Rethinking Narcissism Book Summary - Rethinking Narcissism Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Rethinking Narcissism summary

Craig Malkin

The Bad – and Surprising Good – about Feeling Special

3.7 (129 ratings)
13 mins

Brief summary

Rethinking Narcissism by Craig Malkin challenges the traditional view of narcissism as a purely negative trait.
He explores the spectrum of narcissism and provides tools to identify and manage healthy and unhealthy levels of this personality trait.

Table of Contents

    Rethinking Narcissism
    Summary of 6 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 6

    Narcissism has been debated since ancient times.

    You’re probably familiar with the myth of Narcissus – the extraordinarily handsome hunter, who, after shunning the mountain nymph Echo, fell in love with his own reflection in a lake and, unable to draw himself away, perished at water’s edge. Clearly, self-love has been a controversial topic since ancient times.

    Back in 350 BC, Aristotle asked whom the good man should love more: himself or others. Ultimately, Aristotle decided that the good man is he who loves himself most. If, a few centuries earlier, you’d asked Buddha the same question, you’d have gotten a very different response. He claimed that the self is nothing more than an illusion, and that it was best to love others.

    But it wasn’t until the early twentieth century that the word narcissism appeared for the first time, courtesy of Sigmund Freud. Freud claimed that, in order to establish meaningful relationships with others, a person must first fall in love with themselves. In a famous paper, On Narcissism: An Introduction, published in 1914, Freud theorized that infancy is the stage at which we fall in love with ourselves.

    As young children, we develop self-love after witnessing all the things we are capable of. According to Freud, this is a healthy and necessary step in our development. Without it, we’d fail to discover our own importance and would subsequently struggle to reach out to others. In this sense, self-love was a positive thing for Freud. But when it came to his view of human nature overall, he was decidedly pessimistic.

    Freud argued that humans are driven by aggressive and sexual instincts. Decades later, Heinz Kohut, an Austrian psychoanalyst, opposed this idea. Kohut believed that humans are driven by the need to develop a healthy self-image. So narcissism is central to Kohut’s theory. The love, admiration and consolation of those around us is what makes us feel special, allowing us to grow into confident, self-loving individuals.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Rethinking Narcissism?

    Key ideas in Rethinking Narcissism

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Rethinking Narcissism about?

    Rethinking Narcissism (2015) provides fresh perspectives on what we typically understand as arrogance or vanity. These blinks situate narcissism both historically and culturally, explaining the spectrum of narcissism and its different forms; they also provide helpful strategies for recognizing and dealing with the narcissists you might know.

    Who should read Rethinking Narcissism?

    • Anyone interested in psychology
    • People with narcissistic partners and friends
    • Potential narcissists

    About the Author

    Craig Malkin is a clinical psychologist. He’s written articles about relationships for top publications, including Time and Psychology Today. Malkin is also the director of YM Psychotherapy and Consultation, which offers workshops in couples therapy.

    Categories with Rethinking Narcissism

    Book summaries like Rethinking Narcissism

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial