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Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives Paperback – Sep 2 1997

3.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (Sept. 2 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679758763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679758761
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 4.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #298,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

This groundbreaking book takes on the influence of birth order in personalities and offers some surprising conclusions. Frank J. Sulloway, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has undertaken the first comprehensive study of birth order in determining personality and social outlook. He produces overwhelming evidence that, because of the evolutionary hierarchy in families, first-born children are more likely to be conformists while the later-borns tend to be more creative and more likely to reject the status quo. He documents just how different siblings are from each another--a person tends to have more in common with any randomly chosen person of their own age than with a sibling--and explains why sibling differences occur. The book offers new insights into the determining factors of who we are and who our children will be, and it is unlike any research yet published. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The thesis advanced by M.I.T. research scholar Sulloway (Freud: Biologist of the Mind) in this provocative, sure-to-be-controversial study is that firstborn children identify more strongly with power and authority and are more conforming, conventional and defensive, whereas younger siblings are more adventurous, rebellious and inclined to question the status quo. He bases this conclusion on birth-order research and on his theory that siblings jockey for niches within the family in Darwinian fashion: while firstborns defend their special status, later-borns are more open to experience because accessibility helps them maximize attention and love from their parents. Providing a detailed statistical analysis of thousands of individuals' responses to 28 scientific innovations?Darwinism, the Copernican revolution, Einstein's relativity, etc.?Sulloway concludes that most have been initiated and championed by later-borns, whereas firstborns tend to reject new ideas. He overstates his case when he interprets the French Revolution's Reign of Terror as fundamentally a battle between firstborn conservatives and later-born liberals, and his analysis of the Protestant Reformation in similar terms is debatable. And although Darwin, Voltaire, Ralph Nader and abolitionist Harriet Tubman were later-born siblings, Einstein, Freud, Galileo, Newton, Kepler, Lavoisier and many other radical innovators were firstborns, casting doubt on birth-order influence. Photos. First serial to the New Yorker.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The role of siblings within the family and beyond has received attention for many years. Sulloway pulls together a mass of research, including his own to find patterns deriving from family structure. Using a strong evolutionary stance, he shows how "sibling rivalry" for resources extends into later life. This sweeping study keeps the reader's attention with clear, straightforward prose and a refreshingly direct approach. It will keep other students of human behaviour working for many years.
The general pattern, examined within larger social, political, religious and scientific arenas, shows how later-borns become the flexible, innovative thinkers. While, necessarily, only a few become actual creators of new ideas, they more readily accept fresh concepts. Later-borns learn to adapt in the family environment - it's a survival trait. First-borns, and Sulloway notes the difference between chronological and "functional" first-borns, cling to a conservative stance. Even if the parents are radical thinkers, their first-borns will adhere to their way of thinking. Later-borns in such a circumstance are more likely to depart from the family's stance, adhering to more conservative social or political ideas. The disparity in attitudes is the norm within the family, not necessarily across family boundaries.
Throughout the book, Sulloway frequently turns to Darwin as a case study in strengthening his thesis. It's a wise choice, since Darwin is emblematic of what Sulloway asserts. middle-class, middle sibling, middle-aged at the peak of his achievements, Darwin exemplifies most of Sulloway's criteria for distinguishing birth order as a personality driver.
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Format: Hardcover
This book indeed, in some respects, represents the "stunning intellectual achievement" celebrated by one of its reviewers. However, it is bent, on every paragraph of every page, against older siblings. I know from my own personal experience that there is in fact a distinctive and characteristic older-sibling world view, but the author of this book appears to be so envious and so spiteful that he cannot see anything but the dark side of this distinctive pattern. Thus, the definitive written work understanding and celebrating the diversity of different birth-order world views remains to be written.
I should like to know what the author, Frank Sulloway, thinks of today's China. The Chinese government has for at least two decades, especially in urban areas, encouraged families to be content with only one child. As a result of the partial success of this policy, there are now an uncharacteristically large number of oldest-siblings now growing toward adulthood in China, unleavened by what would otherwise be a proportionate cohort of younger ones. Does Mr. Sulloway view this with alarm? Is he prepared to be consistent with his own theory, which requires those who believe in it to characterize this generation of young Chinese as hierarchically content, unimaginative stick-in-the-muds? Surely nobody who values human diversity would go so far. Sulloway's theories are fascinating and should be followed up by other serious students of human nature. However these theories, when taken by themselves, lead to conclusions that very few real persons would accept.
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Format: Paperback
1) "Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Values, and Creative Lives." Frank Sulloway. MIT.
There can be no doubt that socialization takes place in the family. Now come the rebellions in EDUCATION that are born of this evidence. Given Professor Sulloway's extensive statistical evidence, there is no doubt about it at all. What this evidence means is of the utmost importance to education in the American public school system. It is a simple matter. Review and analysis of Sulloway must tackle the job. Certainly the book is important. The application of the evidentiary principles in it is a revolution in thinking. There are two distinct focal points. The most important is for schools, teaching theories, and their applications. Student do not acclimate to society and social rule or norms by peer interaction. Time need not be allocated to those things that SCIENCE proved cannot and do not happen. The extraordinary amounts of time given to socialization in schools, teacher training, and the texts for such mandates need revision and abandonment. The ridiculous practices of causing a nominally tardy student to miss more classes by sending them to the office for a "tardy slip" needs to slip away to never land from whence such idiotic practices came. Imagine this applied to life as so assiduously done by dimwit unimaginative public school teachers and administrators. Individuals who are aware that family pecking order is shaping their minds can work to enhance or oppose these proven effects. No nonsense entered into the research of Professor Sulloway means there'll be no nonsense out of applications of it.
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