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The Left Hander Syndrome: The Causes and Consequences of Left-Handedness Hardcover – 6 Jan 1992


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 375 pages
  • Publisher: The Free Press (6 Jan. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0029066824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0029066829
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.1 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 986,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A neglected minority group constitutes about 10 percent of the present human population. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By micky-finn on 14 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
The Left-Hander Syndrome is a real eye opener for anyone who has no idea what it is like to be left-handed in a right handed world, as a "southpaw" I know very well what it is like, but I could never fully articulate my intuitive feelings into something concrete. This book did, such as explaining that left-handers are wont to turn anti-clockwise to the right-handers choice of turning clockwise, now I know why I am forever bumping into people on tightly packed streets and shops, where before I just thought that I was a human magnet. This book also has fascinating information on the meaning of the word left or left-handed, as described in various languages such as the word left in English which comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lyft, which means "weak" or "broken", without fail the meaning of left is derogatory. This book also opened the doors on other types of sidedness such as footedness, eyedness etc which I hadn't really gave much thought to and also churned up the fact that even if you use your left-hand or right-hand for writing that doesn't mean that you are a southpaw or not, read the book and you will find out why. I totally recommend this book as it will change your perspective whichever hand you use, as for me some of the historical persecution of left-handers and mean use of the word left, left a real chip on my left shoulder and filled me with a desire to stick it right up to "the man", who is probaly right-handed. Enjoy this book I did, thanks Stanley Coren.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
I learned a great deal about myself reading this book and I think even came away with higher self esteem. The author is a leading scientist studying left-handedness and explains why media and "common knowledge" information and facts on the subject are often incorrect. The writing style is factual and informative but also entertaining. You learn about the problems of left-handed presidents as well as your own or a friend's problems and why there are fewer left-handed older people than younger ones. I'm very grateful to the author for explaining to me why I had so much trouble in dancing class as a teenager; I found his answer to that puzzle much more help than all the dermatologists my mother took me to for my acne. I wish I could have read this book earlier in my life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By josephine Fivaz on 11 Sept. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am so glad I got the book. I have been looking for this book for many years. When I was in London a couple of years ago, I could not find it anywhere. The book is brand new although I only paid one penny for it.
Josephine
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Christopher Morrison on 21 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
I reccommend this book to any left hander it will explain a lot of your problems and ensuing issues
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
All hands are equal,but one hand is more equal than theother 19 April 2001
By Roger McEvilly (the guilty bystander) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Well well, there is some very interesting stuff here. Why are only around 10% of the population left handed? Is this genetic or learned? And what does this mean for tool making, writing, driving, accident proneness, societal prejudice, sporting pursuits, and general living as a left hander? You might also be interested to know that around 20% of people are left footed, and around 40% of people are left eyed. Also more woman are right handed than men. And then there are the mixed types, the ambidextorous, and also those who mix different activities and their handedness- say writing and throwing. A surpising number of people are actually mixed types, and this increases for footedness and eyedness.
This book is a good overview of various statistics, and what it means to live as a left hander in a right handed world. The author has conducted many years research into various studies, from identical twin studies, to family studies, to genes and learning, to the way tools are designed, and how left handers cope with these sorts of things in general. Bias, prejudice, and general policies are discussed, both historically and in recent times. (Everyone knows the old rap over the knuckle for left handed school students several generations ago, but where have we come from there?).
The author mentions his university in the 1990s where all the chairs in his lecture theatre have right-sided writing areas. (Being left handed in writing, I also remember having to cope with this at university. I also remember smudging most of my first ink pen writing in primary school-left handed writers will know what I am talking about!).
One of the best things about this book is the detail. Not only is there analyses of handedness, but as mentioned, footedness, eyeness, and even earness. Which ear do you listen to your watch with? Also, mixed handed types are discussed, along with various sports, and degree of lefthandness (and right handedness!) in each, and where it may be useful to be more of a mixed type for some sports (eg soccer with mixed footedness, and basketball with mixed handedness). Readers are given personal questionaires to determine their general level of left or right handedness, footedness, earness, and eyeness. Links with brain states and brain areas, personality types, tendancy to certain careers and so on is also discussed. Famous lefties are also listed.
The book is a must for the curious leftie, and for those who are interested in where this curious, and rather little studied aspect of humanity is taking us.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Very concrete and helpful as well as scientifically sound 28 Dec. 1998
By M. McPhillips - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I learned a great deal about myself reading this book and I think even came away with higher self esteem. The author is a leading scientist studying left-handedness and explains why media and "common knowledge" information and facts on the subject are often incorrect. The writing style is factual and informative but also entertaining. You learn about the problems of left-handed presidents as well as your own or a friend's problems and why there are fewer left-handed older people than younger ones. I'm very grateful to the author for explaining to me why I had so much trouble in dancing class as a teenager; I found his answer to that puzzle much more help than all the dermatologists my mother took me to for my acne. I wish I could have read this book earlier in my life.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Interesting issues that are worthy of further investigation 23 Dec. 2002
By Mark Carroll - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book doesn't tell left-handers how best to live in a right-handers' world, but it doesn't purport to. It does, however, live up to its title. Coren presents a range of very interesting theories and conclusions about left-handedness. Crucially, he also describes the actual studies and presents their results, and is fairly clear about when something's just a theory and why one might believe it, so you get to see some raw facts and judge for yourself. I'm strongly left-handed and am not in the least bit offended by the idea that it could have possibly been caused by something going slightly wrong somewhere. Some of the theories did actually explain a few things about my family and myself quite well, which was an added bonus.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Right minded 7 Nov. 2009
By Linda Pagliuco - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The word "syndrome" in the title of this book should serve to red-flag contents. Because the author views left handedness as a "pathological" aberration from the norm, his approach is to analyze it accordingly, which he does with painstaking attention to the science and statistics of neuropsychology. Much of what he presents as fact is interesting, and may be correct. The connection with birth trauma is particularly valuable. Coren does not, however, devote much time to addressing the opposite phenomenom, that of the gifted left-hander. My concern with this unbalanced approach is that it creates the impression that most, if not all, lefties are somehow seriously hampered in their abilities to lead "normal" lives. In truth, southpaws are disproportionately represented among athletes, artists, and intellectuals. Regarding life span, a study conducted in 1993 by the National Institutes of Health and Harvard University found no significant difference among death rates for right or left hand dominance.

All human characteristics have their good and bad features, so why should left-handedness be any different? Just something to keep in mind....
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
ONE BIG PROBLEM 3 Jan. 2000
By "rovergeorge" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
My prime regret about this book is that it took me the better part of a decade to get to it. While I'm not left handed I've always been facinated by the topic. This book and the studies it covers sure blew away a lot of my pretense of knowledge about the subject and a lot of old wives tales to boot. Happily I'm not alone in my chagrin. Coren's investigation blew away a lot of his smug preconceptions too. Coren could of kept that to himself but he is honest enough to show himself bungling around in the dark like most of us do so much of the time.
The book is part survey of left-handedness through the ages and part the adventure of bringing arcane disciplines of science to bear on problem. The author gets across the feelings of frustration and confusion when the results of careful research produce enigmatic and elusive results.
The final part of the book is primer in understanding left handers and the burdens under which they gamely labor. And fianally it is a plea for ways in which we could make left handers lives,if not perfect,at least a little easier.
Coren write with an ease, humor and heart that belies his intelligence and expertise.
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