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The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us [Paperback]

Jeffrey Kluger
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 4 2012
A provocative and surprising exploration of the longest sustained relationships we have in life—those we have with our siblings.

Nobody affects us as deeply as our brothers and sisters. Our siblings are our collaborators and co-conspirators, our role models and cautionary tales. They teach us how to resolve conflicts and how not to, how to conduct friendships and when to walk away. Our siblings are the only people we know who truly qualify as partners for life.

In this perceptive and groundbreaking book, Jeffrey Kluger explores the complex world of siblings in equal parts science, psychology, sociology, and memoir. Based on cutting-edge research, he examines birth order, twins, genetic encoding of behavioral traits, emotional disorders and their effects on sibling relationships, and much more. With his signature insight and humor, Kluger takes science’s provocative new ideas about the subject and transforms them into smart, accessible insights that will help everyone understand the importance of siblings in our lives.

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Review

“Honest and vulnerable and caring.”—The Washington Post

“Addictively readable.”—Entertainment Weekly

“The science of siblings is well overdue for this kind of attention.”—The Boston Globe

“A page turner . . . a worthwhile read for anyone interested in human relationships.”—Associated Press

“Endlessly fascinating.”—Parent Magazine

About the Author

Jeffrey Kluger is a senior editor and writer at Time magazine. He is a coauthor of the bestseller Apollo 13 and the author of Simplexity, Splendid Solution, Moon Hunters, and two novels for young adults. He lives in New York City with his wife and daughters.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not what I expected. Nov. 7 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Though the book wasn't quite what I expected, it was still interesting. I guess I was expecting more on the scientific side as opposed to personal experiences.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars banal and too geneeral Nov. 26 2011
By Robert F. Leroux - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I looked forward to insights based on the few bon mots heard on a CBC interview. Once into the book I was terribly disappointed at the generalizations that may have/could have been deduced from pop psych books. This is not a scholarly work. For the uninformed looking for sound bites it can serve one in good stead at a cocktail party. Not worth purchasing. Better to request it from the library and judge first if it is worth anything as a reference book.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the Middle of the Book Dec 5 2011
By Daisy Doolittle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'm in the middle of The Sibling Effect, but I decided to write a review now because I've come upon a fact about Wendy Wasserstein, the late playwright, that I know is not the case. Before I reveal this fake fact, I will say Kluger's an intelligent, informative, fluid, and fun writer. The book reads as a winning combination of personal anecdote, expert testimony, and incisive analysis; however, in a chapter on the significance of birth order, Kluger states Wasserstein was the middle of three children. In truth, she was the youngest of five (or four: her oldest sibling, Abner, was sent to live elsewhere early on and Wendy was unaware of his existence until she was grown). While this isn't an important mistake, it's too easy a fact not to double check, especially since her many obituaries make note of it. So now I must wonder how many other facts here are incorrect. Still, I find the book hard to put down.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book! Feb. 2 2012
By ParisBreakfast - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A broad perspective on families and birth order backed up with scientific data and personal, hilarious anecdotes.
My copy is yellow-marked and underlined to the hilt and I'm only half-way through it. I'm pleased to learn many family gripes are the norm across the board and classic.
The Sibling Effect helps you comprehend your relationships with others as well as with siblings - invaluable reading.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bonds with my sibiings Jan. 15 2012
By Nerak Nomolos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
After hearing the author interviewed on Public Radio I reserved his book from my local library. Reading it reminded me of my early years growing up with four siblings. So much of what Jeffrey Kluger recounted about his relationships rang true for me. The writing is engaging and easy to understand. I didn't want to put it down until I finished. This is not often true of non-fiction. I was compelled to send it to my brothers and my sister. Anyone with multiple siblings will recognize something of their own experience in this book.
17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging book, charged with emotional stories about the writer's own experience Sept. 28 2011
By TheoGnostus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Birth order, defined as a person's rank by age among his or her siblings, is generally believed to have a significant and enduring effect on human psychological progress and maturing. This assertion has been challenged by psychology researchers, yet birth order continues to have a popular appeal, clearly displayed in pop psychology. Pop psychology does not mean unreliable, but commonly accepted views without applying qualified analytical tools. Since Adler, the eminent developer of 'Individual Psychology', the influence of birth order on the development of personality has become both a popular and a controversial issue.

Kluger uses his convincing talent to provide a very engaging book, charged with emotional stories, entrenched in the writer's own experience, which cannot become a generalization by psychologists. In their book "Sibling Relationships: Their Nature and Significance across the Lifespan," Michael Lamb and Brian Sutton-Smith, strongly support Kluger, articulating that sibling bonds often last an entire lifetime. Frank Sulloway, advocates also that birth order has strong and lasting influence on the major personality traits, however, critical psychologists argue against his theories. He argues that firstborns are more conscientious, more socially dominant, less agreeable, and more traditional to laterborns.

Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives
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