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Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality

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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: 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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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: 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."

30 review for Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality

  1. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Highly recommended for the armchair psychologist (A little information, they say). Anyway, I don't know how much I'll actually use the information in this book, since I think we tend to go with our gut in deciding whether we like someone or not, rather than attempting to decipher the various facets of their personality, but still it was interesting, and potentially useful. The part I found most enlightening was the description of the Big Five personality traits used by psychologists, and the Top Highly recommended for the armchair psychologist (A little information, they say). Anyway, I don't know how much I'll actually use the information in this book, since I think we tend to go with our gut in deciding whether we like someone or not, rather than attempting to decipher the various facets of their personality, but still it was interesting, and potentially useful. The part I found most enlightening was the description of the Big Five personality traits used by psychologists, and the Top Ten personality disorders (and how they correlate to the Big Five). Those aspects of personality are: Openness vs. Close-mindedness, Conscienciousness vs. Recklessness, Extroversion vs. Introversion, Agreeableness vs. Anti-social behavior, Neuroticism vs. Emotional stability. The book then takes you through examples (many from famous people) to explain how to use the personality traits to "diagnose" (said only partially tongue-in-cheek) your friends and loved ones. An interesting and well-done book, if you're interested in psychology for the layman.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ixris

    I admit. I didn't finish it. I got about half-way through the actual written text (yes, it does stop 50% through the book - the rest is footnotes) before I threw up my hands. The premise is really neat, but reading this book is like being trapped with a fifth grader whose PowerPoint presentation is "ONLINE PERSONALITY TESTS ACROSS THE AGES AND HOW TO USE THEM ON YOUR FRIENDS". And they keep reading off note cards and refuse to make eye contact with anyone . I don't think it would be so bad if Baro I admit. I didn't finish it. I got about half-way through the actual written text (yes, it does stop 50% through the book - the rest is footnotes) before I threw up my hands. The premise is really neat, but reading this book is like being trapped with a fifth grader whose PowerPoint presentation is "ONLINE PERSONALITY TESTS ACROSS THE AGES AND HOW TO USE THEM ON YOUR FRIENDS". And they keep reading off note cards and refuse to make eye contact with anyone . I don't think it would be so bad if Barondes had tried a more authoritative voice. As it is, he reads as if he's trying waaaaay too hard to be your friend, and therefore comes off as if he's trying to please you, and suddenly he's nine. I kept reading because I kept wanting it to be a good book. It's not. It's really, really not. I actually felt as if I were getting dumber the more time I invested in this. What a wash.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    This was a great book BUT IT ENDED HALF WAY THROUGH!!!!!! The rest of the book is footnotes! WTF When you advertise a book that is 240 pages DON'T INCLUDE FOOTNOTE PAGES!! That is all. This was a great book BUT IT ENDED HALF WAY THROUGH!!!!!! The rest of the book is footnotes! WTF When you advertise a book that is 240 pages DON'T INCLUDE FOOTNOTE PAGES!! That is all.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Latoya

    Although the title, "Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality," indicates a self-help road map to understanding individuals, I find the book to be more informative than instructional. I'm enthralled with Mr. Barondes ability to take a topic as complicated and complex as the human personality and condense it to 150 pages of easy-to-read. I'm also quite grateful for the long list of references he includes at the conclusion of the book for those of us who are inclined to do fur Although the title, "Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality," indicates a self-help road map to understanding individuals, I find the book to be more informative than instructional. I'm enthralled with Mr. Barondes ability to take a topic as complicated and complex as the human personality and condense it to 150 pages of easy-to-read. I'm also quite grateful for the long list of references he includes at the conclusion of the book for those of us who are inclined to do further reading. This is not a book for academia nor should it be used as a primary source for serious study of human personality. However, it is a well-written starter source for introduction to the topic. Mr. Barondes did a fine job for us "laymen" considering his academic and professional credentials.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lex

    I couldn't help but find this read indulgent. Maybe it's because I'm a psych student, but all the material that Barondes covered could have been condensed to the first two informational chapters plus one more. I thought the biology lesson strayed from the overall message. I suppose this book would've been highly enjoyable if I had no prior knowledge of the topic, but I kept waiting for the big point and then became frustrated when I realized that the last 50 pages were endnotes. 3 stars for obvi I couldn't help but find this read indulgent. Maybe it's because I'm a psych student, but all the material that Barondes covered could have been condensed to the first two informational chapters plus one more. I thought the biology lesson strayed from the overall message. I suppose this book would've been highly enjoyable if I had no prior knowledge of the topic, but I kept waiting for the big point and then became frustrated when I realized that the last 50 pages were endnotes. 3 stars for obviousness and no new material. Though maybe I still feel disgusted about the author's undisguised conservatism when "objectively" discussing abortion. Either or.

