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Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,099 ratings  ·  90 reviews
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 personali
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published October 25th 2007 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published September 13th 2007)
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Ray it says 298, although it depends on the edition, i guess.

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Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
همه ي انسانها در حدود ٩٥ درصد ژنومشان كاملا مشابه هم هستند. هرچند اين ٥درصد باقيمانده به حدي هست كه تفاوتهاي چشمگيري ايجاد ميكند اما محيط هم تاثير به سزايي در رفتار و ويژگي هاي انسان دارد. اين كتاب بيشتر درمورد تاثير ژنتيك صحبت كرده بود و خيلي مختصر به محيط پرداخته بود.
در مورد ژنتيك و موتاسيون ها و نحوه ي كاركرد ژنها و جمع آوري اطلاعات آماري در پژوهش ها اطلاعات خيلي خوبي بدست ميده وخيلي ميتونه مفيد باشه . البته بايد اينم بگم بيشتر اين موارد بارها در كتابهاي ديگر تكرار شده اند و مطالب جديدي نيست
Ammara Abid
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
I want to like it but I can't. The concept was good, examples were there, but it didn't capture my attention. Seriously it's hard to finish. It's not like I don't read/like non - fiction. I do read & I like neuroscience perspectives & books but this one is not for me.
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great, easy-to-read book that delves deeper into the Big Five personality traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (OCEAN). Daniel Nettle uses a blend of anecdotes and science - ranging from the evolutionary perspective to genetics to environmental factors - to explain each area of personality. He creates a solid argument concerning why he views the Big Five as a fluctuating selection type model (every place on the continuum of each trait has its pros a ...more
Mahshid Parchami
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology, fidibo
کتاب خوب و علمی درباره مدل پنج عاملی شخصیت. از نظر جذابیت باید سه یا چهار میدادم چون توضیحات اضافی و ارائه تحقیقات علمی در بعضی مواقع خسته کننده بود ولی این کتاب به چندتا سوال اصلی من درباره شخصیت شناسی جواب داد که فکر نمی کنم امکانش بود جای دیگه ای پیداش کنم.
اینکه با توضیح مزایا و معایب هر کدوم از عوامل نشون میداد جالب بود؛ اینکه داشتن یا نداشتن هر فاکتور شخصیتی میتونه در زمان ها و مکان های مختلف برای انسان مزیت رقابتی به حساب بیاد و تاثیرش انقدر واضح نیست که به مرور به واسطه تکامل و تغییر ژنتی
Apr 26, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this but thought it was an overly simplistic book, especially since the author seems to think that our personalities are a result merely of natural selection.

I did find the five "dimensions" of personality to be interesting:
Extraversion (outgoing vs. quiet), Neuroticism (prone to worry & stress vs. being "emotionally stable"), Conscientiousness (organized & self-directed vs. spontaneous & careless), Agreeableness (trusting & empathetic vs. uncooperative & ho
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I don’t quite see why this is part of the Oxford Landmark Science range. To me, it’s a relatively low level analysis of the factors that go into personality, much of which I’ve read elsewhere in other popular science books which aren’t so tightly focused. It’s not that it’s a bad book, or uninteresting; there are some things I didn’t know, and it’s interesting to see how Nettle explores the two sides to each of the main personality factors identified — the downside to being extroverted, for exam ...more
Xenophon Hendrix
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've now read three books about the Five Factor (a.k.a. Big Five) Personality Model. This one is by far the least dry and most readable.

I also like the way the author makes sure to consider personality traits from the perspective of natural selection.
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great primer on the Big 5 personality traits that directly arise from structures in our brain. With clear example and case studies, Nettle does an excellent job explaining personality from a point of view of evolutionary biology / evolutionary psychology.
Erika RS
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, physical
This book provides a detailed explanation of the Big Five personality model. Although the explanation of the model itself was interesting, the most valuable parts of the book were the first and last chapters.

The first chapter establishes how personality models like the Big Five are generated. Unlike models with less construct validity, these models do not start with a schema and then put people into it. Instead, these models start by asking behavioral questions and then looking for clusters of
Andee Schuck
Things I have learned...

