5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life: Identifying and Dealing with Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other High-Conflict Personalities

Bill Eddy. TarcherPerigee, $17 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-14-313136-6
In this thought-provoking but overextended guide to identifying and avoiding conflict-prone people, Eddy (coauthor of Splitting), a social worker, discusses clinically recognized personality disorders. Though Eddy cites the DSM-V as suggesting that 15% of all people have such a disorder, his book only concerns the 10% of people with “high-conflict” personalities (HCPs.) Eddy states that his mission is to protect the reader from becoming such a person’s fixation, or “target of blame.” Eddy focuses on five personality disorders: borderline, narcissistic, paranoid, antisocial, and histrionic. At times, the book can feel a bit like a safari guide, with discussions of “spotting” each type. Eddy’s examples tend to the extreme: Ted Bundy and Bernie Madoff are used as representatives of antisocial personality disorder and “terrorist leaders” in general as embodiments of narcissistic personality disorder. Eddy’s repetitive rhetoric about how those with high-conflict personality types “ruin lives” will likely strike mental-health advocates as overly stigmatizing, though he does urge readers to exercise compassion as well as caution. Though the subject isn’t without interest, it seems better suited to an article than a full-length book. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/06/2017
Release date: 02/06/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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