’s penetrating insights, his superb ability to tell a good story, and his courage in disclosing elements of his own story, combine to make this remarkable book.” (Joseph Shay, PhD, Lecturer Harvard Medical School, co-author of Psychodynamic Group Psychotherapy and co-editor of Odysseys in Psychotherapy and Complex Dilemmas in Group Therapy.)
“...will interest anyone who is intrigued about narcissism, what it means, where it comes from... [Dr. Malkin’s] empiricist side shines through.” (New England Psychologist)
“Craig Malkin’s book is another step in the direction of a broad and inclusive psychological understanding of human behavior and a step away from prejudice and narrow concepts of the human mind.” (Irene Oestrich, Chefspsykolog, PhD)
From the Back Cover
Harvard Medical School psychologist and Huffington Post blogger Craig Malkin addresses the "narcissism epidemic," by illuminating the spectrum of narcissism, identifying ways to control the trait, and explaining how too little of it may be a bad thing.
"What is narcissism?" is one of the fastest rising searches on Google, and articles on the topic routinely go viral. Yet, the word "narcissist" seems to mean something different every time it's uttered. People hurl the word as insult at anyone who offends them. It's become so ubiquitous, in fact, that it's lost any clear meaning. The only certainty these days is that it's bad to be a narcissist—really bad—inspiring the same kind of roiling queasiness we feel when we hear the words sexist or racist. That's especially troubling news for millennials, the people born after 1980, who've been branded the "most narcissistic generation ever."
In Rethinking Narcissism readers will learn that there's far more to narcissism than its reductive invective would imply. The truth is that we all fall on a spectrum somewhere between utter selflessness on the one side, and arrogance and grandiosity on the other. A healthy middle exhibits a strong sense of self. On the far end lies sociopathy. Malkin deconstructs healthy from unhealthy narcissism and offers clear, step-by-step guidance on how to promote healthy narcissism in our partners, our children, and ourselves.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book offers a variety of scenarios in which we all are apt to find ourselves at one point or another - real-life circumstances that are challenging to negotiate, whether you are dealing with "healthy self-esteem gone astray" at either end of the spectrum and whether the aberration is in yourself, a parent, child, co-worker, friend, mate or romantic prospect.
Many other writers offer little hope for those taking the frightful steps of opening up to vulnerability and moving away from the growth-stunting ends of the self-esteem scale (or for those who are supporting them), but this one offers strategies for avoiding shutdown and opening up communication; at worst, it teaches how to take the temperature in assessing the chances for nurturing growth.
Compassion says that no one chooses to be a narcissist any more than one chooses to fall on the co-dependent end of the spectrum, but sometimes life circumstances breed these traits as survival mechanisms for a time. The point is, anyone can get stuck given the right circumstance (in my view), so here is an opportunity to get the lever out and mindfully approach ourselves, those we love or those we must otherwise manage to circumnavigate.
Also, while some other books get heavily into the psychology of development vis-a-vis narcissism (and I've enjoyed a couple of those as well), in my experience they tend to be harder to follow and, perhaps, offer far less practical or hopeful advice.
If I may compliment them both with the comparison, I'd liken Dr. Malkin's book on narcissism to Brené Brown's wonderful TED talks on vulnerability. If one resonates with you, I wouldn't be surprised if the other did.
First, there is a fantastic new assessment instrument in the middle of the book which deals with narcissism as three dimensions. There is the prototypical, character flaw beloved by hollywood film writers and psychology today bloggers. There is the inability to feel unique, the unwillingness to show ambition, and the lack of concern for the self that reflects an unhealthy deficit in narcissism. Then there is a healthy level of narcissism, capturing the flexibility of self-care and compassion.
Second, there is excellent practical information on how to handle social interactions or relationships with an unhealthy narcissist. What I love is that Malkin even gives templates of how to respond to bosses or peers at work.
Third, hidden in this book is some of the best parenting advice available based on psychological science. Once again, Malkin provides a litany of specific advice on how to communicate and respond to children in an empathic, loving, and limit setting manner to increase the probability that a child will emerge as a healthy, psychologically flexible adult.
Third, there is great storytelling and science in this book, ensuring that each brief chapter is enjoyable and valuable.
I am amazed that this is his first tradebook.
Well done. Don't be fooled by the title that this book is only relevant if you are suffering at the hands of a narcissistic individual. This is a book for anyone trying to better understand themselves and other people.