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A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
"An important and valuable study that will define research agendas for years to come. It is also hugely fun to read."
Why do people raised in the same families often differ more dramatically in personality than those from different families? What made Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, and Voltaire uniquely suited to challenge the conventional wisdom of their times? This pioneering inquiry into the significance of birth order answers both these questions with a conceptual boldness that has made critics compare it with the work of Freud and of Darwin himself.
Frank J. Sulloway envisions families as ecosystems in which siblings compete for parental favor by occupying specialized niches. Combing through thousands of biographies in politics, science, and religion, he demonstrates that firstborn children are more likely to identify with authority whereas their younger siblings are predisposed to rise against it. Family dynamics, Sulloway concludes, is a primary engine of historical change. Elegantly written, masterfully researched, Born to Rebel is a grand achievement that has galvanized historians and social scientists and will fascinate anyone who has ever pondered the enigma of human character.
"Daring . . . a stunning achievement. "
—The New York Times Book Review
|Pt. 1||Birth Order and Revolutionary Personality|
|1||Openness to Scientific Innovation||3|
|2||Birth Order and Scientific Revolutions||20|
|3||Birth Order and Personality||55|
|Pt. 2||All in the Family|
|8||Exceptions to the Rule||195|
|Pt. 3||Social and Political Thought|
|10||The Darwinian Revolution as Social History||236|
|11||The Protestant Reformation||255|
|13||The French Revolution||306|
|14||Social and Intellectual Context||329|
|Appendix 1||A Brief Introduction to Statistics (or Correlations Made Easy)||371|
|Appendix 2||Coding Procedures for Variables in the Study||376|
|Appendix 3||Criteria for Selection of Participants in Scientific Controversies||383|
|Appendix 4||Expert Raters and Other Collaborators||386|
|Appendix 5||Techniques for Estimating Missing Data||389|
|Appendix 6||Data and Expert Ratings on Social Attitudes||394|
|Appendix 7||Modeling the Protestant Reformation||398|
|Appendix 8||Modeling the French Revolution||403|
|Appendix 9||Miscellaneous Technical Discussions||414|
|Appendix 10||Suggestions for Future Research||430|
|Appendix 11||How to Test Your Own Propensity to Rebel||440|
|List of Illustrations||445|
|List of Figures||449|
|List of Tables||451|
Posted November 7, 2000
This book was valuable in understanding myself and understanding others. I had never realized that there has been an ongoing battle between firstborns and latterborns all through history. Nor had I realized that most of my disagreements have been with people who are of the opposite birth order. As a result of reading this book, I have twofold advice for anyone: 1. Don't be too hard on yourself if you clash with those of opposite birth order. It's probably not your fault. 2. Don't be too hard on the other party if you clash with those of opposite birth order. It's probably not their fault, either. I have just one criticism of the historical examples: why wasn't the protest against the Vietnam war ever mentioned?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 24, 2008
No text was provided for this review.