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No Two Alike: Human Nature and Human Individuality

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  196 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
The author of the controversial book The Nurture Assumption tackles the biggest mystery in all of psychology: What makes people differ so much in personality and behavior? It can't just be "nature and nurture," because even identical twins who grow up together—same genes, same parents—have different personalities. And if psychologists can't explain why identical twins are ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 17th 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2006)
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Sam
Dec 30, 2015 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In her first book, The Nurture Assumption, Judith Rich Harris presented evidence and analysis suggesting that parenting styles have little impact on long-term child development. No Two Alike has a different aim but in a way it more convincingly argues Nurture Assumption's case because it describes and rebuts criticism of the first book, and her critics support the factual basis of many of her claims.

The main point of this book, though, is Harris's speculation about what makes people so differen
...more
Pamela
Feb 22, 2011 Pamela rated it it was amazing
Judith Rich Harris, who broke into public consciousness over 10 years ago with her book The Nurture Assumption, has again assembled and analyzed countless studies on personality development in an attempt to answer the question: "What besides genetics shapes individual personality?" While it might seem obvious that the other factor is environment, Rich says not so fast. We tend to understand "environment" as "family environment," above all the way our parents raised us. According to Rich, the bes ...more
Mark
Oct 20, 2015 Mark rated it it was amazing
As a second grade teacher this book has probably had more of an effect on how I relate to my students than anything else I've read. It has freed me up to do what I can to help students become more successful without getting caught up in those things that I can't change: their genetic makeup and home lives.

I refer to it often in talking to parents, along with The Myth of Laziness and a couple of other books.

This book challenges our common thinking, a lot of recent 'research' and culturally accept
...more
Rossdavidh
Sep 18, 2015 Rossdavidh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: white
Subtitle: Human Nature and Human Individuality.

Once upon a time, a mother and housewife name Judith Rich Harris, with a business on the side writing psychology textbooks, lost her faith. Which is to say, she turned against the prevailing school of thought of mainstream psychology at the time, which believed that early parental behavior exerted profound influences over a child's behavior and personality, and would influence their development throughout the rest of their lives. She wrote a book, '
...more
OD
Aug 03, 2013 OD rated it really liked it
This is the first book of Harris' that I've read. (Although I've read so many books drawing on the ideas in the "Nurture Assumption" that I doubt if I ever get round to reading it, I'll find anything new there. Much in the vein of "Seinfeld is Unfunny" TVTropes).

Harris proposes an interesting way to think about personality - as something formed through the interaction of three systems - the relationship, socialization and the status systems. A large chunk of the book is spent in eliminating the
...more
Hugh Fallon
Mar 27, 2013 Hugh Fallon rated it it was amazing
Judith Rich Harris "No Two Alike" provided for me the second half of understanding becoming a person, also referred to as building a self. This work, written during her life-threatening illness, uses the detective story model to understand how personality is build to temperament: the first part (chapter 7! is basic socialization: a supportive mothering! (Check Blum, Deborah. Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection. Perseus Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-7382-0278-9)
In chapter 8, s
...more
Rebekka Istrail
Aug 23, 2008 Rebekka Istrail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: developmental psychologists
Shelves: science, psychology
I don't think that Judith Rich Harris is the final authority on her topic, but she does an impressive job of synthesizing research on the development of personality. She also piercingly explains specific statistical techniques and research methods (and points out instances of others' sloppy work!). Harris builds a compelling case that individuals' personality differentiation results from our pursuit of status through whichever niches fit us and are available. She contends that our status-seeking ...more
Steve
Feb 09, 2008 Steve rated it really liked it
The first 2/3 of the book is great; Harris rips into current theories explaining variance in personality, including birth order (and other environmental differences) and gene-environment correlations. The last 1/3 of the book, in which Harris attempts to construct her own theory to determine the cause of the currently-unexplained variance in personality is not entirely convincing.

I especially liked the section in which Harris discusses the problem of the generalization assumption held by nurtur
...more
R
Sep 04, 2014 R rated it it was amazing
An outsider challenges the orthodoxy on child development is how I read this book. Humans are different 45% due to genetics and 55% due to unknown causes. But no known input of the form "Do x to your child and you'll be more likely to get y." is valid for social traits or personality. An interesting point is that if a child is bad today, that's deemed bad parenting where 100 years ago it might have just been seen as the parents being unlucky for "the child they got."

So parents should avoid hubr
...more
Ellen Snyder
Feb 23, 2012 Ellen Snyder rated it really liked it
It took me a long time to read this book, but it was interesting. More investigation by the author of the Nurture Assumption, this time why people turn out differently, including identical twins. People undergo different paths of development - socialization which makes us more the same and status seeking, which makes us different. According to Harris, there is also a relationship system - providing us with allies in life.

Harris has some ideas on how research in these areas has been misleading.
...more
Dannie
May 17, 2013 Dannie rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maren Vanderkolk
Apr 28, 2016 Maren Vanderkolk rated it really liked it
Reading "No Two Alike" made me look at certain relationships, such as parent-child relationships, differently than before. I found some of the reading to be a little tedious, it seemed as if she wrote the book for two audiences; she included many studies, sources and detail for people in her field but also included some humor in it which made it a little more enjoyable for an audience such as myself. Am I convinced? Partly, I guess I would say I'm a little surprised too. In the end I say it ...more
Tamarah
Feb 29, 2012 Tamarah rated it really liked it
I found it very interesting, but did not like the style at all. Too much superiority, nastiness.
I am not sure I really agree to the whole of the hypothesis -- my gut is that the family is more important that Harris says -- but I did find her ideas challenging and refreshing. Definitely have made me question my own assumptions.
Dave Peticolas
Oct 08, 2014 Dave Peticolas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Harris elaborates her theory on how and why each person develops a unique personality (even identical twins). But first she pauses to consider, then demolish, rival theories. The pause takes up the first two-thirds of the book and makes for great reading. The theory itself seemed somewhat light on the details.

Jared
Dec 17, 2009 Jared rated it really liked it
Judith Rich Harris is a champion of the scientific method. I admire her for working so hard at her research in spite of her physical limitations. I think her formal descriptions of three main systems in our brains that are responsible for making us all so similar, unique, and competitive is pretty compelling. Her digressions are also pretty entertaining.
Nathan
Dec 04, 2011 Nathan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, non-fiction
A very convincing and engrossing analysis. Harris's take definitely rings true to my experience as a human who is often tripped up by the instinct to balance conformity with setting myself apart, all in an attempt to "impress" peers (be they real or imagined).
Jonathan Gledson
Jan 11, 2011 Jonathan Gledson rated it it was amazing
A light goes on. A penny drops! If you are bored and frustrated by arguments over nature or nurture and genetic determinism or social conditioning, then this may resolve your conflicts.
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Judith Rich Harris was born February 10, 1938, and spent the first part of her childhood moving around with her family from one part of the country to another. Her parents eventually settled in Tucson, Arizona, where the climate permitted her father (invalided by an autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis) to live in reasonable comfort. Harris graduated from Tucson High School and ...more
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