Greatness: Who Makes History and Why

Greatness: Who Makes History and Why

by Dean Keith Simonton
     
 

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This path-breaking work offers the first comprehensive examination of the important personalities and events that have influenced the course of history. It discusses whether people who go down in history are different from the rest of us, and whether specific personality traits predispose certain people to become important world leaders, movie stars, scientific…  See more details below

Overview

This path-breaking work offers the first comprehensive examination of the important personalities and events that have influenced the course of history. It discusses whether people who go down in history are different from the rest of us, and whether specific personality traits predispose certain people to become important world leaders, movie stars, scientific geniuses, and athletes. Simonton examines the full range of phenomena associated with greatness--everything from genetic inheritance, intuition, aesthetic appreciation, and birth order, to formal education, sexual orientation, aging, IQ, and alcohol and drug abuse. The work embeds psychological topics in the larger contexts of science, art, politics, and history to essentially define a new interdisciplinary field of study: the psychology of history.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a book that might be used as a text or as a reference but here's the great part: It can be read for enjoyment!...Simonton has created a monument to completeness and complexity, but it is highly readable. The book is replete with fascinating tables, lists, and charts about individuals deemed as great who share a common characteristic....The book is very well written, full of examples and creative interpretation, persuasive, and up to date. This is a great book about greatness." --Malcolm James Ree in Personnel Psychology

"Simonton's book is so comprehensive and so engagingly written that, if major research universities regularly offered courses in the psychology of history, Greatness: Who Makes History and Why would be widely adopted as a text. The book is, in short, a tour de force: spirited, erudite, and entertaining - well within the reach of advanced undergraduates." --Philip E. Tetlock

"Fascinating, thorough, varied, readable, good text for students." --Joel Funk, Plymouth State College, New Hampshire

"Everything you wanted to know--and more--about the great historical figures who have shaped culture and society, Dean K. Simonton, our most prolific psychologist in the field of creativity studies, has assembled here a treasure-trove of facts and observations that will delight the reader, and serve as a useful reference for many years to come." --Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D., The University of Chicago, author of FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

"Dean Simonton's book on Greatness is a tour de force that explores the many aspects of greatness, including intelligence, creativity, leadership, social forces, and more. The book combines Simonton's own pathbreaking analyses of greatness with those of others, providing essential reading for anyone interested in what makes some people stand out from the rest. The book is written in a lucid, engaging style that will interest laypeople as well as professionals in all disciplines who wish to know what makes some people stand out from the rest." --Robert J. Sternberg, Ph.D., Yale University, author of The Nature Of Creativity

"Dean Keith Simonton has long been esteemed within the social sciences for his pioneering studies of creativity, leadership, and genius. Now he has produced a fascinating, accessible, and authoritative survey of work in this area. Students and seasoned experts are equally in his debt." --Howard Gardner, Ph.D., Harvard University, Graduate School of Education

Readings

"Only a great book could do justice to greatness throughout the ages, and Simonton has produced one."--Readings
Library Journal
Simonton (psychology, Univ. of California-Davis) calls this a psychology of history and not a work on psychohistory, though he includes a discussion of the latter. The subtitle of the book might more accurately read "who makes it into the history books and why." The individuals mentioned include many famous scientists and representatives of the arts and entertainment, though none is discussed in depth; little is included about social and political change. Simonton emphaszies such factors as genetics, family, education, personality, and motivational differences in relation to outstanding fame or achievement, and he makes some strange digressions, such as a computer analysis of Shakespeare's sonnets. Written with both a popular and professional audience in mind, this is suitable, though not essential, for public and academic libraries.-R. James Tobin, Univ. of Wisconsin Lib., Milwaukee

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780898623703
Publisher:
Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
05/20/1994
Pages:
516
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.31(d)
Lexile:
1150L (what's this?)

Meet the Author


Dean Keith Simonton, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California at Davis, has published more than 100 articles and five books on various aspects of history-making personalities and events.

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