Harvard Medical School psychologist and Huffington Post blogger Craig Malkin addresses the "narcissism epidemic" by illuminating the spectrum of narcissism, identifying ways to control the trait, and explaining how too little of it may be a bad thing.
"What is narcissism?" is one of the fastest rising searches on Google, and articles on the topic routinely go viral. Yet, the word narcissist seems to mean something different every time it's uttered. People hurl the word as an insult at anyone who offends them. It's become so ubiquitous, in fact, that it's lost any clear meaning. The only certainty these days is that it's bad to be a narcissist - really bad - inspiring the same kind of roiling queasiness we feel when we hear the word sexist or racist. That's especially troubling news for millennials, the people born after 1980, who've been branded the "most narcissistic generation ever".
In Rethinking Narcissism listeners will learn that there's far more to narcissism than its reductive invective would imply. The truth is that narcissists (all of us) fall on a spectrum somewhere between utter selflessness on the one side and arrogance and grandiosity on the other. A healthy middle exhibits a strong sense of self. On the far end lies sociopathy. Malkin deconstructs the healthy from the unhealthy narcissism and offers clear, step-by-step guidance on how to promote healthy narcissism in our partners, our children, and ourselves.
©2015 Craig Malkin (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
This was an interesting book; the first I've read that really gives a framework for understanding the degrees of narcissism and its impacts. Also, one of the first I've read that believes change is possible for higher degree narcissists. I enjoyed the book's story examples of people on the narcissism spectrum, how it affected their lives and the lives of those around them, and practical tips for dealing with either one's own or other's behavior. The parenting advice was sound and although not why I got this book, the thing I personally got the most from. I disagree with some of the other reviewers that this books implies that nearly everyone is pathological to some degree. Through the included inventory, I learned that I may need to work on upping my level of healthy narcissism so that I don’t slip into “Echoism” (kind of the mirror image of narcissism), which I found really interesting. I do agree with another reviewer who felt that the book is somewhat dismissive of the destruction and chaos narcissists can bring to those within their orbit. His lower level experiences with his mother (a semi-high spectrum narcissist) may have colored his view a little rosier than those who've had a high level narcissist rip their lives to shreds would have. He does address it, but strangely, merely gives a passing reference to the emotional devastation that loving a narc can leave you with. His suggestion to try marriage counselling with someone who you suspect is a high level narcissist seems especially dangerous. I've never heard of it coming out any other way than a catastrophe, up to and including the narcissist convincing the therapist their partner needs to be committed or is abusive. Most experts agree that going to counselling with a narcissist is dangerous and advise against it. The author just doesn't seem to know how maliciously manipulative and vindictive people like this can be and just barely touches on emotional abuse, which is nearly a given from a person with unhealthy levels of narcissism. His main information for what to expect after leaving a narcissist, is that you may be bored with normal people. There is no mention of either devalue or discard, let alone the PTSD, smear campaigns, and constant legal battles one could be left dealing with for years. There are other books that deal with the fallout and how to heal afterwards, so perhaps Dr. Malkin is making his own place in the field by avoiding the topic. The book overall is easily understandable, accessible, and concise. More depth is one of the main things I would have liked to see, but I enjoyed the book as a whole. If he published an expanded version, especially one that touched on healing from the kind of abuse only someone high on the Narc Spectrum can dish out, I would definitely buy the second edition. I learned a lot about myself and the world around me, so if you’re looking for a typical, but well written and interesting self-help book, this is a good pick.
I highly reccomend this book. I think it will provides helpful insight for not only dealing with the narcissists but for all manner of human interaction.
I am a clinical psychologist and writer living in Colorado's Vail Valley. I taught myself to read when I was 3 and I have been a voracious reader ever since. I love science fiction, literature, and non-fiction about psychology, business, history, politics, science and biography. I adore audiobooks and my kindle.
I'm a clinical psychologist who works with many "Echos and Narcissists" in my psychotherapy practice. This book's spectrum approach to understanding narcissism is positive and well explained. Dr Malkin's writing is clear and approachable without being technically dense or overly simplistic. The narration of this audio book couldn't have been more perfect. And I didn't catch a single mispronunciation in the entire narration, always a pleasure. I will definitely be recommending this book to many of my clients.
Living with a person in the unhealthy areas of the narcissism spectrum, this book was insightful in helping understand what caused this behavior and gave me hope that, with professional therapy, the love of my life could find his way back to a healthy life.
"Opened My Eyes"
Excellent take on what is a growing problem, thanks in part to social media and the Internet.
Unbiased and insightful it helped me to understand the people around me much more. I would recommend everyone to read this book. Many will not know they are living with an echo it's or Narcissist. With excellent advice on hope to deal with them. There is hope!
"I discovered so much about myself"
I got this book as I wanted to understand more about a guy I had started dating that I could see Narcasstic traits in him. What unfolded as I listened to each chapter, was an insight into much of my own behaviour patterns, my parents and how I too slide up and down the scale. This has pointed out valuable revelations about friends, and colleagues behaviour. I enjoyed how there is constructive guidance on language to use and how to manage yourself and others, also the positive spin that we are told narcasstic values are negative but in fact can be the opposite. I'm starting listening to the whole book again tomorrow, and recommended this to several friends. Invaluable advice for life!
"A must read (listen)"
I found this book to be a very interesting listen around Narcissism and the spectrum of different scales. I am listening to this book for a 2nd time as I believe I am on the darker scale and I am using this as a first step towards dealing with my emotions.
This is the first book I have listened too.
The narrator was very pleasant to listen to and I found both his reading and acting of different situation to be very captivating.
Once you diver deeper into the different scales and how to deal with them. I found that taking the advise to apply on others may work when applying on myself. I am also going to try and get my partner to listen to this book to try and better understand the feelings I have.
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