Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, & Creative Lives by Frank J. Sulloway
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." Boston Globe
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.
Frank J. Sulloway has a Ph.D. from Harvard. He is a M.I.T. Research Scholar and also a recipient of a MacArthur 'Genius' grant. He is the author of Freud: Biologist of the Mind. He lives in Massachusetts.
Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, & Creative Lives 3.5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
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?
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