Who Am I?: The 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Our Behavior and Define Our Personality

Steven Reiss, Author Jeremy P. Tarcher $24.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-58542-045-2
In 1998, Ohio State University psychology professor Reiss developed the ""Reissprofile,"" which plotted 16 basic desires that he claims motivate everyone's choices, actions and attitudes. Eschewing Erickson's stages of life and Maslow's pyramid of needs, Reiss surveyed over 6,000 people to identify the 16 factors that provide a more personalized ""desires profile."" Scoring high, low or average for each of the desires creates a unique description of an individual's sometimes hidden motivations. Reiss neglects to mention whether he made any comparisons between siblings or twins, but asserts that these desire levels are ""genetically coded"" and cannot be changed. If a strong desire leads one into trouble, he contends, understanding the motivating desire can direct the behavior into socially acceptable avenues (for instance, as when the street fighter turns professional boxer). It is easy for readers to identify and understand the desires for power, independence and curiosity. But a few of Reiss's categories are questionable, as when he fails to separate idealistic thinking from activist behavior. When discussing ""romance,"" he implies that persons for whom sex is a high priority are also great lovers of art, music and beauty. While not the be-all and end-all of psychological study that Reiss claims it to be, this survey could be another useful tool in helping readers to understand themselves and to remedy what he calls ""self-hugging"" (believing that one's particular set of priorities is--or should be--everybody's) and ""not getting it"" (an impasse of understanding between people with different desire profiles). (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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