The Narcissist You Know by Joseph Burgo (5 out of 5)
The first thing I thought when I read about this book in Simon & Schuster’s newsletter was- what the hell is an extreme narcissist? Second, how many kids lost a spelling bee because they got tripped up on all the “S” in the word? The textbook definition of a narcissist is a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish. The textbook definition of extreme is reaching a high or the highest degree; very great. The fact that narcissists are already perceived as too much, but there are more evolved levels? I absolutely had to read this. The lovely Wendy sent me a copy. Thanks, Wendy, as always, you are my ARC angel (bad bookseller humor. Excuse it, please).
They compare this title to The Sociopath Next Door (Martha Stout), a book I read many years ago at BAM and which had me riveted for weeks. Books that dig this deep into the human psyche, often they were too much for my addled brain to take all at once, so I would take a break. Happily, with age comes less time, so I was able to put the addled at the door, and dive right into this book. What Burgo does here is to examine the multiple levels of extreme narcissists, to provide definitive information on them, and to guide the reader into how to handle knowing people and defending yourself against that sort of narcissist. See, this book isn’t just a learning tool, it’s a defense manual as well. In this day and age of social media and extreme interaction (selfies? Come on!) with the world at large, it seems that the populace is celebrating this harmful, destructive trait, instead of having some guidelines so that you can CYA (cover your asteroids) in case you are dealing with one. Burgo is very thorough in his classifications, examples, and ways to deflect and defend yourself if you ever find yourself under attack by one of these people. It was such an eye-opening look at a side of the psychological triangle that I had never though existed, that it’s definitely going up on the recommends shelf at work. Unbelievable. And I’m pretty sure that you can sit there, with a pen and paper like I did, and write down at least one person who fits in each category. I know a lot of people, so I had two or three for a couple of these. It’s just a book that should be read on principle, because it can never hurt to have your wits about you if you get caught in a situation where you encounter one of these extreme personality types! So go buy it, read it, and pass it onto anyone else who would benefit. Personally, I think anyone could benefit from reading it, but that’s just me. But better yet, it could be you reading this!
The Narcissist You Know is out on Simon & Schuster on September 22, 2015.