Popular by Mitch Prinstein

Review published on June 30, 2017.

This is one of those reference books that is very easy to read, keeps to the point and avoids unnecessary waffle, making it a very refined and starkly interesting book about popularity. It is broken down into three main parts: types of popularity, ways to change our lives and a ‘so what do we do next’ component.

As a clinical psychologist, Prinstein conveys how he has been drawn to peer relationships since a youngster and has for years collected many vignettes. Indeed, he starts to reflect back to 1977 and school playground days to convey how some children become popular and are the centre of attention, whilst despite the best efforts of others, there are those who are simply ignored.

Essentially, we all fit into a social hierarchy, most in the middle amongst other similar peer cliques. The degree of our social popularity draws strong emotional recollection and shapes who we become as adults, thus impacting upon our esteem, insecurities and happiness. Most of us never overcome our desire to be more popular; however, being the most popular isn’t necessarily always a good thing.

There is a correlation between being popular in childhood and having happier relationships as adults. To this end, the book offers a framework to understand and consider prior experiences, present choices and also some means to recognise/change the less fruitful repeated behaviours. There is a fascinating explanation of the difference between popularity being a means of status; featured by dominance and influence with that of likeability. It immediately enables you determine which friends and acquaintances fall into these categories and recognising the sway of likeability in general.

The impact of whether we were accepted, rejected, neglected, average or controversial as children is related to such as the way we use social media today, so that you can spot status versus likeability styled posts. The impact of these experiences and how they impact on our relationships as adults and our parenting skills is also touched upon, so that all in all it is a fascinating, relevant and applicable books that most will probably feel able to read in one sitting.

Sara Garland 5/5

Popular by Mitch Prinstein
Vermilion 9781785040535 hbk Jun 2017

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