Transcend Book Summary - Transcend Book explained in key points
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Transcend summary

The New Science of Self-Actualization

4.5 (546 ratings)
29 mins

Brief summary

"Transcend" by Scott Barry Kaufman is a self-help book that explores the concept of transcendence and how it can be achieved through self-actualization, creativity, and the pursuit of meaning. It offers actionable advice and inspiring stories to help readers live a more fulfilled and transcendent life.

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    The need for safety is the basis of all other needs.

    Ever been hangry? If you’re like most people, you probably have, even if you’re not familiar with the word. “Hanger” is hunger-induced anger, and though the word is obviously a humorous coinage, it points to a very real phenomenon. 

    It’s just one example of how, when basic needs like hunger aren’t met, negative emotions can overwhelm us, causing all other feelings and concerns to fade into the background.

    Our most basic need is safety. Safety means stability, a sense of certainty, and having trust in our environment. It’s the secure foundation that allows us to take risks and explore the world.

    The key message here is: The need for safety is the basis of all other needs.

    Beyond physiological needs like hunger, our sense of safety comes down to how we relate to the people around us.

    One of the ways we relate to others is called attachment, and it begins in childhood. Every human is born helpless and completely dependent on the people taking care of it. An infant’s sense of safety depends on its caregiver. If the caregiver is close and paying attention, the infant will feel safe and secure, and it will be willing to play and explore the world.

    But if the caregiver leaves or stops paying attention, the infant will get anxious and start trying to get noticed again – by crying, for example.

    From these interactions in infancy, we develop our attachment style. As we grow older, our attachment style plays a key role in our relationships. If we were lucky enough to grow up in a warm, caring environment, we learn to be attached in a secure way. We feel confident that others will accept us. But if our caregivers weren’t reliable or sufficiently available, we become anxious in future relationships. We may even avoid close relationships altogether, which is called avoidant attachment.

    No one’s attachment style is completely secure. There’s a broad spectrum between secure and avoidant, and most people have at least some levels of anxious or avoidant attachment – or both – especially in times of stress.

    Still, people who have a secure attachment style are better equipped to deal with life’s challenges. They cope with and regulate their emotions in more constructive ways, and have more satisfying relationships. In contrast, insecurity, especially the anxious kind, can lead to depression and loneliness. 

    The good news is that, though we learn our attachment style in childhood, we can change our patterns. New, positive experiences can help us develop healthier ways of interacting.

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    What is Transcend about?

    Transcend (2020) expands on Maslow’s famous ideas about human needs and presents them in a new light that takes us on a path toward self-actualization. It explains the ways in which love, connection, creativity and purpose can be part of our lives. In addition to providing practical advice on how to become your best possible self, it also demystifies transcendence, explaining that it’s something we can all integrate into our daily lives.

    Transcend Review

    Transcend (2020) explores the science and psychology of self-actualization and personal growth, making it a valuable read for anyone seeking to unlock their full potential. Here's why this book is worth your time:

    • With in-depth research and compelling stories, it offers practical insights into how individuals can transcend their limitations and reach new heights of achievement.
    • By delving into the concept of self-actualization, the book provides a roadmap for finding purpose, cultivating creativity, and living a more fulfilling life.
    • The author's engaging writing style invites readers to reflect on their own journeys and empowers them to embrace personal growth as a lifelong pursuit.

    Who should read Transcend?

    • Happy people who’d like to lead even more meaningful lives
    • Deep thinkers in search of new insights about themselves
    • Curious souls looking for self-actualization

    About the Author

    Scott Barry Kaufman is a humanistic psychologist. He holds a PhD in cognitive psychology from Yale University and has taught at multiple prestigious institutions, including Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York University. His previous books include Ungifted and Wired to Create.

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    Transcend FAQs 

    What is the main message of Transcend?

    The main message of Transcend is that everyone has the potential to achieve their highest level of human flourishing.

    How long does it take to read Transcend?

    The estimated reading time for Transcend varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Transcend a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Transcend is a valuable read that explores human potential and offers practical advice for personal growth.

    Who is the author of Transcend?

    The author of Transcend is Scott Barry Kaufman.

    What to read after Transcend?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Transcend, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven
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    • Buddhism – Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen
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