Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality / Edition 1

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Overview

Every day, we evaluate the people around us: It's one of the most important things we ever do. Making Sense of People provides the scientific frameworks and tools we need to improve our intuition, and assess people more consciously, systematically, and effectively.

Leading neuroscientist Samuel H. Barondes explains the research behind each standard personality category: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. He shows readers how to use these traits and assessments to do a better job of deciding who they'll enjoy spending time with, whom to trust, and whom to keep at a distance. Barondes explains:

  • What neuroscience and psychological research can tell us about how personality types develop and cohere.
  • The intertwined roles of genes, nurture, and education in personality development.
  • How to recognize troublesome personality patterns such as narcissism, sociopathy, and paranoia.
  • How much a child's behavior predicts their adult personality, and how personality stabilizes in young adulthood.
  • How to assess integrity, fairness, wisdom, and other traits related to morality.
  • What genetic testing may (or may not) teach us about personality in the future.
  • General strategies for getting along with people, with specific tactics for special circumstances.

Kirkus Reviews

A succinct look at personality psychology.

As a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at the University of California, Barondes (Molecules and Mental Illness, 2007, etc.) has spent years studying human behavior, and this book reflects his systematic, scientific approach for personality assessment. The average person isn't likely to have time to research a difficult boss or potential love interest, but the author supplements intuition with a useful cornerstone for gauging human behavior: a table of the "Big Five" personality traits, among them Extraversion vs. Introversion and Agreeableness vs. Antagonism. To learn how to apply the Big Five, Barondes supplies a link for a professional online personality test, in addition to a basic introduction of troubling personality patterns–e.g., narcissism and compulsiveness. While genetics may play a heavy hand in influencing personality, Barondes writes, it's awareness of a person's background, character and life story that is paramount in unearthing reasons for adult behavior. Readers might like to see the author weave more everyday examples into the text–his exercise in fostering compassion by imagining an adult as a 10-year-old child is a gem–but there is plenty here to ponder.

Those looking for traditional "self-help" advice won't find it here, but this book clearly lays the groundwork for deeper human interaction and better life relationships.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A succinct look at personality psychology.

As a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at the University of California, Barondes (Molecules and Mental Illness, 2007, etc.) has spent years studying human behavior, and this book reflects his systematic, scientific approach for personality assessment. The average person isn't likely to have time to research a difficult boss or potential love interest, but the author supplements intuition with a useful cornerstone for gauging human behavior: a table of the "Big Five" personality traits, among them Extraversion vs. Introversion and Agreeableness vs. Antagonism. To learn how to apply the Big Five, Barondes supplies a link for a professional online personality test, in addition to a basic introduction of troubling personality patterns—e.g., narcissism and compulsiveness. While genetics may play a heavy hand in influencing personality, Barondes writes, it's awareness of a person's background, character and life story that is paramount in unearthing reasons for adult behavior. Readers might like to see the author weave more everyday examples into the text—his exercise in fostering compassion by imagining an adult as a 10-year-old child is a gem—but there is plenty here to ponder.

Those looking for traditional "self-help" advice won't find it here, but this book clearly lays the groundwork for deeper human interaction and better life relationships.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132172608
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 7/6/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 679,353
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Samuel Barondes is the Jeanne and Sanford Robertson Professor and Director of the Center for Neurobiology and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. A leading psychiatrist and neuroscientist, he is a member of the Institute of Medicine and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His books include Mood Genes, Better Than Prozac, and the Scientific American Library title Molecules and Mental Illness. He lives in Sausalito, California.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I: Describing Personality Differences

1 Personality Traits 7

2 Troublesome Patterns 29

Part II: Explaining Personality Differences

3 How Genes Make Us Different 57

4 Building a Personal Brain 77

Part III: Whole Persons, Whole Lives

5 What’s a Good Character? 99

6 Identity: Creating a Personal Story 123

7 Putting It All Together 139

Endnotes 151

References 177

About the Author 217

Index 219

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

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3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    Not What I Expected

    I did not find this book to be very user friendly. Most of the book sounded liked a textbook for Psychology 101.I felt the parts of the book that offered real life examples were more useful . I also found that much of the factual information given was very repetitive.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2012

    great book

    Lots of good information.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 7, 2013

    Yawn

    Started realizing that after reading a couple of chapters, I was reading pretty logical stuff, written in a collegiate way. I stopped. Unless it got better and revealed some earth shaking revelation in human nature, I stand by this review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    would not recommend

    Repetative. Few interesting facts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2013

    I see why this was free....

    This book struck my interest as I deal with all kinds of people everyday in my line of work. I thought it would be helpful to gain a bit of insight into my clientle and even my coworkers. What I found in this read like a college textbook. Very dry and clinical writing; as such I found it hard to stick with and enjoy. Only get this book if you want to spend your time analysing data along with the author. And definitely don't try to read this in bed; you'll be out before you know it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2013

    Clear, concise, insightful, helpful.

    Clear, concise, insightful, helpful.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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