  6. 4 out of 5

    John Burns

    This wasn't a great book but it did kind of blow my mind. Most personality books say "look, here's a system that breaks people down by their traits and puts them into categories and this tells you all you need to know about people". This book however says "here's the big 5 system, it's very useful but actually these personality systems are just one small tool in the arsenal of tools for sussing people out. What about psychiatric disorders? What about moral values? etc." Barondes leads up to a ful This wasn't a great book but it did kind of blow my mind. Most personality books say "look, here's a system that breaks people down by their traits and puts them into categories and this tells you all you need to know about people". This book however says "here's the big 5 system, it's very useful but actually these personality systems are just one small tool in the arsenal of tools for sussing people out. What about psychiatric disorders? What about moral values? etc." Barondes leads up to a full 6 different ways of addressing the issue of sizing someone up and the big 5 is only one of those 6 ways. And here we get to the problem with this book. It's only 100 or so pages long. If you had a book that ONLY discussed the big 5 then 100 pages would not offer you a very in depth overview. Even if your book only dealt with just one of the 5 traits of the big five then there would still be lots of room to expand and talk about more issues. As an example, the most popular personality book around right now does exactly this, it's called "Quiet" and it's a book about introversion/extroversion and it is a few hundred pages long. This book works in the way that, maybe you go to a party and you meet some interesting dude there and you tell him your conceptions of human personality and he says "yeah you're onto something there but I would advise you to also check out this and this and all these other aspects that you hadn't considered". This conversation in itself would not teach you very much but it would still be a useful conversation as it would open your mind to new possibilities, new ways of assessing personality that had not previously occurred to you. What it would NOT do is teach you a thorough system that you could use to evaluate personality. It would simply tell you that there are various systems you can use but you now have to go and do the work of learning about them. And I think this is the reason why people do not value this book. Especially if you pay for a book, you really want it to tell you something useful and somewhat complete. Although the guy at the party was useful in a way, he did not really teach you anything and if you had been paying him by the hour for his insights you probably would have come away feeling like you had wasted your money. All in all this was a useful book as it has told me that I need to, at the very least, learn a little about the "Top Ten" personality disorders. These occur to a severe degree in around 10% of the population but most of the people you meet will be operating under some mild version of one or more of these disorders. As such, they are clearly a useful tool to have in your personality toolkit. As an example, consider "Narcissistic personality disorder" (present in 1/200 people) and then consider the numerous people you have met in life that you consider to be "a bit of a narcissist". I need to find a good book about personality disorders. There seem to be A LOT of books about borderline personality disorder, so I suppose I'll start there. Overall I wouldn't recommend this book. Well... It is short and I guess it might point you in the right direction... I might recommend it but don't bother spending real money on it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy Raby

    My primary complaint about this book is that it's too short. Not counting the end notes, it's only 150 pages, so if you're looking for an in-depth look at personality, this may not be the best choice. However, the book was great for me because I've already read several books on personality, and despite its short length, this book went deeper into a couple of areas I'd already had an overview of, and so it added to my understanding. This book discusses the Big Five personality traits (Extraversion My primary complaint about this book is that it's too short. Not counting the end notes, it's only 150 pages, so if you're looking for an in-depth look at personality, this may not be the best choice. However, the book was great for me because I've already read several books on personality, and despite its short length, this book went deeper into a couple of areas I'd already had an overview of, and so it added to my understanding. This book discusses the Big Five personality traits (Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness). What I liked was that it then broke each trait down into its six sub-components. For example, Extraversion breaks out into Warmth, Gregariousness, Assertiveness, Activity, Excitement-Seeking, and Cheerfulness. This is a little more complex look at the subject. I, for example, am low in Extraversion generally, but not in Activity or Cheerfulness. The book also discusses ten "maladaptive" personalities--some might call them mental illnesses or personality disorders--and shows how they are extreme combinations of some of these personality traits. That part was really interesting. The book provides a web link where you can take a personality test and see how you rate not only on the Big Five, but on the 6 sub-components of each trait. The link in the book does not work if you type it in directly, but if you type in part of the link and then drill down through the file directories, the test is there and it still works.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen Zelano

