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The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are
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The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  4,705 Ratings  ·  607 Reviews
A wealth of information on the personal characteristics attributable to the birth position among siblings is presented. The general tendencies of first borns, middle children and the baby are explored along with how to appreciate each one's strengths and weaknesses. The Birth Order Book will entertain as well as providing valuable insights to understand yourself better, im ...more
Published March 1st 1985 by Fleming H. Revell Company (first published January 1st 1984)
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Chris Giovagnoni
If the concept of birth order affecting your personality and behavior is new to you, you'll probably find this book valuable and worthwhile. Having some basic knowledge of the subject I didn't find the book to be particularly enlightening. The three things I took away from the book are: Dr. Leman is a last born and he's proud of it, Dr. Leman can usually guess your birth order within a few minutes of meeting you and Dr. Leman feels sorry for first borns and only children who usually struggle wit ...more
Dec 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
well. There is so much i have to say about this book, and not enough time to type it! You can believe this book or not-the choice is yours- but either way it is a QUITE entertaining read. It basically tells you,no, actually it states quite clearly that you are like __________ because you are a (insert birth order here)

For instance I learned some supposedly need to know things abou myself, givin I am a first born:
1. I am very demending, perfectionist(well maybe i am a bit of a perfectionist!:)),c
Mary Mascari
I got this book on a recommendation from a friend and I'm sorry to say I was quite disappointed in it (Sorry, Kelly!). Leman's findings are vague stereotypes, backed up by anecdotal evidence mostly from his own family.

He didn't have much more insight beyond the ideas that first borns are either stern perfectionists or overly eager to please, middle children are negotiators, and the baby of the family is a charming iconoclast. He did say that the birth order can start over with large gaps betwee
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone trying to understand siblings and inter-relationships
As I started reading this book, I thought the concept was so interesting! That is, your personality is somewhat predetermined by whether you are an only child, first-born, middle-born, or the baby. Some of it makes sense, but then he starts explaining all these "exceptions" and you start to realize he's just fooling himself to think that all first-borns are perfectionists and babies are just social butterflies. There are just too many exceptions to really believe in any of this.
Any Length
Apr 08, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discarded
I give this book one star for managing to fool a number of people into believing the authors ridiculous ideas.
Here is what Leman did. I shall create three basic character types. I shall call one the first born, one the middle/second born, and one the baby (or last born). Then I claim to know which one you fit in. Say I call you a first born. Then when I find that you are not a first born I shall redefine my theory, by making you a first born by proxy because you either switched identities with y
Dec 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Recommended to Robin by: Julie
This was the most enjoyable, most SPOT ON psycology book I've read so far. Leman does a terrific job of writing so that the concepts he presents are comprehensive, yet intellegent; without the pretention that so irritates me about many psychologists.

I was amazed at how much I could fit myself, my siblings, my parents, my husband and his family and my kids into his explainations of how birth order effect our personalities. And I love that he is not so absolute about his definitions either. They r
Stacy Beck
I liked it and learned some things along the way. Here are somethings I liked:
* Firstborns tend to be conscientious, well organized, serious, goal oriented, achieving, people pleasers and believers in authority.
* One of the best predictions in life is that whatever the firstborn in a family is, the secondborn in the family will go in a different (and oftentimes opposite)direction.
* The bottom line is that parents expect too much of firstborns.
* A child's personality is pretty well formed by age
Grace Snow
Sep 06, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My mother-in-law forced me to read this because she claimed that it would answer all my questions about my second-born. (She herself is a second-born.) Instead, it was basically stupid and confusing. There were more exceptions than rules to his theory. Basically, almost anyone can be considered a firstborn. You just have to have more than 2 or 3 years between you and your next older sibling. Or be a different gender than your older siblings. Or.... It was extremely unhelpful, and (apparently) in ...more
Margaret McCamant
I picked this up on a remainder table a long time ago, just started reading it. Although it may be too much book for the material, the many funny stories about families and their quirks makes the reading go fast as we recognize ourselves and others all too easily. We all seem to fit our birth order profiles quite well: I'm a pretty classic firstborn, with that overdeveloped sense of responsibility. I'm probably more the compliant than the aggressive firstborn, with plenty of perfectionism and no ...more
Angie Libert
I read this book years ago and really enjoyed it. I came back to it because I was hoping to gain greater insight into my children and how to parent them within their birth order but the book was not that helpful. Really nothing on middle born children. Most of the last born child info was all about the author's experience. In fact, a good portion of the book was just about the author's personal experience of birth order. I guess I was hoping for something less anecdotal and more philosophical. I ...more
Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*
Very interesting. This book surprised me. Lots of good information and I was not expecting to much.
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author was completely accurate when explaining the firstborn child (myself and my son), the middle child (my daughter and husband), and the marriage dynamic of a middle child and firstborn (my marriage). My youngest did not fit the mold of the last born child, but I believe that has a lot to do with her being parented by an oldest and having two oldest siblings. The theory behind the birthing order is fascinating and clears up so many questions regarding family dynamics. The last few chapter ...more
Varina Denman
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so interesting, not only in regard to myself but also my children and siblings. I actually read it as research for a novel I'm writing (about sisters), but I enjoyed it a lot. Nice surprise.
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book full of truth and humor. Very enlightening. I wish I would've read this years ago. I recommend this book to anyone with children!
Oct 05, 2017 marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
If you like biased stereotypes coming from a very self-congratulatory narrator, then this book is for you.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read

