Do you realize that of the first twenty-three astronauts in space, twenty-one were firstborns and the other two were the only child in their family?
Are you aware that many successful entrepreneurs are middle children?
Is it any surprise that most comedians are the youngest child in their family?
Kevin Leman calls himself America’s top “pop” birth order psychologist: the book relies on anecdotes and personal experience more than serious research. But birth order makes sense for a vast majority of people most of the time, because there is no greater influence on a young child growing up than his or her family.
(If you want the serious research, the deliberate practice literature is full of findings on birth order.)
Dependable firstborns are more likely to be presidents and pastors. Middle children are the trailblazers and mediators. The babies of the family are renowned for being charming, engaging, and manipulative.
Understanding birth order (and its variables, because it’s not quite as straightforward as it sounds) can help you get to know yourself better, and when you do, you can improve the relationships that count.
First borns and functional firsts are most likely to love The Birth Order Book, but whether that’s because of their nature or because their type is covered so extensively within its pages is yet to be determined. (I’m a firstborn, and I love this book.)
You’ll know you’ve become a believer when you find yourself saying things like, “I can’t help myself–I’m a firstborn!” or “She’s the baby of the family–isn’t it obvious?)
Have you read The Birth Order Book or heard the theories? Or: What’s your place in the family line and how does it explain why you are the way you are?
P.S. I wrote a book about personality! In Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, I walk you through 7 different frameworks, explaining the basics in a way you can actually understand, sharing personal stories about how what I learned made a difference in my life, and showing you how it could make a difference in yours, as well.
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This is the second post in a series, 31 Days of Cult Classics. You can click here to see a list of all the posts, updated everyday in the month of October.