What Makes You the Way You Are

Book - 2007
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Baker & Taylor
A discussion of the science of human personality offers the latest findings from brain science and genetics to explain what determines the choices we make, looks at the different personality types, and blends true-life stories with scientific research to explore why some people are worriers and others wanderers.

Blackwell North Amer
Daniel Nettle takes the reader on a tour through the science of human personality, introducing the 'big five' - the five dimensions against which every personality can be measured. Combining individual life stories and scientific research, Nettle looks at the latest findings from genetics and brain science, considers the evolutionary origins of the different types of personality, and even includes a questionnaire for you to assess your own personality against the five dimensions. There is no optimal personality to have, he concludes. Rather, every disposition brings both advantages and disadvantages, and life is partly the business of finding a niche where your personal characteristics work for you. Full of human as well as scientific insight, this book shows how the extraordinary range of human personality can be measured and mapped, and will help you to understand the perils and potentials of your own character and how you might make the best use of your strengths.

Oxford University Press
It is one of the great mysteries of human nature. Why are some people worriers, and others wanderers? Why are some people so easy-going and laid-back, while others are always looking for a fight?
Written by Daniel Nettle--author of the popular book Happiness--this brief volume takes the reader on an exhilarating tour of what modern science can tell us about human personality. Revealing that our personalities stem from our biological makeup, Nettle looks at the latest findings from genetics and brain science, and considers the evolutionary origins and consequences of different personalities. The heart of the book sheds light on the "big five": Extraversion, Neuroticism, Conscientious, Agreeableness, and Openness. Using a stimulating blend of true-life stories and scientific research, Nettle explains why we have something deep and consistent within us that determines the choices we make and situations we bring about. He addresses such questions as why members of the same family differ so markedly in their natures? What is the best personality to have--a bold one or a shy one, an aggressive one or a meek one? And are you stuck with your personality, or can you change it? Life, Nettle concludes, is partly the business of finding a niche where your personality works for you. "It is a question of choosing the right pond," he notes, "and being mindful of the dangers." There is no ideal personality to have. Every disposition brings both advantages and disadvantages.
Full of human wisdom as well as scientific insight, this book illuminates the pluses and minuses of personality, offering practical advice about living with the nature you were born with. It even includes a questionnaire so that you can assess yourself.

Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2007
Description: 298 p. ; 18 cm
ISBN: 9780199211425
Branch Call Number: 155.2 Net


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Dec 17, 2017

The best introductory book on personality psychology that I have read. Very well-written. Nettle presents the five-factor model in a clear but accurate manner and gives illustrating real-life examples of all the factors. Most importantly, this is a true popular science book in the sense that all the claims are backed up by solid evidence. Nettle does not present his own opinions nor hypotheses but merely reviews the current scientific consensus.

Jul 07, 2014

I agree this book was well written and easy to read. The thorough discussion of each of the five factors is the strong point of this book, in my opinion. Scientific studies and neurological surveys add credence to its conclusions. Reading the book's explanation of the neurological reason for extroversion was a high point, a real "Aha!" moment for me.

I found the book's coverage of "how does this affect my life and the choices I should make?" less satisfying. /Personality/ left me wanting more answers, and more significantly, a second opinion. I've been comparing the five factors of this book with the four-factor Keirsey/Myers Briggs Temperament types, and I see strong correlations that lead me to believe the latter, simpler system makes more sense and elucidates personality variations every bit as well with one less factor.

There's a lot of room for expansion on the core concepts in this book. In all, I think it's a good basic discussion of the very complicated, but temptingly codifiable phenomenon which we call temperament or personality.

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