-foxen are just friends you haven't met yet--NOT potential meals.
-thanks to a long family history of close contact with mental facilities/psychiatric services, my quasi-hallucinations and perceptual disturbances are just signs of high openness and not genetic schizophrenia.
-long lives the Queen of England.
-extraverts and optimists die sooner than those flakey, self-serving, anti-social cynics.
-I am basically the reincarnation of Allen Ginsberg. ("But he died AFTER you wer
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Interesting study of personality from a genetic and evolutionary point of view.
May 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book.
Stephanie Benton
Brilliant. I read another review that said it is hard to finish. For me it was a page turner. It all depends on the depth of your interest in the subject itself. The evolutionary references to different animals were spot on and the author danced between biology and psychology throughout. I learned quite a bit and felt that the material was organized thoroughly and sensibly. Brilliant book.
Mar 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, science
This is a good cook's tour of one of the most widely used personality profile scales out there: OCEAN (openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism).

Besides sketching each of these personality dimensions, giving examples from correspondence he has kept from some of his clients who strongly fit the profiles, and making evolutionary psychology arguments about why these traits should have arisen, Nettle also deals with the whole nature-nurture issue and the question of w
Zoffix Znet
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Informative and funny. A well-written and captivating book. At the beginning, the author invites you to compute your personality score along 5 dimensions. After brief introduction into how these dimensions develop, he proceeds to explain each of these in great detail that allows you to gain deeper understanding of yourself and others; piece by piece. The book provides plenty of examples of each of the extremes for all the 5 personality traits, as well as explains how these traits evolved and per ...more
May 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
We've all taken personality tests. This book explains why we have different personalities: brain structure, genes and evolution. Five different personality traits: extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness.

Favorite line from book was approximately: If you lie awake worrying at night, it's because you come from a long line of people who lie awake worrying at night.

Explained to me why most of the things I worry about don't come to pass. Our systems for processing ne
Mar 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
this book uses the Big Five Personality traits to explore human behaviour + to offer some befitting explanations from the evolution perspective

Big Five Personality Traits:
(1) Openness
(2) Conscientiousness
(3) Extraversion
(4) Agreeableness
(5) Neuroticism

(easily recalled as O-C-E-A-N)

my key take away is to further appreciate the different traits that make up each individual, and that NO SINGLE trait is considered more superior, but to consider them as a consequence of contextual force. and how the
John Kaufmann
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent description of the five mental parameters (OCEAN) that make up the core of our personality. Short, readable, concise, and, best of all, stimulating. The concepts are simple yet penetrating - all the more to make them easy to remember and apply. I now feel I have a better framework with which to view the attitudes and behaviors of myself and others.
Thing Two
Jun 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thing Two by: Craig Lynch
Twenty years after the Human Genome Project, this book explores the idea that personality could be genetic. It is well written, easy to understand, and says that more than just nurture, our neurotic tendencies can and should be blamed on our parents.
Marnie Lansdown
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, and I find the study of personality really interesting. Daniel Nettle does a good job of laying down the science of personality without getting too...scientific. Highly recommend.
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
This is a really interesting idea and I wanted to like this book. The author even states that he is trying to make this readable for the average (non-academic) reader....but let's just say it was hard to finish. And I learned that I have a medium-high streak of Neuroticism :)
Apr 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Explanation of the basis for personality, both in evolution and physically in the brain. Very interesting...even has a handy little quiz so you can see what personality type you are!
Sarah Brennan-Green
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
A bit dry for me. I like something with more anecdotes to explain a position.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok

This book is non-fiction but it can't go deeper, certainly cannot be categorized as science. It's well-written, thoughtful, but very misguided.

Just know that the author generalizes humanity with a sample size as few as 545 people and the method as simple as written response from the subjects. That is just not enough.

