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I think we all know a few narcissists and sometimes have a narcissistic moment ourselves but this book does not try to cure the incurable it simply helps you identify them and then deal with them. Carter is essentially a practical man; his professional experience is that few narcissists consult therapists and some that do only do so in order to validate their view. Instead their victims see themselves as needing therapy! Carter has details of the various tribes of narcissists and armed with this you'll soon be out spotting them from your hide. Dealing with them is never going to be easy but Carter spells it out simply and logically. I found his views both convincing and useful in practice.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 February 2010
I've read one other book on the topic of Narcissism, Alexander Lowen's Narcissism: Denial of the True Self which dealt with Narcissism in a broad sense, as a trait anyone could possess, a trait fostered by cultural messages and also one which Narcissists themselves could be expected to eventually self-identify and wish to assail.

This is perhaps the greatest distinction between Carter and Lowen's perspective in that Carter doesnt believe Narcissists seek to change or engage with therapy in order to change and has instead produced a book aimed at helping those who have regular dealings with the most intractably narcissistic individuals.

Other key differences include that Carter incorporates into his narrative content of a really spiritual bent, for instance discussing the existence of an underlying or inborn nature in the context of "original sin" or "sin nature", and there is not the same emphasis upon disowned physical sensation or estrangement from feeling as in Lowen (the reason being that Lowen is a therapist influenced by Reich whereas Carter isnt).

Carter's account is clear, concise and readable, pace and style of writing are accessible and interesting and it is likely to be just as accessible to a general readership as professionals or students. Breaks and spacing are used to great effect as are headings and sub-headings used to provide structure, there are no meandering tangents. However there is a slight draw back in how Carter uses case studies and examples from his practice, these are introduced, reintroduced and rereferred to in a way which sometimes feels like a change of pace and made me feel like skipping ahead to where the narration would pick up again afterwards.

There's some great use of bullet points to provide concise breakdowns of what will be discussed and these are then used as subheadings to the material comprising the rest of the chapeter. For instance, Carter's breakdown of the common Narcisstic Traits into: An inability to empathise; that is, an inability to experience another person's feelings and perceptions from that person's point of view; Manipulative or exploitative behaviour; A sense of entitlement; An inability to receive direction; An insatiable need for control; A haughty or judgemental spirit; An unwillingness to acknowledge reality; An ability to create favourable public impressions.

While there is some content about an original or "sin nature" asserting itself Carter's explanation of the origins of Narcissism considers it as emerging as a consequence of parenting style, lack of appropriate parent-child bonding and consequent emotional illiteracy. Even at this point of discussing what makes a Narcissist and why does someone become a Narcissist there are pages discussing how best to respond and the final part of the book deals with developing the skills set to deal with Narcissists.

The book overall is a great read, different from Lowen's and with a narrower focus upon the behaviour of those intractably self-absorbed individuals, I would recommend it to anyone interested in the topic in general and anyone who needs the skills for dealing with Narcisstic individuals in particular.

I liked the entire book the chapter on passive-aggressive narcissists was particularly enlightening, indicating how through indirect means individuals of this sort could assert as much control and cause as much harm as more obvious controllers.
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on 7 May 2011
Bought this book after reading a sample on my Kindle, which started well. It became irritating with it's constant references to religion. I had to stop reading when the author began declaring that narcissism comes about through not growing healthily away from "original sin" that we are all born with (apparently). Religous aspect spoils a potentially good book.
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on 12 November 2010
All the references to God made me wonder if any of the book used knowledge gained form psychological studies. As there is no reference section I am guessing that the author merely consulted the Bible. There is no indication in the description that this book was going to be religious otherwise I would not have bought it. It might be a good book for christians but if you're wanting to buy a book on narcissism for educational purposes, or if you don't believe that narcissim is the result of Adam and Eve eating an apple, then I would suggest you look elsewhere.
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on 9 June 2010
I fell upon this book and decided to read it based on the other reviews. I thought I lived with a narcissist, now I know I do. This book does not offer solutions, but it does give understanding into their minds and reasons their behaivours. I was able to pick this up and put it down whenever I had time to read in private.
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on 4 November 2010
I bought this book as it looked like a good guide to dealing with Narcissists in my life (after having counselling it was apparent that there were a few, both at home and work). The biggest problem I had with this book was the constant references to God and Christianity. I'm not a believer, and it actually became really distracting and made me disbelieve the rest of the content and advice that was given in the book. I probably should have realised it was going to be like this after seeing the other books written by the same author (about Christians going through divorce) but hoped that the subject of the book wouldn't need to touch on any religious references. I actually stopped reading it after about the third chapter as it was too irritating and I got nothing from it, and I actually feel like getting my money back! One to avoid.
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on 24 August 2015
I can't recall how many copies of this book I have bought and recommended! It is the best book on identifying, understanding and managing the narcissists in ones life that I have read. Working in therapy, it's important to me that any book is clear, accessible, practical and well-founded - this is all those, and readable and helpful. Colleagues and clients tell me they also recommend it to their friends!
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on 20 July 2010
Wish I had read this book years ago. It would have saved me from a number of disastrous relationships and eventual divorce.
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on 3 October 2011
This was a very helpful book, yes although at times is had a religious perspective, I felt it did not detract from the quality of the content and ideas which the author shared.
This is a very readable book, as well as having case studies which help's you to identify this type of personality it also has practical ideas that can help you a great deal.. Fantastic book, well done Dr Carter!!!!!!!!
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on 23 January 2015
I found this book very clear, practical and helpful to read. It validated my own experiences and helped me think about how I can do things a little differently with the narcissists in my life. Some of the notions like 'self trust' and 'inner security' - at least in my experience - have taken years to build up and develop against the background of suffering and pain involved. I am still working on it. But this doesn't take away from the value of the book to be a direct aid in relieving the symptoms of pain from narcissistic individuals and encouraging one to progress towards a fulfilling life.
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