    Some of the research and data shared here is very interesting. The personality assessments and psychological insights are helpful to understand as tools to getting along with and seeing others for who they are.. The author tries to illustrate how this information can be applied to real life by profiling real people such as Benjamin Franklin, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Here is where the book becomes less objective and more of a guide on how to judge people. His opinions on personality traits Some of the research and data shared here is very interesting. The personality assessments and psychological insights are helpful to understand as tools to getting along with and seeing others for who they are.. The author tries to illustrate how this information can be applied to real life by profiling real people such as Benjamin Franklin, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Here is where the book becomes less objective and more of a guide on how to judge people. His opinions on personality traits and patterns colors his writing. It seems he is explaining how he decides if someone has earned his favor. He explains which parts of the personality can be changed and when they may be changed. The book explains how to make sense of people so we can decide if they are good, bad and ugly. It doesn't promote what should be the higher goal of making sense of seeing the good in each person and honoring that.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Seth

    I got this for free from my nook, deals with the "Big 5" personality traits. Mostly very Pop-psyche, but has a few interesting thoughts along the way. I'm not sure it would really accomplish any of it's claims for someone who isn't good at "reading people" since it mostly just describes the Big 5 and loosely applies them to some public profiles, and some personality disorders. The writing was reasonably clear, and again a few interesting thoughts presented, tho' I think the most worthwhile thing I got this for free from my nook, deals with the "Big 5" personality traits. Mostly very Pop-psyche, but has a few interesting thoughts along the way. I'm not sure it would really accomplish any of it's claims for someone who isn't good at "reading people" since it mostly just describes the Big 5 and loosely applies them to some public profiles, and some personality disorders. The writing was reasonably clear, and again a few interesting thoughts presented, tho' I think the most worthwhile thing presented in the book was something penned by Benjamin Franklin.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mohammad

    Amazing book,, to the point, has a very interesting connection between Traits and Patterns in personality. the genetics part is perfect to convey the message of weighing between nature and nurture. and to sum up it emphasize the importance of a life story to the Identity of any personality/character.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Liz Ward

    I loved this book. It was full of great information about personality. This book isn't just about how to decode personality. It's also about what makes up personality in the first place, and how it differs from morality. Making Sense of People helped me gain a better understanding of people. I can say that I am more empathetic with others now that I can understand them better. I loved this book. It was full of great information about personality. This book isn't just about how to decode personality. It's also about what makes up personality in the first place, and how it differs from morality. Making Sense of People helped me gain a better understanding of people. I can say that I am more empathetic with others now that I can understand them better.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marcy Peska

    Much of the material in this book was familiar to me but I hadn't connected all the pieces in quite the way the author does. I thoroughly enjoyed this read & found the discussion of epigenetics especially interesting. I figure reading this book may be near equivalent to what a Theory of Personality course would cover but a lot less expensive. Much of the material in this book was familiar to me but I hadn't connected all the pieces in quite the way the author does. I thoroughly enjoyed this read & found the discussion of epigenetics especially interesting. I figure reading this book may be near equivalent to what a Theory of Personality course would cover but a lot less expensive.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Cheng

    The missing handbook for personality development. Thoroughly cited and researched with choice illustrations and examples.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ambassador

