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Who Are You, Really?: The Surprising Puzzle of Personality

(TED Books #16)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  219 ratings  ·  32 reviews
This fun, smart read for anyone eager to better understand (and improve) themselves argues that personality is driven not by nature nor nurture—but instead by the projects we pursue, which ultimately shape the people we become.

Traditionally, scientists have emphasized what they call the first and second natures of personality—genes and culture, respectively. But today the
Kindle Edition, 128 pages
Published August 15th 2017 by Simon & Schuster/ TED
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3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  219 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Leanetta Scott
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is good but is a little to psychology-ish for my taste. The author has spent a lot of time in his field studying up and mastering his profession, but in this book it is too scientific. I thought it was going to be a sort of self help guide to help me learn about myself. But it started off talking about biology and all that and lost me right there. I learned chromosomes and ribosomes in biology 101 I don't need another course so someone who hasn't taken those courses will be even less s ...more
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun little book that asks the fundamental questions about identity and tosses a few curves when attempting to help you answer. In addition to nature (biochemical sources of self) and nurture (sociogenic sources of self), Dr. Little also discusses personal construct (ideogenic sources of self) and how these three ways of understanding the self work together to select, pursue, and interpret the success or failure of personal projects. As a continuation of Dr. Little's TED talk, this book is really ...more
Christopher Lawson
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
In WHO ARE YOU, REALLY? Professor Brian Little presents some surprising research findings on personality. This is a fun book, and an easy read. The author writes well, and his ideas are presented clearly and concisely.

Most people think of personality as one’s attributes--such as how extroverted we are, or how detailed we are. But an overlooked aspect of personality is not just our attributes—it’s what we are DOING. This activity is identified by our “personal projects.”

The exciting part is that
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this little book for two main reasons:

1. It is short and to the point: it doesn't waste time but it...

2. Doesn't lack for content. It makes an excellent argument for a holistic understanding of personality, orbiting around a central idea of Project Based Personality (you are what you do). But it also kind of settled the "Are you an extrovert or introvert" bullshit for me. The argument being that anyone can act in either way but if they are naturally or "biogenically" (I think wa
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great little book by Brian R. Little, the acclaimed scholar in the field of personal and motivational psychology. He is a prof at Cambridge (formerly of Harvard, McGill, Oxford). I first heard his TED talk on NPR and the found this TED book (“Small books, big ideas.”). It is just 105 pages, including a very short quiz on The Big Five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism).

I read it in one sitting. It was not as entertaining and li
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I received this book free for an unbiased review through NetGalley and author.
Overall I enjoyed the viewpoint on how our projects reveal certain aspects to our personality. I found it interesting, but I really wanted more evidence to that particular idea and not the foundations and evolution to the process of the original viewpoints. I wanted to read this in hopes of being able to steer my child in the right direction for higher achievements but I felt this was more theorized than having an actu
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Who Are You, Really? by Brian Little is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early August.

Little offers up a quick book on consideration for a 3rd formative aspect of personality: not just nature and nurture, but also the completion of creative, goal-driven projects. He asks questions about self emotionality, meaning, the bottleneck trap of authenticity, prioritization, and the team we choose to work with on goals/projects. It also has beautiful graphics that convey a lot of movement.
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love research and analysis about the make up of the human mind. Brian R. Little shares the belief of other analysts that we humans are a summation of our DNA, our experiences/education, and the culture we live in. He expands on our experiences to include the "toys" we use. That reminds me of what smart phones have done with the fingertip availability to stay connected as well as fact check so easily. Now if we can ever figure out truth, we will see who we are, really???
Kelly 💜☕️
This is a great short listen published by Ted Books. It goes into various nature versus nurture aspects of personality and provides a lot of food for thought on what we VALUE in our lives.

The author Brian Little /Brian R. Little did a great job narrating the audio. It was a quick listen that I finished in 2 listens.

I liked this final thought:
"If you remember none of the specific tips I’ve discussed, retain this: By examining your core projects and how they can be sustained, you will increase y
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love personality psychology books and this one is very inspiring. Heavy information, not just fluff. There’s an assessment in the appendix as expected, but the results it gave me was unexpected (I liked it). The author proposes that as there are predetermined traits that we are unable to change, not all is lost because there’s two other factors that can shape a human. Plenty of examples are provided and the ideas presented here is quite uplifting. Are you flourishing or floundering?
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: learning, improve
A quick overview of how our personality impacts the projects and choices we make framed loosely with the big five personality traits. It helped me think about myself, in terms of my own goals and activities: What do your core projects say about you? And Little reminded those of us with personal projects to keep flexible and "embrace the unexpected."
jhst kmil
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a really concise and insightful book. It was my first TED book. I reckon, being short and to-the-point was the publisher's main motive. This was also my introduction to 'Personality Theory', whose existence I wasn't aware of yet.

I'm intrigued by it and would most definitely pursue this. All in all, this was a good introduction to the theory.
Allan Schoenberg
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Useful insights

Little doesn't talk down to his audience and uses an easy to digest way of tackling neuroscience. Used in conjunction with his TED Talk Little helps to show how we can influence the way we think and who we are by our choices.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Little makes the case that your personality is more moldable than you think. Aside from introversion-extraversion, you truly develop based on the personal projects you choose to pursue. It was an interesting read worth considering, but more science-y than I was looking for in a summer read.
Debbie Jacob
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little's alternative view of how personal projects shape our personality is interesting, but I did find it rather heavy for a TED book. Also, he spent about 1/2 of this short book outlining the traditional view. I would have enjoyed more explanation about his alternative viewpoint.
Dwayne Shugert
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent resource in the pursuit of knowing who you are and how to live a fulfillment life.
Alexandra Matinez
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really interesting. I especially thought the latter half was fascinating.
Elaine Jackson
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A different perspective on a familiar subject.
Sudhir Bharadhwaj
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very well written book. Questions several.popular narratives on the idea of personality. I loved the take on Authenticity - very lucidly explained.
Dalal Al-Adwani
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such an awesome experience
Angi C.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love TED talks and any book the corresponds with the speakers I usually try to read.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great insight on the plasticity of personality traits and the ability to shape shift these traits with self-direction and practice.
Sadie Perkins
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very much enjoyed this book, an interesting read that made me question each of the “personal projects” I take on each day. An easy, short read.
Lauren  Tomlinson
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not,what I was expecting and too technical/over the top for me to enjoy.
Qaiser Bangash
A fun short book with an interesting idea of personal projects. Although many terms in the author research are not easily understandable but overall it is worth the time reading it!
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
It took a while to read and I had to make a lot of notes along the way. I wanted to mine information out of this book and I got a whole load of it.

After this book, the question Who are you, really? has been answered for me. Pick it off the shelf if you want to know more (view spoiler).
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have no memory of reading this book nor why I gave it 5 stars
rated it it was ok
Sep 26, 2017
Sheraz Ali
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
deep scientific view of personality , I need to get real copy of it
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“The essential idea behind personal construct theory is this: All individuals are essentially scientists erecting and testing hypotheses about the world and revising them in the light of their experience. Those hypotheses are called personal constructs, and they are the conceptual goggles through which we view the world.” 0 likes
“In short, when it comes to well-being, projects can trump traits. This should give you some hope that you are not the victim of the traits with which you entered this world. Your deeds speak louder than your dispositions.” 0 likes
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