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Better Than Normal

How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


A New York Times Bestseller

A groundbreaking new view of human psychology that shows how eight key traits of human behavior—long perceived as liabilities—can be important hidden strengths.

What if the inattentiveness that makes school or work a challenge holds the secret to your future as an entrepreneur? What if the shyness in groups that you hate is the source of deep compassion for others? What if the anxiety and nervousness you often feel can actually help energize you? What if the mood swings you sometimes experience can
be the source of tremendous creativity?

Renowned psychiatrist and popular on-air personality Dr. Dale Archer believes that labels for behavior like “ADHD,” “bipolar,” and “OCD” are normal human qualities—and contends that we all experience these and other psychological traits to some extent, yet fail to leverage the significant advantages they can offer. Worse, we stigmatize one another for these prevalent, widely shared aspects of our personalities.

In Better Than Normal, Dr. Archer offers an empowering framework for redefining what constitutes mental health. Drawing on his twenty years of clinical experience, he describes eight traits of human behavior—heretofore known
only as psychiatric diagnoses. Each of these occurs along a continuum rather than as a simple on-off switch (where “off ” means we’re fine, and “on” means we’ve got a problem). These are the aspects of our personality that we worry about the most, but these are also the very things that make us distinctive and different.

According to Dr. Archer, each of us has a unique personality that emerges from our hardwired genetics and individual life experiences. With Better Than Normal, you can map your individual characteristics by taking the eight trait
self-assessment quiz and see how what makes you different can indeed make you exceptional. Filled with engaging anecdotes and practical tools to help you capitalize on your unique characteristics, Better Than Normal offers a new and liberating way to look at ourselves and others.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 19, 2011 – Concerned about the mental health trend of “Overevaluating. Overdiagnosing. And most important of all, overmedicating,” psychiatrist Archer identifies the dominant trait of each of eight disorders and says they exist on a spectrum in everyone, from absent to superdominant. He argues that if someone exhibits a trait associated with a disorder but the trait is not “superdominant” and is properly managed, it can be seen as a strength, not a mental disorder, and may make the person “better than normal.” For instance, someone may be adventurous, hence restless and easily bored, but they do not have ADHD. Similarly, someone may be a perfectionist and not have obsessive-compulsive disorder. Other disorders he covers include narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic personality, and schizophrenia. As the title suggests, this is an upbeat book. Archer tends to rely too heavily on the experiences of people he has treated or known, and on his own personality and experiences (“Last week I found myself in Los Angeles, celebrating the Oscars.... Next, it’s on to New York, where I’m... appearing on television to talk about Charlie Sheen.” With his fresh approach and some interesting ideas, Archer normalizes personality characteristics too often seen as pathological. But his book covers too much in an often cursory, anecdotal manner.

Customer Reviews

Only read the sample

From the sample, it seems like an interesting read however as a professional medical student, I know ADHD is a "disease" made up by doctors who were paid by drug companies in the 90s. Very sad. I also know that psycho-STUMULANT drugs like Adderall can't truthfully treat ADHD patients who need the opposite of a stimulant. The author mentioned this in the sample and thus lost all credibility for me.

Spare yourself

An arrogant and uninformed pop-psych justification of his own narcissism; an overworked defense mechanism excusing him from much needed therapy.

Better Than Normal
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Psychology
  • Published: Mar 13, 2012
  • Publisher: Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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