A leading psychologist examines how our popularity affects our success, our relationships, and our happiness - and why we don't always want to be the most popular.
No matter how old you are, there's a good chance that the word popular immediately transports you back to your teenage years. Most of us can easily recall the adolescent social cliques, the high school pecking order, and which of our peers stood out as the most or the least popular teens we knew. Even as adults we all still remember exactly where we stood in the high school social hierarchy, and the powerful emotions associated with our status persist decades later. This may be for good reason.
Popular examines why popularity plays such a key role in our development and, ultimately, how it still influences our happiness and success today. In many ways - some even beyond our conscious awareness - those old dynamics of our youth continue to play out in every business meeting, every social gathering, our personal relationships, and even how we raise our children. Our popularity even affects our DNA, our health, and our mortality in fascinating ways we never previously realized. More than childhood intelligence, family background, or prior psychological issues, research indicates that it's how popular we were in our early years that predicts how successful and how happy we grow up to be.
But it's not always the conventionally popular people who fare the best, for the simple reason that there is more than one type of popularity - and many of us still long for the wrong one. As children we strive to be likable, which can offer real benefits not only on the playground but throughout our lives. In adolescence, though, a new form of popularity emerges, and we suddenly begin to care about status, power, influence, and notoriety - research indicates that this type of popularity hurts us more than we realize.
Realistically, we can't ignore our natural human social impulses to be included and well regarded by others, but we can learn how to manage those impulses in beneficial and gratifying ways. Popular relies on the latest research in psychology and neuroscience to help us make the wisest choices for ourselves and for our children, so we may all pursue more meaningful, satisfying, and rewarding relationships.
"It turns out that there's more to popularity than status. This book didn't just capture my attention; it also helped me understand why I wasn't cool as a kid, why I'm still not today, and why I shouldn't care." (Adam Grant,
New York Times best-selling author of
Give and Take)
"Fascinating, well-researched, and accessible, Popular will make you rethink every social interaction you've had since high school, and help you find greater success and happiness. Read this book, and you'll never think about popularity the same way again." (Susan Cain, New York Times best-selling author of Quiet)
"Is popularity overrated? Maybe not - especially if it's the right kind of popularity that we seek. In Mitch Prinstein's fascinating book, you'll learn all about the benefits and pitfalls of being popular and how to make popularity work for you in business and in life." (Daniel H. Pink, New York Times best-selling author of To Sell Is Human and Drive)
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