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Rating: 3.4 / 5.0 (34 votes)

Released: 1996-10-08

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Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives by Frank J. Sulloway


A landmark work that illuminates the crucial influence of birth order on personality and the far-reaching consequences of sibling competition–not only within individual families but on society as a whole.

At the heart of this pioneering inquiry is a fundamental insight into human behavior: that the personalities of first-born children differ from those of their younger siblings not because of cultural differences but because common human instincts play themselves out differently in the universal quest for parental favor. Frank Sulloway's most important finding–that eldest children support the status quo and youngest children rebel against it–provides the foundation for startling analyses of the Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution, and Darwin's theory of evolution.

Concerning first borns–Did you know that:
First borns are more frequently defenders of the status quo, more accepting of parental or conventional values.
In their support of authority they will use either brains or violence to resolve conflict.
More first borns–Albert Einstein, Ivan Pavlov, Linus Pauling–are Nobel Laureates.
First borns–like Stalin, Robespierre, and Carlos the Jackal–will not shy away from tactics of terrorism.

Concerning later-borns–Did you know that:
Most later-borns more frequently turn over convention and champion reform, revolution and upheaval.
Later-borns have been the catalysts of change supporting free speech, free worship, civil rights and women's rights.
They are the creators of revolutionary ideas–Voltaire, Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson– were all later-borns.
Those who pressed for the absolution of slavery–Frederick Douglass, John Brown and Harriet Tubman–were all later-borns.

Born to Rebel is a path-breaking study, a solid confirmation of the belief that a scientific, empirical basis exists for our understanding of human behavior.

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Editorial Review

This groundbreaking book takes on the influence of birth order in personalities and offers some surprising conclusions. Frank J. Sulloway, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has undertaken the first comprehensive study of birth order in determining personality and social outlook. He produces overwhelming evidence that, because of the evolutionary hierarchy in families, first-born children are more likely to be conformists while the later-borns tend to be more creative and more likely to reject the status quo. He documents just how different siblings are from each another–a person tends to have more in common with any randomly chosen person of their own age than with a sibling–and explains why sibling differences occur. The book offers new insights into the determining factors of who we are and who our children will be, and it is unlike any research yet published.

Book Details

Author: Frank J. Sulloway Publisher: Pantheon Binding: Hardcover Language: English Pages: 653

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