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Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad-and Surprising Good-About Feeling Special

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,353 ratings  ·  151 reviews
Harvard Medical School psychologist and Huffington Post blogger Craig Malkin addresses the "narcissism epidemic," by illuminating the spectrum of narcissism, identifying ways to control the trait, and explaining how too little of it may be a bad thing.

"What is narcissism?" is one of the fastest rising searches on Google, and articles on the topic routinely go viral. Yet, t
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Harper Wave
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Craig Malkin Finger's crossed! I can tell you this: there is talk of a second book. I'm still working hard taking care of the this one--interviews, talks, blogging…moreFinger's crossed! I can tell you this: there is talk of a second book. I'm still working hard taking care of the this one--interviews, talks, blogging--but stay tuned :-) (less)
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Erika Nerdypants
Finished reading "Rethinking Narcissism", last night, and I have very mixed feelings about it.

Readers coming to this wanting to find out more about "selfish traits" in themselves or others will find plenty of useful material here. Being able to recognize narcissistic tendencies is a helpful tool in regulating our own behaviour, and of course in interacting with difficult people. If your spouse, parent, boss or friend rates high on the selfishness scale, the author even offers good advice for im
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Dr. Malkin for a refreshing view of the general population, as well as, insight into true narcissism.
Dr. Malkin eased the readers into the book by providing his first hand experience of the narcissist in his life that lead him into his journey of becoming an expert in narcissism by way of his mother. I found his approach to be humble, yet comforting.
The history of narcissism was explained to readers in an easy to follow, yet in an incredibly informative way.
While debunking the general
This phenomenal book has inspired in me so much wisdom, warmth, positivity and spiritual strength. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to enhance any form of relationship as I believe that it's not just for those who'd like to learn more about narcissism. Rather, it's a book that can help people discover and cherish themselves whilst bringing out the best in others. I have no idea how Dr Malkin has done it but throughout the time I've spent reading the book up till this very moment, I've fe ...more
Narcissism, is part of human nature and is expressed on a scale. We need a certain amount of narcissism to feel self-confident, assert our needs, and follow our dreams. Too little narcissism leads to dissatisfaction and sacrificing our needs to benefit others. Too much, as we are well aware by now with all the media attention on narcissism as a personality disorder, leads people to ignore the feelings and needs of others, self-agrandissement, and in the highest levels, to pathological, harmful a ...more
Jul 29, 2015 rated it liked it
I liked it... enough to want more, anyway. He made good points, and some good suggestions for dealing with the narcissist in your life, as well as the narcissist in yourself, but I wish he had gone further. I wanted more help with both learning how to learn to slide up the narcissism scale, and how to help relate to someone much higher on the scale in a healthy way.
As it is, I feel like it's a good reminder that not all narcissism is harmful, but honestly most people picking up a book about nar
Catherine White Rogers
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had heard so much about narcissism being a negative thing. When I realized someone I loved dearly was narcissistic, I was told this person could never change and I needed to run. I did not like the answers I was getting elsewhere. I appreciate that Dr. Malkin explains that narcissism is a behavior or habits that can be changed (if the person is aware of their behaviors and willing to change). "Rethinking Narcissism" really helped me understand this person better and taught me some communicatio ...more
Jul 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I have mixed feelings after finishing this book. I did find it interesting looking at the entire narcissism spectrum, not just the most extreme end. I thought everything regarding Echoism was fascinating and I would love to re-read and learn more about that.

But I felt like some of the tips and coping strategies offered were conveyed with the attitude that if you just talk to a narcissist the right way, you can help fix them or change their behavior. While I don't think that was the intention, i
Brian Malkin
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a users manual for the human mind. You have to read this.
DeAnna Knippling
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A short, snappy book on narcissism that is more than "narcissim bad," but doesn't put the onus on fixing toxic narcissists on you.

This was good. I picked this up because I read an article by the author on "echoists," or people who are the opposite of narcissists, and was like, "How dare you know me!" This book addressed that, but also how to deal with narcissists, what makes them tick, and strategies for coping when you can't get out or you want to test whether you can fix the relationship. I wa
Connie Kuntz
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I believe art creates positive, long lasting memories. I believe it is intelligent and energizing. It is by far my favorite way to connect with another human, second only to politics. Show me something you’ve written, painted, performed, or otherwise created. Then, tell me about your politics. Repeat. Though I forget many things, I never forget a person’s art or politics.