And though the author tries to fend off critics preemptively (how British of him) by acknowledging people adapt to different situations, the underlying belief till the very end is th
Dec 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

According to Daneil Nettle, a British academic psychologist, our personalities can be usefully described using numerical scores for 5 different factors. These 5 factors have a large heritable component, about 50% of one's personality can be explained through heridity. Self-reported scores (calculated by filling out a questioner and totalling up the scores) are consistent over time and are also consistent with how other people see the subject. Furthermore, with brain imaging technology it is now

Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the rare books that held my interest first to last page. With each flip of one, a new light bulb fires and pieces of the puzzle that is me and my life seemed to fit in neatly. Daniel's academic objective style, his constant reference to studies concerned and his overall layout set this book apart.
Is it worth the reading? In a word, absolutely. Is it necessary reading? In a couple of words, most definitely. You are guaranteed an exciting journey of self-discovery and understanding
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a useful supplement to Jordan Peterson's personality lectures on youtube. The book includes a 12 question personality assessment in the Appendix, and a link to the longer International Personality Item Pool Representation (IPIP) assessment, both of which are free online. The book does include gender differences, but did not include any of the research on racial differences. I would have liked a little more useful information on which personality profiles are best suited for which career ...more
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's nice with books that can make the general reader (like me) interested and get more knowledge. He explains the five factor model (extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness) and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different personality traits.

In chapter "poets" he relates openness to schizophrenia and "artistry". He mention a test were the schizophrenia patients scores higher then the "normal". Interesting! Nice to take part of the writers own opinion/
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
Did not finish. I couldn't bring myself to enjoy the oversimplified metaphors and common sense knowledge described in this book that one could easily learn in a singular Psych 101 lecture. As a psychology major, I was disappointed and didn't feel like I learned anything, even after skipping around to look for new information. Would only recommend to someone who has zero knowledge of psychology/personality studies at all.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
The language used in this book is really hard to read, very scholarly like and the sentence structure felt unnatural to me. I usually take 5 hours to complete similar books of this nature, But this almost took twice the time for me.

However, this is a very interesting read with very useful information. It is definitely worth the effort if you are trying to surround yourself with the right circle of friends.
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“This clarification of the nature of intelligence predicts that there will be no relationship at all between personality and intelligence, but research in the last decade has shown that this is not quite true. There are no very strong relationships between personality and intelligence, but some relationships there are, though debate about their nature and significance goes on. Most strikingly, though, in a couple of studies where relationships between Conscientiousness and intelligence have been found, they are not, as you might imagine, positive, but weakly negative. The smarter people are, the less conscientious they are.13 The most likely explanation for this is that people who are very sharp soon learn that they can get away with not preparing things too much in advance, not being overly disciplined with their time, and so on, since their quick abilities will get them through whatever academic and professional challenges they meet. Conversely, people who are not quite so quick have to use organization and discipline to achieve what some others might achieve carelessly. Thus, a behavioural style is developed that compensates for the level of intelligence, and so ends up inversely related to it. This means that there is no intrinsic genetic connection between low Conscientiousness and high intelligence. Rather, the weak negative correlation is something that emerges through development.” 3 likes
“it is a sensible suggestion that there might be individual differences in how widely activation spreads in networks of meaning. Moreover, the breadth of spread might plausibly be the cognitive mechanism underlying Openness. There is no direct evidence on this question, but there is an interesting study by Christine Mohr on Unusual Experiences-type schizotypy, and as I have said, I see ‘real’ Openness as quite close to this construct. In Mohr’s experiment, participants saw pairs or triads of words, such as ‘HONEY-BREAD’ or ‘LADDER-BOTTLE-CAT’, and had to rate how close in meaning they felt the different words to be. Scores on the schizotypy measure were a good predictor of how close on average the words were judged to be. The higher the schizotypy score, the closer the meanings seemed. The best explanation for these results is that, for the high-Unusual Experiences scorer, each word activates a broad raft of related associations, and since the second word is either in that raft or related to a word which is, the words seem close in meaning. For the low scorer, the raft of associations is narrower, and so the distance to the second word seems greater on average.” 0 likes
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