- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (September 20, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0544273176
- ISBN-13: 978-0544273177
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Take Pride: Why the Deadliest Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success Hardcover – September 20, 2016
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"What is pride? Is it the joy of an athlete who has just won an Olympic event, or the boasting of a rich businessman? It's both, says Tracy (psychology & director, Emotion and Self Lab, Univ. of British Columbia, Canada). Pride can motivate people to achieve success or can be twisted into a kind of hubristic quality that seeks power rather than accomplishment. Moreover, the author's research program has established that displays of pride—expanded chest, head held high, clenched fists raised—are recognized by people with minimal exposure to Western culture, meaning that pride should be included in what are called the universal 'essential emotions.' Donald Trump supporters won't like this book—he's used as a prime example of hubristic, or negative, pride. VERDICT Politics aside, readers who are interested in experimental psychology and enjoy the work of Steven Pinker and Judith Rich Harris will appreciate this title." —Library Journal
"Fascinating...Readers will be particularly intrigued when Tracy claims that pride can trump pleasure as a motivating force, stating that many notable achievements and inventions throughout history can be traced back to it. Though the subtitle reminds readers that pride is traditionally regarded as the “deadliest sin,” Tracy suggests it plays a key role in the lives of most successful individuals. The first six of the book’s seven chapters are devoted to an analysis of how pride is expressed in different cultures and a revealing exploration of narcissism. The last chapter, however, is the meat of the book, the part readers will find the most interesting and helpful...This book is a must-read for anyone pursuing noteworthy goals, with Tracy aspiring to instill in her readers the message that 'you might just need a little pride.'" —Publishers Weekly
"Sometimes a major component of human experience falls into the cracks and is overlooked by psychology, and that has been true of the emotion of pride and its associated phenomena like accomplishment, ambition, and arrogance. No longer! With scientific and personal insight, and with a gift for vividly presenting both technical research and real-life personalities, Jessica Tracy enlightens us about how this emotion permeates our waking lives and shapes our social worlds."—Steven Pinker, bestselling author of How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate
"Pride gets a bad rap, says Jessica Tracy. Instead of being an unalloyed vice, it can become something closer to a virtue. In this fascinating book, Tracy uses original research to show that pride is a major part of what it means to be human and can be harnessed as a force for good.”— Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive and To Sell is Human
“An insightful and engaging exploration of a noble joy, a deadly sin, and an essential piece of the human experience.”—Daniel Gilbert, bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness
“Take Pride is a revelation. A renowned psychologist, Jessica Tracy explains that seeking our best self is nothing to be ashamed of, but that seeking praise at all costs gets us into the worst kind of trouble.”—Angela Duckworth, bestselling author of Grit
“Jessica Tracy has flipped the script on pride, showing that it’s not just a deadly sin to be avoided, but also a vitalizing virtue to be nurtured. She does it so convincingly and engagingly that she ought to be proud.”—Robert Cialdini, bestselling author of Influence
“This book stopped me in my tracks and left me questioning my beliefs about what motivates us. Jessica Tracy is the world’s leading expert on pride, and reading this book is like having a coveted front-row seat in her classroom.”—Adam Grant, bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take
“Pride drives us to success and achievement, but also arrogance and hubris. Tracing its roots to primate social dominance, Jessica Tracy found that humans everywhere express this emotion the same way. Here she offers an eye-opening discussion of both its indispensability and pitfalls.” —Frans de Waal, bestselling author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
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For a brief summary, I quote from the book, “One conclusion I’ve reached is that the desire to feel pride is one of the most important motivational forces propelling human achievement, creation, and innovation… There’s another pride that influences us too. It’s the pride we feel when we sit back and egoistically bask in our successes, when we arrogantly glow in others’ appreciation of our talents and see them as the best and most important parts of ourselves… Both prides – the creativity-boosting, achievement-motivating kind and the arrogant and self-aggrandizing kind – are the result of the same evolutionary forces that shaped much of our human psychology, yet their consequences could not be more antithetical. The hubristic, gloating pride is part of our human nature, but rather than generating hard work and a desire to be good, it evokes a desire to control others and to use aggression, manipulation, and deception to attain power and dominance – and to maintain it once we’re there.”
The author, Jessica Tracy, tells us why and how we should use pride, “Rather than pushing your pride aside or trying to stifle it, you can intentionally seek out the more desirable form of this vital human emotion. Listening to your pride is one of the best ways to figure out who you are, what you want out of life, and how you can get there.”
Chapter 1: The Nature of Pride – Tells about how the two different prides motivate us in different ways. It discusses how people respond to others who are making prideful poses.