    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 as 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. From the Back Cover “This pioneering book does for our mental life what the periodic table did for chemistry; it breaks the mind down into elementary constituents and their interactions--thereby transforming personality research into science. In addition to being a rich treasure-trove of insights into human nature, it can potentially enrich your relationships with people. Barondes has written a masterpiece.” --V.S. Ramachandran, author of Phantoms in the Brain and The Tell-Tale Mind “We’re a fantastically social species, constantly taking the measure of everyone’s personality. In this wise, enjoyable book, the esteemed biological psychiatrist Sam Barondes considers ways to build up this vital skill. The book is clear, entertaining, and educational, and will not only make you a more adept social primate, but a more self-reflective one as well.” --Robert Sapolsky, Professor of Biology, Stanford University; author of A Primate’s Memoir and Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers “Making Sense of People is a marvelous guided tour through the infinitely variable landscape of personality. Barondes truly illuminates how genes and environment shape human behavior, and he tells the story with an engaging armchair style that makes the book hard to put down!” --John Oldham, President, American Psychiatric Association; author of The New Personality Self-Portrait “Human beings judge personalities every day, but often in an unconscious muddle. Sam Barondes has taken a daunting research literature on personality and has made it remarkably accessible as well as useful. I suspect that many psychiatrists will find this book as valuable as lay readers will.” --Steven E. Hyman, Professor of Neurobiology and Provost, Harvard University; former Director, National Institute of Mental Health “In Making Sense of People, Sam Barondes, a superb teacher and writer, creates his own schema to help us better understand each other and make the right decisions about who to share our lives with. A highly readable and enjoyable introduction to the psychology of everyday life.” --Eric Kandel, University Professor, Columbia University; Nobel Laureate; author of In Search of Memory What really bothers you about your boss--or your daughter’s boyfriend? Could the person you’re dating really become your life partner? Can you really rely on your intuition about people? This book will help you find out. Drawing on extensive research, renowned psychiatrist and neuroscientist Samuel Barondes gives you powerful, easy-to-use tools for understanding what people are really like and how they got to be the way they are. These tools will provide you with a system for assessing the person’s traits, character, and sense of identity, and then putting these elements together into a unified picture. Learning to think of people in this way will help you choose more satisfying relationships, recognize telltale signs of dysfunction and danger, and savor the complexity and uniqueness of everyone you meet. Supplement your intuition! •  Learn a system for understanding anyone •  Identify character strengths and weaknesses •  Make better decisions about whom to seek out and whom to avoid •  Find out how all personalities are shaped by two great chance events:    the set of genes we happen to be born with, and the particular world  we happen to grow up in About 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.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jared

    A great descriptor of the dimensions of which people are comprised! The book examines personality (from the Big 5 personality traits perspective), takes a look at clinically recognised personality disorders (e.g. borderline, antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders) and then describes the importance of character and personal identity in this overall picture. I enjoyed the depth of literature referred to in the book. The book leans academically in tone and this is a welcome deviation from A great descriptor of the dimensions of which people are comprised! The book examines personality (from the Big 5 personality traits perspective), takes a look at clinically recognised personality disorders (e.g. borderline, antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders) and then describes the importance of character and personal identity in this overall picture. I enjoyed the depth of literature referred to in the book. The book leans academically in tone and this is a welcome deviation from the typical self-help book about personality and understanding people. Section 2 of the book deals with the literature surrounding the genetic underpinning of personality and can be skipped safely if you are only interested in the practical application of the book. The book's highlight is it's final chapter "Putting It All Together", where the author walks through a structured and detailed method of understanding another person. To really appreciate this chapter though one would have to at minimum skim parts 1 & 3

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dide

    This is pretty short, not personally appreciated as I hoped I would have since coming by it in Tribe of Mentors. Learnt some stuff but most of the time wondered how practical it is for me to study myself against the world and vice versa and what wisdom would that be with so much limited time at hand

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shae

    I didn't get a lot from this that I didn't already know. It was a nice review of psychology terms and figures but that's about it. If anything I'd like to read more about Oprah, Steve Jobs, and Obama - those were the most interesting parts of the book. I didn't get a lot from this that I didn't already know. It was a nice review of psychology terms and figures but that's about it. If anything I'd like to read more about Oprah, Steve Jobs, and Obama - those were the most interesting parts of the book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sean Moran

    Full disclosure, didn't do the recommended book-length activities to bring it to life. And found some pieces to be too simplifying for complex humans. That being said, there's more science to this than I had realized and look forward to applying some concepts. Full disclosure, didn't do the recommended book-length activities to bring it to life. And found some pieces to be too simplifying for complex humans. That being said, there's more science to this than I had realized and look forward to applying some concepts.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Steven Perry

    Felt like it was going to go somewhere and then the book ended. Almost half the book is footnotes, reference listing, etc.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    Practical, with excellent examples.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Pratik

    A tad theoretical and technical but enlightening. Deeply rooted in research findings, the book gives a good overview of personality research including a primer on impact of genetics.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Good book which talks about the big 5 theory in conjunction with the top 10 personality disorders, as set of basic tools to examine peoples characters.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily Cothern

