Winner of the 2022 Book Prize from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology
Today, more than ever, we are aware of the power of personality. Are we introverts, extroverts, neurotic, open-minded? Psychology has always taught that there are personality types, some advantageous, some often seen as less so, and the common perception is that we're stuck with what we're given. The introvert will never break out of their shell, the narcissist will be forever trapped gazing into the mirror (or endlessly tweeting about perceived attacks on their brilliance).
Be Who You Want argues that contrary to the old adage, not only can the leopard change his spots, he can swap them for stripes, and that he can do so to his own advantage. In psychological terms, although our initial personality type is moulded by a combination of genetic influences and early experiences, it is not fixed. It's malleable, voluntary even. This book will tell the story of how our personalities are formed and gives us the tools to shape them in the ways which we desire and which will benefit us most. Drawing on the latest psychological theories and methods, interviews with leading experts, as well as personal anecdote, Christian Jarrett shows us that we can shape ourselves in ways that make our lives better.
The book provides evidence-based ways to change each of the main five personality traits, including how to become more emotionally stable, extrovert and open-minded. It also delves into the upsides of the so-called Dark Triad of personality traits - narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy - and how we might exploit their advantages without ourselves going over to the dark side.