Chapter 2: A Virtuous Sin – Takes a long look at narcissists and how hubristic pride motivates them, concluding, in part, “The pride that narcissists experience – a pride that’s best summed up with words like arrogance, conceit, and in Italy, orgolio – is not about feeling good; it’s about avoiding feeling bad.” In contrast, “Those who regularly experience authentic pride tend to have a very different personality profile than those who regularly experience hubristic pride… The genuine feelings of self-worth and confidence that come with authentic pride should reduce any need to defensively attack others… In summary, “Authentically proud participants wrote about positive events that were caused by something they did – the hard work they put in to make the success happen. Hubristically proud participants, in contrast, credit some larger aspect of their identities, something about who they were, like their abilities and talents or their stable personalities.”
Chapter 3: Me, Myself, and I – “When we like who we are because we see ourselves working hard toward some accomplishment that carries meaning for us, we feel authentic pride. When we like who we are because we see ourselves are better than others or as possessing some special abilities that give us a inherent superiority, we feel hubristic pride.” This chapter looks at childhood and how we develop different types of pride.
Chapter 4: Like A Boss – A look at the evolution of pride, which offers insight into how and why the two types of pride function for humans and human society. Hint, it has a lot to do with two different types of status.
Chapter 5: The Carrot and the Stick – Looks at how those who have gained status maintain it, depending on what type of pride they have. People like being led by those with authentic pride (because the leader has something to offer the group), but not by those who hubristic pride (who are out for themselves), so those with hubristic pride use threats and intimidation.
Chapter 6: The Highest Form – “Pride, it turns out, is essential not only to making us want to be the best cultural being we can be, but also to helping us figure out what that means. Pride allows us to learn and fully encode what our cultural norms are. As a result, pride is one of the emotions most directly responsible for a phenomenon known as cumulative cultural evolution, a force that’s lead the majority of advances that humans have made since the beginning of our species’ existence.”
Chapter 7: Take Pride – Discusses how to achieve the different types of pride and how authentic pride can slide into hubristic pride. “External rewards – wealth, power, and notoriety – can bring pride. But the pride is different… This is the pride that narcissists depend on to avoid succumbing to deep-seated feelings of shame. It’s the pride that can lead to frequent demonstrations ofarrognace, defensiveness, and outright aggression.” Those with authentic pride can shift into hubristic pride when “they start experiencing success, and with it, the thrill of others’ admiration. Their focus shifts from the hard work and effort that got them where they are to the self-satisfied glow that comes from observing the way others look at them.” A key takeaway from this book is how to achieve and maintain authentic pride: “We must remember that the getting there – the hard work or perseverant effort toward something that feels meaningful – is what earns us the pride we want, much more than reflecting back on the successes we’ve already attained.”
Tracy offers much, much more insight and detail than this brief summary conveys. This is a book that anyone would benefit from. I find it so worthwhile that I will be giving it as a gift to several people this year, as well as getting myself the audiobook version to listen to.
The problem with the word "pride" is that there are two kinds, not one. The first is the one we can't stand; it's boastful, loud, and arrogant, generally springing from narcissism. The other is predicated on actual work, tempered, and earned. In Italian, she points out, those are separate concepts requiring two different words, "orgolio" and "fierezza." English has just one. She suggests we differentiate the two emotions by using "hubristic pride" for the negative kind, and "authentic pride" for real achievement. I've begun to do just that after reading her because it just makes so much sense. Her argument that pride is necessary also makes sense, and I believe we'd do well to educate children this way.
Tracy's writing is clear and straightforward, and her basic concepts are excellent. She begins by illustrating how physical displays of pride are common to all primates, describing various studies. After that, she tours the language of pride and cites more studies. From there she investigates the topics of narcissism vs. healthy self-esteem . . . yes, more studies. It's not that the book is dry - it's not. But each concept is introduced and backed up by too many digressions into research. Two, or at most three, different examples would suffice, yet she gives the reader several every step of the way. I found myself getting impatient, wanting to say, "Yes, I believe you already. Get on with it."
Perhaps I misjudged what the book would be about to begin with from the title. There was no "Look Inside" feature and I assumed this would be a guide to working pride into one's work, whether it be artistic/creative; scientific/technical, or simply a delightful hobby. Instead, it's an excellent overview about the emotion itself. Because publishing house editors title books, not authors, she's not to blame. Instead of "Take Pride," it should be titled "Pride," and leave it at that.
I didn't remove a star due to my misunderstanding, though. It's well worth reading for what it actually is. Just don't let the title fool you. I'm looking forward to anything she might write in the future.
The book reads well most of the time. The stories about different people, historical and contemporary, and the effect of pride in their lives makes it very engaging. I learned a lot. I found myself getting an inkling of understanding why someone as bombastic and ridiculous as Donald Trump could convince so many people to vote for him: look at his stance, the upward tilt of his head and his smirk - all ancient displays of pride that have an effect on those around them.
This book would be particularly useful to folks in the business world to study together and discuss. For me, as a teacher, it is interesting to watch the displays of pride and shame in my class of 2nd graders. It is clearly innate. After reading this, I used a more "prideful" stance in my classroom and watched as the kids responded in a very positive and more obedient way. Hmmmm.... there's definitely something to this!