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 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 words 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 readers will learn that there's far more to narcissism than its reductive invective would imply. The truth is that we all 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 healthy from unhealthy narcissism and offers clear, step-by-step guidance on how to promote healthy narcissism in our partners, our children, and ourselves.
Dr. Craig Malkin
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Absolutely practical and completely accessible. After having purchased and read a multitude of books on narcissism, all I can say is that I wish I had found this one first.
This book offers a variety of scenarios in which we all are apt to find ourselves at one point or another - real-life circumstances that are challenging to negotiate, whether you are dealing with "healthy self-esteem gone astray" at either end of the spectrum and whether the aberration is in yourself, a parent, child, co-worker, friend, mate or romantic prospect.
Many other writers offer little hope for those taking the frightful steps of opening up to vulnerability and moving away from the growth-stunting ends of the self-esteem scale (or for those who are supporting them), but this one offers strategies for avoiding shutdown and opening up communication; at worst, it teaches how to take the temperature in assessing the chances for nurturing growth.
This is certainly one of the best books I've read this year. First, there is a fantastic new assessment instrument in the middle of the book which deals with narcissism as three dimensions. There is the prototypical, character flaw beloved by hollywood film writers and psychology today bloggers. There is the inability to feel unique, the unwillingness to show ambition, and the lack of concern for the self that reflects an unhealthy deficit in narcissism. Then there is a healthy level of narcissism, capturing the flexibility of self-care and compassion. Second, there is excellent practical information on how to handle social interactions or relationships with an unhealthy narcissist. What I love is that Malkin even gives templates of how to respond to bosses or peers at work. Third, hidden in this book is some of the best parenting advice available based on psychological science. Once again, Malkin provides a litany of specific advice on how to communicate and respond to...
I'm not sure I can add much to Ohio_K's review, though I'll include this observation for anybody considering the book who has a tendency to over-think everything: this book has a near (if not) perfect balance of (a) content and (b) references to more specialized or technical (e.g., peer reviewed journals) resources. I deeply appreciate that in addition to its high-quality message, the presentation makes it so much easier for me to manage tackling what can be very stubborn and complex topics.
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