So how does that paragraph factor into rethinking narcissism?

Many people think artists and politicians are narcissists. In fa
Aug 01, 2015 rated it liked it
I wish I had known about this years ago. In the age of social media, this book especially caught my eye. I was familiar with the old story of Narcissus, but when I was actually in a friendship with someone who I truly, really do think is a narcissist, I did not make the connection. 
Author Malkin takes the reader though what is narcissism: what is healthy, what are some of the subtle differences, what are aspects of narcissism, etc. Yes, there is a quiz in the beginning of the book, and when you
Navy heart HamlinNBCT
A great gift idea for those who want to have, adopt or care for children. As a progressive christian I love the Goodread section most of all-1V Promoting Healthy Narcissism -"Warmth and Control-Warmth is the caring , love and nurturance we show our children; control is the direction, monitoring , and guidance we provide. Children need both of these components, but the right balance is crucial; too much of one-or one without the other-prevents children from thriving". In fact , it's the balance o ...more
Raviteja Vangara
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A new perspective to Narcissism !!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. Different cases on different levels on the spectrum of Narcissism were very well presented. You may not agree with some of the arguments presented by the author, but it is interesting to see from a different angle.
Andrea McDowell
(I listened to the audiobook, and some of the comments here are relevant only to that format.)

I enjoyed it. The writing was smooth, the stories were well-chosen, and I appreciated the author's view of valuing the middle of the narcissism spectrum instead of either of the poles. I also found his critiques of the NPI interesting and well-considered. I felt I learned a lot that was not sensationalized or overly dramatic. (Clearly there is lots of potential for the dramatic in any interaction with a
Jude Arnold
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Dr. Craig Malkin devoted himself to understanding narcissism because his mother was a narcissist. A clinical psychologist and instructor of psychology at Harvard Med School, Dr. Malkin is the author of this book and many articles. His insights and advice on relationships are applicable to couples, families, social media and the workplace.
I had to read his book because the word narcissist has been getting thrown around in my world quite a bit the last few years. When my ex told me he didn’t love
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book twice in less than 9 months. First I was interested in it because I wanted to learn more about the dark part of human nature, but what I found was an in-depth study into the human condition and how we perceive the self, how (and why) some people's sense of grandiosity and entitlement is so big and why other people seem to have no sense of themselves. This book teaches you about what it means to have healthy narcissism, and it's a good tool in my opinion to those looking to be ...more
Ryan Watkins
Well written and researched. I first started reading this to try and figure how to recognize and deal with narcissistic behaviors in others. I ended becoming more aware of my own toxic traits which need to rooted out. A good takeaway from the book is having a realistic view of self which neither goes into the extremes of narcissism nor echoism. I think Christian anthropology helps cure this tension.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-it
During my hunt for books about narcissism, in which the author doesn't demonize every narcissist, I found this one. It was exactly what I was searching for, because I needed a book that would tell me not to give up on every narcissist (or echoist) I meet.

To start from scratch: It begins with the myth of Narcissus and Echo, followed by a short history of narcissism in psychology and some misconceptions we all have, because of demonization and wild stories about narcissism epidemics.

Then Malkins
Kristy K
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, psychology
This is one of the best psychology books I've read. The author, who has over 20 years of experience in psychology (much of it researching and counseling narcissist), does a remarkable job explaining narcissism and it's many factions. He talks of the narcissist scale and the different types of narcissism. He gives great suggestions on how to deal with someone who exhibits narcissistic traits as well as how to stop yourself from sliding toward unhealthy narcissism.

