cover image Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad—and Surprising Good—About Feeling Special

Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad—and Surprising Good—About Feeling Special

Craig Malkin. HarperWave, $25.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-234810-4

This wide-ranging discussion aims to absolve narcissism of its negative reputation. Psychologist Malkin makes no attempt to rigidly define narcissism, instead expanding the term into one that encompasses many different meanings. Readers are presented with a range of features broad enough to include almost anyone. Malkin delves into the Greek myth of Narcissus, which inspires him to propose a new category of “subtle narcissists” he calls echoists. Supplementing fable with modern anecdote, he also addresses the more familiar subject of modern technology’s influence on personality traits. Even if narcissism has come to be known as an affliction, it proves here to offer a range of adaptive benefits, collectively described as “healthy narcissism.” An inset quiz allows readers to discover where they fall on narcissism’s fluid continuum. Such a spectrum is perhaps too slippery: Malkin’s newly liberal definition may make narcissism too flexible a term to be very useful. Yet this is, importantly, a book that will have readers rethinking themselves and, paradoxically, those around them. Agent: Miriam Altshuler, Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency. (July)