• by Hannah Holmes
  • Narrated by Susan Denaker
  • 10 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Who are you? It’s the most fundamental of human questions. Are you the type of person who tilts at windmills, or the one who prefers to view them from the comfort of an air-conditioned motorcoach? Our personalities are endlessly fascinating - not just to ourselves but also to our spouses, our parents, our children, our co-workers, our neighbors. As a highly social species, humans have to navigate among an astonishing variety of personalities. But how did all these different permutations come about? And what purpose do they serve?
With her trademark wit and sly humor, Hannah Holmes takes readers into the amazing world of personality and modern brain science. Using the Five Factor Model, which slices temperaments into the major factors (Extraversion, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness) and minor facets (such as impulsive, artistic, or cautious), Holmes demonstrates how our genes and brains dictate which factors and facets each of us displays. Are you a Nervous Nelly? Your amygdala is probably calling the shots. Hyperactive Hal? It’s all about the dopamine.
Each facet took root deep in the evolution of life on Earth, with Nature allowing enough personal variation to see a species through good times and bad. Just as there are introverted and extroverted people, there are introverted and extroverted mice, and even starfish. In fact, the personality genes we share with mice make them invaluable models for the study of disorders like depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety. Thus it is deep and ancient biases that guide your dealings with a very modern world.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Of Mice and Men

There are some very interesting concepts broached is this book in an approachable style. Coming from a science background, I thought Holmes blurred the line between science writing and opinion piece so it was at times unclear what came from research and what from anecdotes.
On a slightly different note, the majority of the research talked about comes from studies of lab mice and rats. If you are uncomfortable hearing how scientists deliberately bred mice who are highly anxious all the time or about the probes they have inserted in their brains for experiments, I would recommend you find something else!
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- Tracy Gribble

An interesting overview on personality

The book is written in the first person and describes the author's journey to interview scientists working in the field. I'm not a great fan of that style and felt that the result was very heavy on the author's opinion and personal anecdotes and not that heavy on science. Worse, at times it is unclear where one ends and the other begins. Having said that, her encounters with many of the big names of our time and exploration of these people's laboratories is absolutely fascinating and makes the whole book worth while. The author also shines when it comes to explaining complex concepts in layman' terms. If you think you won't enjoy it because it's about psychology and neuroscience, then absolutely do not worry: I promise that you will. If you have a scientific background you might do so less, but then I don't think you're the target audience.
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- M. S.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 22-02-2011
  • Publisher: Random House Audio