Monday, April 22, 2013

Quirk: Brain Science Makes Sense of Your Peculiar Personality

Quirk: Brain Science Makes Sense of Your Peculiar Personality
By Hannah Holmes

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

One of the engaging and interesting features of this book is the way Holmes begins each chapter — with a short self-survey which tells you how you fare on each factor or facet. She writes, "This gives you a quick look at where you land on this facet. If your answers tend toward the ‘often’ side, you’re higher in that facet."

There are five factors (neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and openness).and 18 facets — an average of three or four facets under each factor. I thought the organization of the book was great — easy to understand and follow.

What makes this book even more fascinating, however, is how Holmes incorporates her own (and her family’s) personal experiences and exactly how she (or they) cope with the situation. Her treatment of the many experiments that have been done on rats and mice is also interesting, and she incorporates it well throughout the book.

Her humor is delightful. In the chapter on the facet of "Altruism," she writes about how her beach community rallied against the city council regarding a poop-scooper law regarding dogs on the beach: "As we battle the city council we also formed a community of like-minded people, of helpers. Now many dog owners scoop every poop we spot, and gather human trash, too. These days no dog can poop in peace—three citizens rush at every bent backside. A bag, a spare, and one to share!" (p. 131). (This story goes on for several paragraphs.)

That quotation reveals several things. First, Holmes’ writing is very accessible—easy, comfortable, and fun. Second, she has an ability to tell little stories that hold attention well. Third, she often uses commonplace examples to make her points.

There are eight pages of "Bibliography and Selected References"; however, there are no "Notes" or "Footnotes" — and in a book like this, there should be. There are many times when Holmes refers to studies, experiments, and research that she does not cite. For example: "Of all the personality factors, a married couple is most likely to resemble each other in their degree of Openness. This is based on a fairly slim stack of research, but it certainly makes sense" (p. 232). It would be so easy to add a note here to support her statement, but she does not. This happens a number of times throughout the book.

I liked this book; however, because of the note/footnote situation (there are no notes!), I can only give the book four stars out of five.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Essays, SMOERs Words-of-Wisdom, Fridays Laugh, book reviews... And Then Some! Thank you for your comment.