From cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Christian Jarrett, a fascinating book exploring the science of personality and how we can change ourselves for the better.
What if you could exploit the plasticity of personality to change yourself in specific ways?
Would you choose to become less neurotic? More self-disciplined? Less shy?
Until now, we’ve been told that we’re stuck with the personality we were born with: The introvert will never break out of their shell, the narcissist will be forever trapped gazing into the mirror.
In Be Who You Want, Dr. Christian Jarrett takes us on a thrilling journey, as he not only explores the ways that life changes us, but shows how we can deliberately shape our personalities to influence the course of our lives.
Dr. Jarrett draws on the latest research to provide evidence-based ways to change each of the main five personality traits, including how to become more emotionally stable, extraverted, and open-minded. Dr. Jarrett features compelling stories of people who have achieved profound personality change such as a gang-leader turned youth role model, a drug addict turned ultra-runner, and a cripplingly shy teenager turned Hollywood mega-star. He also delves into the upsides of the so-called Dark Triad of personality traits—narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy—and how we might exploit their advantages without ourselves going over to the dark side.
Filled with quizzes and interactive exercises to help us better understand the various aspects of our personalities, life stories, and passions, Be Who You Want will appeal to anyone who has ever felt constrained by how they've been characterized and wants to pursue lasting change.
About the Author
A cognitive neuroscientist by training, Christian Jarrett has been popularizing psychology and neuroscience for over two decades. His award-winning writing on the mind, brain, and behavior has appeared in publications across the world, including the BBC, New York magazine, VICE, Aeon, The Guardian, GQ, WIRED, and many more. Today he is Deputy Editor of Psyche, a digital magazine that illuminates the human condition. Dr. Jarrett has written several critically acclaimed books including The Rough Guide to Psychology and Great Myths of the Brain. He was also a consultant editor and lead author for the best-selling 30-Second Psychology. He lives in the countryside near Brighton, England with his wife and twins (a boy and a girl) and their miniature schnauzer.
“Be Who You Want gives us hope that we can upgrade ourselves and lays out a step-by-step plan to get us from here to there. In my more than 30 years as a psychotherapist, I have not found a more plain-spoken and instructive book on transformation. —Karen R. Koenig, New York Journal of Books
“Jarrett makes a persuasive case that personality types are more malleable than we might think.” —Financial Times
“In this enthusiastic guide to changing one’s personality… Jarrett’s passion and encouragement will give readers the confidence they need to switch things up.” —Publishers Weekly
"It's not an exaggeration to say this book will change your life. Be Who You Want perfectly combines fascinating research, surprising stories, and personal anecdotes to explore how picking your personality can change your daily and long-term outlook. This book is a must-read!" —NIR EYAL, bestselling author of Indistractable
“I found myself consuming Christian Jarrett’s Be Who You Want with gradually increasing fascination and conviction. This is not snake-oil huckstering, or silly salesmanship but plausible and very convincing science. There are enough plums, cherries, raisins and sultanas in this delightful cake to inspire, surprise, motivate and enthuse anyone. Warmly recommended.”—STEPHEN FRY
“Christian Jarrett has written a lucid, balanced, engaging, and authoritative account of the promise of positive personality change. Richly researched and evocatively written, Be Who You Want provides a hopeful and nuanced message. This is essential reading for a general audience who may be puzzled and perplexed about their own personalities and those of people they care about.” —PROFESSOR BRIAN R. LITTLE, author of Me, Myself, and Us
“In this deeply researched and insightful book, Christian Jarrett shows that we are not, in fact, stuck with ourselves. Jarrett argues convincingly that we can and do change — indeed, whether we notice it in ourselves or not, we already are changing.”—MELISSA DAHL, Executive editor at New York Magazine's The Cut
“Not many people realize the pervasiveness of personality, not only for your success at school and work, but also for your mental and physical health and even your longevity. In this insightful book, Christian Jarrett shows us how to disrupt old strategies and habits and shape our character for the better. A timely and empowering book, you’ll never think about your personality in the same way again.” —SCOTT BARRY KAUFMAN, host of The Psychology Podcast and author of Transcend
“There is no better guide to the psychology of personality than Christian Jarrett. Be Who You Want is fascinating and revelatory, identifying the many forces that have shaped us — and the practical ways to become a new person. Filled with compassion, wisdom, and optimism, it is essential reading for anyone interested in the science of self-transformation.” —DAVID ROBSON, author of The Intelligence Trap
“Dr. Jarrett’s engaging writing style educates and entertains, even if you’re someone who is mostly happy with who you already are. In Be Who You Want, he offers exercises and insight to give readers the power to build new habits and change in positive ways.” —ELIZABETH LOFTUS, former president of the Association for Psychological Science
“In this inspiring yet bracingly down-to-earth book, Christian Jarrett shows that positive personality change lies within reach. And since your beliefs about what’s possible are central to what’s actually possible, just reading Be Who You Want should get the improvements started.”—OLIVER BURKEMAN, author of The Antidote
“As a psychologist, it’s rare that I come across a book that communicates the complexities of personality and behavior change in a way that’s both accessible and substantive. Be Who You Want does so in spades—with plenty of wit and warmth to boot! An intellectually thrilling and genuinely practical book that will show you how to harness the science of personality to change yourself for the better.”—NICK WIGNALL, Clinical psychologist and blogger
“Personality is hard to change, but recent advances in science have shown that with the right tools and strategies it is possible to become a better version of ourselves. This wonderful new book will show you how.”—TOMAS CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC, Professor of Business Psychology at University College London and Columbia University