Narcissists. You see them, work with them, perhaps even live with them. Author Jeffrey Kluger takes the reader through a look at various narcissists: from children to political figures to celebrities to business executives. They have often given us great things, just as they have often damaged relationships, whether personal, professional or with the general public.
I was hesitant at first because I've read Kluger's book about siblings and birth order and wasn't impressed. But at first I thought this was an excellent read. Kluger walks the reader though how babies and children are narcissists in demanding their needs and desire be fulfilled immediately. At the same time, it's clear that the roots of empathy begin very young, where it can be witnessed when observing babies who are only a day old.
Kluger then expands this into the public arena: people like Steve Jobs, Lyndon Johnson, Jayson Blair (disgraced journalist), Taylor Swift, Charlie Sheen, Bill Clinton, etc. Kluger points out that many of these people wouldn't have gotten where they were without at least some level of narcissism.
Eventually, though, this got old. Most of the book is repetition of previous points and how various public figures are narcissists: refusing to take responsibility, the lack of interest of others/the lack of thought of how their own actions would affect others, how stories often come back to X person, etc. And while that's interesting, this type of reporting is more appropriate for a magazine article. I was expecting and hoping there would be a broader or deeper look into this: what is the science behind it? Is it a nature vs. nurture argument? Can people "change" if they are made aware of this?
I had a friend who strongly fit many of these personality aspects and I wondered if this book might give me insight on why she was the way she was or if there were other things I (or others) could have done differently. And while this book is not a self-help or self-improvement book in any way (it doesn't really claim to be), in the end it was disappointing to see that it's not unlike Kluger's previous work: it's really more of a too long article expanded into a book without better editing and padding out.
The beginning was quite interesting, but if you know much, or anything of pop culture for the past 5-10 years or history, a lot of what Kluger writes won't be anything new.