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The Secret Power of Middle Children: How Middleborns Can Harness Their Unexpected and RemarkableAbilities

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3.56  ·  Rating details ·  207 ratings  ·  32 reviews
This myth-busting book shows how "forgotten" middle children can-and do-rule the world.

In this counterintuitive book, psychologist Catherine Salmon and journalist Katrin Schumann combine science, history, and real-life stories to reveal for the first time that our perception of middle children is dead wrong.

Using unpublished and little-known research from evolutionary p
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 4th 2011 by Hudson Street Press
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3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  207 ratings  ·  32 reviews


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Scott Lupo
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
What an interesting book. I've only read a little about birth order studies in the past and this book basically summarizes those studies and adds some new information in an easy to read format. I'm a middle child and I can honestly say this book pretty much describes me to a tee. Unfortunately, none of the secret powers are superpowers. I was so hoping I could read people's minds or something. But seriously, there is some great information about how birth order affects an individual's upbringing ...more
Elizabeth
Aug 22, 2011 rated it liked it
A fascinating collection of research and anecdotes delving into the oft-neglected and misunderstood world of the middle-child. A lot of birth-order researchers have previously focused on first and last-born, so this researcher, Catherine Salmon, felt compelled to investigate and write about the middle child.

At times, it felt the author was manipulating her display of statistics in order to prove her point, rather than the other way around. She frequently cites stats like "52 percent of US Presi
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Shavawn Berry
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
As a middle child, I found the information in this book rather fascinating. I especially enjoyed seeing how much impact middle children have had as leaders, artists, creators, innovators. I was also surprised to see the connection between my empathic nature and being middleborn. It is apparently a common trait in middle children. It also saddened me to realize that all of these great qualities may go away as families shrink to just one or two children. A thoughtful book on an often overlooked su ...more
Beverly Ho
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Overall, the context resonated with me. I didn't read it page by page but would read it in details when the topic seemed interesting. I am a middle child. The book highlighted the traits of middle child, and why and when they are great traits. I had a few aha moments. I would recommend this book if you are interested in personalities.

I agree with the author that the birth order affects us strongly on how we see the world and handle difficult situations.
Darlene Hull
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Very interesting. I love wearing the badge of having "middle child syndrome" when it can get me some sympathy from my parents (jazz joking) but I found some of the insights in here quite true and empowering. Her comments on how the world might be affected by the lack of middle children was also rather interesting. A great read if you have a middle child, are married to a middle child, or if you are a middle child.
Robbin
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
My interest in birth order developed because I kept noticing similarities between people that were of the same birth order. I am a middle born (2 older and 2 younger sisters) so my curiosity was spiked when I found this book. The author convinced me birth order has influence over your entire life from interaction with siblings and parents, handling of intimate relationships, to parenting. The real life examples of very famous middle borns like Abraham Lincoln added impact and understanding.

I not
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Trulie
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was really interesting! I don't always self-identify myself as a middle child. Even though I'm the 2nd of 7, I am the oldest girl and so I often classify myself as an oldest child along with my brother. But, I found this book really insightful. I feel like I do have a better understanding of my personality: both strengths and weaknesses after reading it. If you're a middle child or are involved with a middle child in some way (spouse, children, friend, etc), I think you'd find it insig ...more
Tonya
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was an interesting look at middle children. As a middle, I related well to the concepts in this book, and I liked the stories about middle's contributions to society in general. It was worth reading.
Andrew Hull
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book on the dynamics of family and birth order. Provided both research findings, implications of these findings, and recommendations for addressing and utilizing the strengths and weaknesses of middle children.
Lucy Briggs
Sep 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Lucy by: Cat Briggs
Cat recommends because of NPR story. Note for middles, a bit of parental neglect isn't always a bad thing.
Claire
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very cyclical and repetitive. Not very well written.
Brian
Dec 06, 2011 rated it liked it
This book examines how the experiences of middle children during their formative years may serve as excellent preparation for certain situations in adult life. Many of the assertions will not come as a surprise, but it is useful to read about them all together in one book. At times, the chapters felt like they were rehashing points already made, but it wasn't enough repetition to turn me off of reading the book all the way through.

The author backs up some claims with studies, and others with ane
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Hayley
Oct 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
I would have rated this book less than one star if possible.

Catherine Salmon speaks in such broad generalities about birth order and personality that I cannot take this book seriously. There is a bibliography but no footnotes. So, for instance, when Salmon make the sweeping statement that parents of middle children don't often think of these children as distinct and capable, we don't know what has led her to this conclusion. She tells us that younger mothers are more likely than older mothers to
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Maria McGrath
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
I picked this up off the library shelves, and the proud and thrilled expression on the faces of my son and my in-laws was worth it, but the psychological insights seemed a little too broad (like a horoscope) and applicable to just about anyone (I've read that sketch of permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative parenting in dozens of books, usually done a bit better).
The thing that really blows the book out of the water, though, is that her choice to demonstrate the superior negotiating style
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Angela
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is groundbreaking work noting the special skills middle children acquire as peacemakers, negotiators and people who are willing and able to quickly adapt in social situations. Middle children have long needed a platform, and have found that through performance, whether musically, through acting or on the speech circuit.
Ann
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
some interesting family dynamic studies. i'd very much like to have Salmon and Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking collaborate. Would be very curious about the likelihood of middles being introverts. middles are definitely outer directed, but i know some very quiet (not shy) middles.
Monica
Jul 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish this book. To put a lot of emphasis on birth order seems silly after you read the six factors, with multiple sub-factors, that can affect birth order. Maybe this book would be helpful to parents while raising their children, but I just couldn't stick with the book.

Elisabeth
May 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Heard an interview with the authors on NPR, where middles called in to share. This book is quite interesting. My husband is a middle, we have two middle children, and I can definitely see how each of them fit the middle personality.
Roma Levy
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting but not as informative as I had hoped
Lisa
Aug 23, 2012 rated it liked it
* I received this book free through a goodreads giveaway*
This was an interesting read. I have 3 children and my middle child is definitley a treat! I got a new insight on how to handle her!
Lynne Griffin
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-by-friends
Well researched, with powerful insights.
Mary
Feb 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Mostly skimmed it. Was good but a little too scientific repetitive for me.
Hope
Aug 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won a copy through the Goodreads' Firstreads program.

I'm not a middle child, but I entered to win this for my sister who is. I'm sure she'll enjoy! :)
Taj
Mar 04, 2014 added it
i need this book, very much.
Curt
Jul 24, 2012 added it
Loved it. Lots of good insights on birth order and personality traits. Some of it was applicable to my experiences, some of it missed the mark, but overall it was a good read.
Austin
Jul 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting read that despite the author's PhD leaned more pop psychology and self-help than hard science at times.
Jaime
Oct 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Really good insite into the psychology of birth orders and why certain people have distinct characteristics.
Sanju
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
I found it boring. Lost interest. Maybe it will be interesting another time.
Sandi Perry
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fascinating! A wonderful understanding of what makes Middles
tick...
Marianne
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Explains middle-borns unique abilities. Cool!
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“Middle children become great listeners. They understand the value of acknowledging others’ positions and feelings, and use this information as ammunition to help them get what they want.” 0 likes
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