For me, this was such an informat
UC. Francis
Dr. Craig explores the meaning of narcissism, starting with the story of Narcissus and delving into different stories (mostly about his clients and friends) and past theories of how narcissistic people behave, providing tips on how to spot, react and treat narcissistic people (within office environments, at home when raising kids, amongst friends and couples). He also discusses about different types of narcissism and explains in details how to avoid the extreme side which is dangerous and how to ...more
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Craig Malkin delivers an enlightening, approachable, and even funny treatise (and at times field guide) about how narcissism is more of a human characteristic, sometimes a virtue, many others a vice, than the vilified personality trait that common knowledge and pop culture leads us to believe. The cases used throughout the book are eerily relatable most of the time, and with Malkin's advice and non-technical writing, one can always find something to learn and apply to one's own life. Ultimately, ...more
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This short book didn’t perhaps get down to the nitty gritty of narcissism and the dysfunction it causes. It demonstrated some quite mild examples of people with narcissistic traits and argued the case for healthy narcissism, all perfectly acceptable- but not as interesting as it might have been. That being said, I enjoyed reading about the social media aspect because that is very relevant and I’ve often wondered how it’s connected.
Lisa Tener
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Turns on its head everything we thought we knew about narcissism. A whole new way to think about it--and how to work with it.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It covered several different life domains- romantic relationships, family, work, and drew from author's years of experience as a therapist providing useful examples. ...more
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel

Narcissism hasn't really been summarised or truly reviewed since it's stark creation. I had read a book ten years ago and with this book I'm now doubting what I have previously learned. Craig Malkin has so much to offer in this book and it almost comes together as the must read on the topic, but certain decisions annoyed me. Rethinking Narcissism is a must read, but I would suggest skipping over the recounts in therapy for the examples, they don't add much to the overall experience.

Craig Malki
Özge Kures
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading this book and it helped me understand narcissism a lot better. This book helped me understand what is narcissism and what's not. There's a lot of trash about narcissism on the internet these days, everyone calling each other narc. Raised by a narcissist father that I have no contact with right now, I was always so confused about how to act. I've always known as a confident person myself but something just wasn't right. The moment I realized I was actually breaking the oth ...more
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
The angle of this "rethinking" business is that everything exists on a spectrum. I think, generally, we all need reminders that life isn't black and white and that we can experience several "opposing" emotions in the same moment and we can manifest all kinds of personality traits that are what actually build us into dynamic, functioning humans.

So, yes, there is healthy narcissism. Of course. Not sure if we really need to phrase it this way. It's more like self-worth, inner joy, confidence, prid
Jennifer Sullivan
Dr. Malkin is one of the leading experts when it comes to narcissistic personality disorder so, I was delighted to find this book for less than 5 Euro! Having a narcissistic father set the stage for entering into TWO relationships with narcissistic men. As you may have imagined, I have read EVERYTHING I could find on the subject. By doing this, I am able to heal the wounds caused by former partners AND some deeply seated childhood trauma which affects me to this day.

In this book, Dr. Malkin expl
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed it, a very insightful look into narcissism; including the misconceptions of it! The advice was really helpful, and the way narcissism was made to be on a spectrum is really helpful. Mostly though, I liked this book because it makes me want to improve myself, and my relationships with the people around me, the strategies in the book make it seem like real change is possible!
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it
It is a one day read. Not particularly detailed, more like a general introduction to the topic of narcissistic behavior. But it's worth reading, for sure. ...more
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Rather than rattle off my credentials, which you can easily find on my website, I’d rather tell you the story behind why I wrote Rethinking Narcissism. People need help– desperately. They’re lost, surrounded by empty caricatures and fear mongering when it comes to any discussions of narcissism. Unlike most writers and speakers on the subject I haven’t just been touched by narcissistic personality ...more

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When it comes to whiling away the dog days of summer, nothing is better than a good book. Or two. Or three. Let’s say ten! We’re getting...
30 likes · 7 comments
“Remind yourself: You have a right to your disappointment. If you share your needs and feelings and it actually drives the person away, then you can’t be happy in the relationship. The solution isn’t to slide down the spectrum and become Echo. Recognize self-blame for what it is: a powerful fear that you’ll lose love if you ask for what you want. It keeps you stuck in the wrong relationship, with someone who needs you to bury your needs.” 4 likes
“Secure love provides protection against many of the world’s psychological dangers. It makes people more likely to admit their mistakes and apologize for them, and feel freer to share who they are. They’ve learned...that the people who love them can be trusted to accept them, flaws and all. That’s what secure love is: the faith that we can safely depend on other people.” 2 likes
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