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Popular : The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World
by Mitch Prinstein


Overview - A leading psychologist examines how our popularity affects our success, our relationships, and our happiness--and why we don't always want to be the most popular

No matter how old you are, there's a good chance that the word "popular" immediately transports you back to your teenage years.  Read more...


 
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More About Popular by Mitch Prinstein
 
 
 
Overview
A leading psychologist examines how our popularity affects our success, our relationships, and our happiness--and why we don't always want to be the most popular

No matter how old you are, there's a good chance that the word "popular" immediately transports you back to your teenage years. Most of us can easily recall the adolescent social cliques, the high school pecking order, and which of our peers stood out as the most or the least popular teens we knew. Even as adults we all still remember exactly where we stood in the high school social hierarchy, and the powerful emotions associated with our status persist decades later. This may be for good reason.

Popular examines why popularity plays such a key role in our development and, ultimately, how it still influences our happiness and success today. In many ways--some even beyond our conscious awareness--those old dynamics of our youth continue to play out in every business meeting, every social gathering, in our personal relationships, and even how we raise our children. Our popularity even affects our DNA, our health, and our mortality in fascinating ways we never previously realized. More than childhood intelligence, family background, or prior psychological issues, research indicates that it's how popular we were in our early years that predicts how successful and how happy we grow up to be.

But it's not always the conventionally popular people who fare the best, for the simple reason that there is more than one type of popularity--and many of us still long for the wrong one. As children, we strive to be likable, which can offer real benefits not only on the playground but throughout our lives. In adolescence, though, a new form of popularity emerges, and we suddenly begin to care about status, power, influence, and notoriety--research indicates that this type of popularity hurts us more than we realize.

Realistically, we can't ignore our natural human social impulses to be included and well-regarded by others, but we can learn how to manage those impulses in beneficial and gratifying ways. Popular relies on the latest research in psychology and neuroscience to help us make the wisest choices for ourselves and for our children, so we may all pursue more meaningful, satisfying, and rewarding relationships.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780399563737
  • ISBN-10: 0399563733
  • Publisher: Viking
  • Publish Date: June 2017
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Psychology > Interpersonal Relations
Books > Psychology > Movements - Behaviorism
Books > Psychology > Developmental - Adolescent

 
BookPage Reviews

Laws of attraction

Who knew that being a dweeb in high school could have such long-lasting influence on how we see the world and how it sees us? Ultimately, how well or how badly we fit in with others, Mitch Prinstein argues in his book Popular, is the dominant factor in what we become both professionally and personally. Now a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Prinstein confesses to having been a social outsider himself as a teenager—and one who, like most of us, strove mightily to achieve peer acceptance. The drive to be popular is part of our evolutionary engine, he maintains.

But popularity comes in different guises. It may arise from status (dominant personality, wealth, athletic prowess, physical beauty, extraordinary intelligence, etc.) or from simple likability (characterized by openness, friendliness, an interest in others, a willingness to share or following the rules). Of these two types, Prinstein says, “likability continues to be relevant to us throughout our lives and has been shown to be the most powerful kind of popularity there is.” Status is a shakier foundation on which to build. Indeed, he worries that the lure of status—especially the kind of easy but ephemeral visibility conferred through social media—may compromise “our ability to distinguish between good and bad.”

Obviously, we don’t begin life knowing all this. So from infancy onward, we may find ourselves socially marginalized by our physical appearance, aggressiveness, defensiveness, inability to interpret social cues or kindred forms of maladjustments. While these flaws are by no means fatal to our future success, Prinstein concludes that they will almost certainly take a toll on our health, happiness and often our professional advancement. The good news, he says, is that once we realize the negative impact these traits are exerting on us, we have ample opportunities to change how we react and, thus, make course corrections toward a sunnier horizon.

This article was originally published in the June 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews