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Who am I?: 16 Basic Desires that Motivate Our Actions Define Our Personalities Paperback – Mar 5 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (March 5 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425183408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425183403
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #278,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

“In [this] ground-breaking book, Steven Reiss opens a window into what drives our emotions, how they affect our behavior toward those around us, and most significant, how we might use this information to improve our self-image and our relations with others.”—Gerald Schroeder, Ph.D., author of Genesis and the Big Bang and The Science of God

“Rather than consult astrological charts or take quizzes in magazines, read Who Am I? for an authoritative, research-based understanding of why we do the things we do.”—Ellen Langer, Ph.D., author of Mindfulness and The Power of Mindful Living

“Readers…will [better understand] their motivational stylesand have a lot of fun doing so.”—Edward Zigler, Sterling Professor of Psychology, Yale University

“Using a wealth of everyday examples, Steven Reiss offers…insight into such matters as why some interpersonal relationships are enduringly satisfying, and others are not. His theory of motivation illuminates the important questions in our lives.”—Richard J. McNally, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

“Reiss shows us how to identify our own pattern of desires and how to compare and contrast the patterns in our relationships. The applications of this scientific extension of Maslow’s hierarchy extend beyond the personal: Reiss’ system can improve our working relationships and enhance our professional lives.”—Ruth Luckasson, J.D., Regents’ Professor and Professor of Special Education, University of New Mexico

“An ‘outside the box’ approach to understanding individual behavior. Reiss clearly explains the sixteen basic desires, and shows how to easily plot one’s own ‘desire profile.’ Readers of Who Am I? will gain valuable insight into their motivational stylesand have a lot of fun doing so.”—Edward Zigler, Sterling Professor of Psychology, Yale University

“Steven Reiss provides an exciting new way to think about ourselves.”—Ellen Langer, Ph.D., author of Mindfulness and The Power of Mindful Learning

“Well explained in lay readers’ terms.”—Library Journal

About the Author

Steven Reiss, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Ohio State University, as well as the director of the Nisonger Center for Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. His internationally acclaimed, influential research has been translated into more than a dozen languages and widely adopted by professionals and educators. Dr. Reiss lives in Columbus.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Although most people are not used to thinking about human behavior in terms of fundamental desires knowledge of our 16 basic desires can help you gain insight into who you are and why you do what you do. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4 2002
Format: Paperback
I have two concerns about this book.

Firstly, although it is entitled "Who Am I?" it might have been more appropriate, not to mention more honest, to call the book "What Am I?".
The answer to "who am I?", for this author, is: Steven Reiss, professor of psychology and psychiatry at Ohio State University.

The answer to "*what* am I?", for this author, is (whether he admits to it or not): An evolutionary psychologist, and consequently we humans are merely an expression of our genes. Both physically *and* psychologically.

The justification for this statement is clearly stated on page 25:

"Our basic desires have an evolutionary origin, but they are significantly modified by culture, beliefs, and individual experiences in ways that are still not well understood. What we desire is largely determined by our genes, but how we fulfill our desires is largely determined by culture and experience."
Notice that even the *way* we fulfil our desires is partly governed by genetics. In fact, for Reiss, genetics are the *true* key to everything else (page 24):

"... even if the average strength of the 16 basic desires were found to vary across cultures, I expect that the definitions of the 16 basic desires presented in this book would be proven to be universal. I base this expectation partially on the genetic origin of the desires."
One of the problems with this "it all depends on your genes" attitude is that this is basically a dead end definition. In order to expand on the notion we have to take unproven and frequently unprovable jumps into the dark. And the end result is frequently non-sense, nonsense, or both. As in these three assertions on page 19:
1.
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Format: Paperback
I have read many books about self help, psychology, and human behavior, and I believe I learned more from this one than from any other book. Reiss's theory is that all human beings are motivated by sixteen basic desires, and your personal prescription for happiness depends on the relative strengths of these desires. He argues that these desires are genetically determined. I believe that the science behind the "Reiss Profile" is sound, unlike the many other similar books that claim to tell you about yourself. The theory of personality originated with William James; Reiss has extended this work and in this book makes his important findings available to the general reader.
My only complaint about this book is that it is very wordy, which is so absolutely typical of self-help books. He presents the theory concisely and clearly, then goes on to apply the theory to many different areas of human behavior. This seems excessively detailed and it makes for tiresome reading, so I skimmed much of the second half of the book. At times the book approaches a catalog in unreadability.
By all means get the book and answer the questions to determine your own desire profile. I believe you will learn more about yourself, more quickly, than you have ever done before.
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Format: Paperback
A good book to read for those interested in behaviors and motivations of people. Reiss has laid out a great source of fundamental information on desires and happiness. Reading the book helps engender thought and facilitate introspection as to who we are and why we are.
"Although we hate to admit it, getting even is fun for many people and a need for many others. In the warped mind of the attackers, they were just having 'fun.' Everybody knows that the students killed out of vengeance. But everybody does not realize that there may be no deeper explanation. The desire to get even is a basic human need. It may have been stronger in these two students than in most people. These people were born to hate."
Steven Reiss on the Columbine High School attack in Littleton Colorado
In a world that sometimes makes little sense, the information Steven Reiss, PH.D. has offered is an asset to those interested in life and understanding it as best as one can.
If you appreciate Victor Frankl's work, you will enjoy this book as it reinforces what makes our lives meaningful.
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Format: Paperback
Who Am I is a great introduction into the core motivators of the human psyche. While this book may not be the end all on human motivation is does provide detailed insight to what motivates us based on scientific study. The most interesting and enlightening thing about the book is coming to the realization that we are all motivated and driven by different desires and that what motivates us in not by itself right or wrong. This not only helps you understand yourself and make effective changes in your life, it also allows you to understand others without judging them.
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