The author of The Evolution of Consciousness and president of the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge, psychologist Robert Ornstein here marshals the evidence for a new science of the self that tries to understand the myriad ways in which individuals become who they are.
"Ornstein has written a book designed to push psychology further from its place between philosophy and astrology and nudge it closer to science by attempting to tie what we know about the 'self' to the organization of various parts of our brains.... [The book] is full of great humor, extraordinarily direct and powerful illustrations, and no small measure of wisdom and insight."—Booklist
"There's no such thing as a 'true self,' says Ornstein: We're a composite of influences and possibilities, directed—but not entirely ruled—by our genetic heritage.... Ornstein divides behavior into three modes: 'gain' (introverts vs. extroverts); 'deliberation-liberation' (planners vs. free spirits); and 'approach-withdrawal' (optimists vs. pessimists). Those who move to the extreme in any mode become psychotic—excessive 'deliberation-liberation' melts into schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder, for instance, while excessive extroversion becomes criminality. Ornstein thus redefines psychosis as an excess of normal behavior rather than as an utter break from normality: This provocative thesis deserves investigation. Unusual roots, worth chewing on."—Kirkus Reviews