    This book was recommended on the Tim Ferriss Podcast, where I get many of my recommended reads. The idea behind this book is that there are 5 primary components of personality: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism to produce the acronym OCEAN, and then the opposites of each of these and the full range between the two. For example, Extraversion has the opposite Introversion and the middle point of ambiversion, but there is a wide range of people between the tw This book was recommended on the Tim Ferriss Podcast, where I get many of my recommended reads. The idea behind this book is that there are 5 primary components of personality: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism to produce the acronym OCEAN, and then the opposites of each of these and the full range between the two. For example, Extraversion has the opposite Introversion and the middle point of ambiversion, but there is a wide range of people between the two extremes. This first half of this work is not so much about self-awareness and understanding, but theorizes that one can observe these traits in others and interact with others based on perceived personality characteristics and patterns that fall in these 5 categories. As it happens, I am reading Isaacson's biography of Benjamin Franklin concurrently (also recommended by Tim Ferriss), and this book references that work repeatedly. Franklin was intentional, methodical, and organized in his personal approach to character development. This model is provided as an example for the individual interested in self-improvement. This is followed by a section on storytelling and the intention creation of personal stories to compose ourselves as who we have been, are, and will be referring to it as "the personal myth you construct to define who you are."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    *Personality decoded* Are you fascinated by the idiosyncrasies of human behavior? Confused by the tremendous variation of the personalities of people around you? Wanting to make sense of why people are the way they are? Then, _Making Sense of People_ will likely make sense for you to read. In this masterful guide, author Samuel Barondes brilliantly integrates the science of personality with the art of humanity to help make sense of human behavior. In the first part of the book, Samuel shows how t *Personality decoded* Are you fascinated by the idiosyncrasies of human behavior? Confused by the tremendous variation of the personalities of people around you? Wanting to make sense of why people are the way they are? Then, _Making Sense of People_ will likely make sense for you to read. In this masterful guide, author Samuel Barondes brilliantly integrates the science of personality with the art of humanity to help make sense of human behavior. In the first part of the book, Samuel shows how to develop a framework for understanding an individual's personality using the Big Five personality traits (Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism) and the DSM-IV's "Top Ten troublesome personality patterns" (Antisocial, Avoidant, Borderline, Compulsive, Dependent, Histrionic, Narcissistic, Schizoid, Schizotypal, and Paranoid). He then provides a look into how genetics, biology, environment, culture, and a person's own life story further contribute to the development of their unique personality. You'll have to read the book to get the whole story, but here is a quick summary of his step-by-step approach to making sense of people: **Create a Big 5 profile and look for personality traits that stand out **Identify personality patterns by looking for any of the four troublesome ways of self-perception: "I'm special"-->Antisocial, Histrionic, or Narcissistic "I'm right"-->Paranoid or Compulsive "I'm vulnerable"-->Avoidant, Borderline, or Dependent "I'm detached"-->Schizoid or Schizotypal **Make a moral assessment by noticing how the person measures up on the three domains of character (self-directedness, cooperativeness, and self-transcendence) and how they express the six universal core values of temperance, courage, humanity, justice, wisdom, and transcendence **Consider the person's a life story and how it has been affected by key factors, including physical, socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, cultural, family, educational, and circumstantial Although the author does make a science of decoding the mysteries of personality, he never loses site of the the gift of personal diversity (p. 150): "In the end, the greatest value of making sense of people transcends practicality. It is the pleasure we get from understanding their differences from others, as well as their ultimate sameness. It is the pleasure we get from more fully appreciating the humanity of those with whom we share our lives." I highly recommend this book if you want to get a better understanding of others--and ultimately yourself!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    The brain's building plan was not drafted by the systematic methods of professional architects. instead, each brain uses a scheme that would drive contractors crazy, with continuous remodeling due to changes in both genetic and environmental instructions while the project is still underway. ... The description of troublesome forms of this pattern in DSM-IV begins with three signs of such turbulence: "Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment"; "unstable and intense interpersonal relati The brain's building plan was not drafted by the systematic methods of professional architects. instead, each brain uses a scheme that would drive contractors crazy, with continuous remodeling due to changes in both genetic and environmental instructions while the project is still underway. ... The description of troublesome forms of this pattern in DSM-IV begins with three signs of such turbulence: "Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment"; "unstable and intense interpersonal relationships alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation"; and "unstable self-images or sense of self." The picture, then, ins one of intense interpersonal needs, strong attachment, and fears of betrayal. Prone to loneliness, people with this pattern often seek comfort from sexual promiscuity and illegal drugs. ... A good book for thinking about how people do their thinking. Worthwhile read, I think. Not to long, not too hard.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kater Cheek