Walked away with some good guidelines as to why I function the way I do. A little long, but Worth the read.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great book, you will definitely will start understanding people and their peculiar behaviors!!
Maureen Russell
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating look at families and birth order and how one influences the other. Really helped me see my twins in a different, more realistic light (even though the time spent on multiple births was about a paragraph). Also helped me figure out some things about myself! Definitely had some ah-ha moments! Would recommend it to anyone.
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was a lot I liked about this book. I would actually recommend it to parents because I think it's really important for us to be aware of the patterns that our kids fall into because of their birth order, and how we can help them avoid developing many major weaknesses of their birth order.

That said, I think the author gives a little too much weight to birth order. He does admit that birth order is only one aspect of personality, but he also acts as though knowing someone's birth order tells
Jul 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shannon by: Melissa Culbreth Benson
Shelves: nonfiction
I started to give this book three stars and then thought, "Well, it's a non-fiction book that I actually read. That probably merits four stars in and of itself." While I read quite a bit, I don't read non-fiction. If a book isn't going to transport me somewhere else, I'm generally not excited about reading it. Life is real enough for me without reading about it, too.

What I enjoyed about this book was that it helped me understand myself better, which I hope will ultimately make me a better person
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A hilarious and insightful read! I learned a lot about myself, my husband, parents, and siblings while reading this book. Though my family is a weird make up his chapters on each birth order described each of my siblings to a T (Clark and I are first born personalities, Becca is and only child, and Thayne is a Middle). Also his chapters on perfectionism were incredible! I learned a lot about myself, having never thought of myself as a perfectionist I realized that according to his definition I a ...more
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Birth Order Book describes common roles and characteristics of each child in a family. It explains that your personality can easily be predicted simply because of the order that you fall within the other kids in your family. According to specific studies, first borns seem to be very responsible and more well rounded compared to second, third, or maybe even fourth born children. The baby of the family or the last born seems to always be fighting for attention from people. Most news anchors or ...more
This was an entertaining book, and definitely held some truths within it. I wouldn't call it "life changing" by any means, but it offers some insights into how a person's position within his or her family can shape his or her personality. Most of Leman's claims come from personal experience as a father and counselor, not through any kind of scientific study (as can be easily inferred from the only 6 pages of endnotes for a 350 page book!) so while most of what he says makes sense, you won't be s ...more
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For full disclosure, I made it through only about a third of this book. While the author has some valuable insights as to how birth order affects personalities, it takes far too long to say far too little, and weakens his case unnecessarily. For example, he makes statements describing how the great majority of presidents, astronauts, clergy, and other leaders are firstborn, but then defines "firstborns" as those actually first-born, PLUS those who are the first of their own sex born to a family, ...more
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
It's an interesting subject, and I would say the majority of the author's generalizations fit people I know, though there are definite exceptions. He covers a lot of different family sizes and orders, but fails to address what happens with three kids and the middle is a different gender (my situation)--once again neglecting us poor, neglected middle kids. Ah well.

His writing is entertaining, making this a swift read and preferable to a lot of other (and drier) psychological works. While this may
Travis Bow
Once I got over the fact that this wasn't a book full of statistically proven facts about birth order, I enjoyed it for what it was; a psychologist's observations about personality tendencies and pitfalls. I couldn't tell that the personality types were any different from Meyers Briggs or True Colors, but there was some solid advice on identifying those personalities in your self, spouse, and children and maximizing their strengths / minimizing their pitfalls.

The tone was interesting and entert
Oct 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was so fascinated to realize more about what factors around my birth order helped shape who I am today . The sentiment actually helps me when raising my own three children . It also has helped me understand how and where my relationship with my husband is effected by our birth orders . There are certain chapters and pages that didn't pertain to my situation....
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book cracked me up at times. It was really helpful for seeing how my children are so different and knowing more about each of their different personalities based on birth order. I actually asked a salesman that came to my door (who was very good!) if he was the baby of the family. That's how into it I am!
Apr 08, 2011 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jackie by: Book group
This is a book I don’t think I would have ever picked up to read had it not been for my book group. I took a small bundle of notes and took the quiz inside that has to do with how much of a perfectionist a person is. Though I was quite skeptical reading through it, I feel it does contain a lot of general concepts about birth order that are relatively true and I'm glad I read it.
Apr 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
This book describes people's personality/behavior based on birth order. It gives pretty good insight.

I read it to help me understand my middle child better since I couldn't relate to her.

Overall I liked the book and would reccommend it to understand both yourself and your children better.
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Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally recognized psychologist, author, and media personality. He was the first to popularize Adlerian psychological concepts in the United States, which are based on birth-order and family dynamics. Dr. Leman holds Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Arizona.

Dr. Leman is the founder and president of "Couples of P
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“Think about and meditate on things you are thankful for. More importantly, think about people you are thankful for and why.” 1 likes
“How parents interact with each child as he or she enters the family circle determines in great part that child’s final destiny.” 1 likes
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