    I wanted to like this book more than I did. I like that it uses the "big five" personality descriptions. I learned something interesting, in that dis-agreeable people tend to earn more than agreeable people. It's a subject I like, and it's a subject I can barely get enough of, but I started to notice that I'd been reading and reading and reading and hadn't gotten very far in the book. And, like some of the not-so-good lecturers, I'd stopped paying attention to what I was reading and wasn't sure I wanted to like this book more than I did. I like that it uses the "big five" personality descriptions. I learned something interesting, in that dis-agreeable people tend to earn more than agreeable people. It's a subject I like, and it's a subject I can barely get enough of, but I started to notice that I'd been reading and reading and reading and hadn't gotten very far in the book. And, like some of the not-so-good lecturers, I'd stopped paying attention to what I was reading and wasn't sure where I'd lost the train of it. Interesting subject, so a potentially interesting read, but I just got terribly bored with it. To put it delicately, it didn't engage me, and felt much longer than it ought to have been. To put it bluntly, it bored me. I'm afraid I couldn't finish it. At 50% in, it started to feel like too much of a chore. *Addendum--other reviewers say that the book ends halfway through, and the rest is endnotes. So maybe I did "finish" the book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dee Renee Chesnut

    I received this as a free ebook from BN.com, when it was recommended in a comment on the Free Friday blog. I read it because I want to understand people, and this recommends a systematic way to observe for information and to listen to the stories people tell about themselves. If you are looking for a pop psychology book to help you change someone, this may not be the book for you. This book has information about the scientists and their experiments that help describe terms for personalities, tra I received this as a free ebook from BN.com, when it was recommended in a comment on the Free Friday blog. I read it because I want to understand people, and this recommends a systematic way to observe for information and to listen to the stories people tell about themselves. If you are looking for a pop psychology book to help you change someone, this may not be the book for you. This book has information about the scientists and their experiments that help describe terms for personalities, traits and character facets. Once we better understand consistent terminology, observation can be more consistent. Recognition may help us avoid people, and perhaps we can understand those we can't avoid.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Duckpondwithoutducks

    I like personality books, books that help you understand yourself and others. I am not sure, though, that this book quite lives up to its' title of "Making Sense Of People." It mainly discusses five major personality traits, defined as : Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Openness. It then outlines these traits as can be seen in several well-known personalities. I would have like for it to have a quiz that you could personally take to see how high or low you ranked i I like personality books, books that help you understand yourself and others. I am not sure, though, that this book quite lives up to its' title of "Making Sense Of People." It mainly discusses five major personality traits, defined as : Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Openness. It then outlines these traits as can be seen in several well-known personalities. I would have like for it to have a quiz that you could personally take to see how high or low you ranked in each of the five qualities. A personality book without a personality quiz just is not quite complete!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sydney Frawley

    This book is a great informational piece giving you several ways of how to study, analyze, and decode the personality of others around you by giving some of the essential tools and systems that help you understand identity, characteristics and traits. The information in this book is pretty basic about reading and understanding people, but it connects all of the commonly thought ideas together, making it easier to think about the shaping of a person and why they act the way they do. I personally This book is a great informational piece giving you several ways of how to study, analyze, and decode the personality of others around you by giving some of the essential tools and systems that help you understand identity, characteristics and traits. The information in this book is pretty basic about reading and understanding people, but it connects all of the commonly thought ideas together, making it easier to think about the shaping of a person and why they act the way they do. I personally loved this book since I saw the connections that were being made within the pages. It really makes you think about if and how you should approach someone and I was also very pleased with this idea.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    After reading this book, I am not sure who Barondes had expected to be his audience. As someone with a strong psychology background, including some, but not extensive knowledge regarding personality, I felt the book was probably meant for the layperson, as I already knew much of the theory he was trying to explain. However, much of the book didn't appear to be written for the layperson. Many of his examples are interesting, and this book would likely be of interest to those looking to learn more After reading this book, I am not sure who Barondes had expected to be his audience. As someone with a strong psychology background, including some, but not extensive knowledge regarding personality, I felt the book was probably meant for the layperson, as I already knew much of the theory he was trying to explain. However, much of the book didn't appear to be written for the layperson. Many of his examples are interesting, and this book would likely be of interest to those looking to learn more about the Big 5 personality traits.

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