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Why You Are Who You Are

Investigations into Human Personality
Narrated by: Mark Leary
Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (79 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

To understand the roots of personality is to understand motivations and influences that shape behavior, which in turn reflect how you deal with the opportunities and challenges of everyday life. That's the focus of these exciting 24 lectures, in which you examine the differences in people's personalities, where these differences come from, and how they shape our lives.

Drawing on information gleaned from psychology, neuroscience, and genetics, Professor Leary opens the door to understanding how personality works and why. Throughout his illuminating lectures, five important personality traits come into focus, traits that form the foundation of how psychologists approach the topic of personality: extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness.

Combining psychology with neuroscience and behavioral genetics, this exploration will open your eyes to the myriad ways our traits, motives, emotions, beliefs, and values are shaped by things like our genes, environment, experiences, and evolutionary history. Why is it so hard to change our behavior? Why do people develop different values and morals? Does personality change as we age? Is personality passed down through genes?

Designed as a fascinating, accessible scientific inquiry, these lectures will have you thinking about personality in a way that enriches your understanding of the complex psychological processes that make you who you are.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 The Teaching Company, LLC; 2018 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars

Mostly classification, less causation.

The course is good but deals more with personality classification than with causes of personality and not at all with ways of improving personality.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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A GREAT course!

This course via e-book was certainly one of THE best, most helpful and informative, course, I ever had until now in term of my personal growth and understanding of myself as well as of people's behaviour, in general. For all this, I am greatful to professor Leary for such opportunity and look for to profit from my next course online as much as I have through this one. Last, I'd recommend it without a tiny doubt. Enjoy it, folks (A smile).

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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great listen

great insight into personality differences, why they manifest, and how they shape people and cultures.
very well structured in terms of starting with broader, simpler ideas, then taking those concepts to a deeper understanding.
thank you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great course indeed

It gives a through insight on potential reasons behind similarities and differences between individuals and how the personality get shaped through the life span of a person. Particularly interesting if someone wants to learn about the individual aspect of diversity.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very informative subject

This was a very well done course with some really great insight on human personality. I can say that it dragged on a bit towards the end and felt a bit repetitive, but because the subject matter was so dense, it was worth hearing some of it repeated. I'll likely listen to this again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Another great course

I have picked up a couple of the Great Courses  now and found them to be very high quality. This delivers as well. It provides a lot of the latest research on the differences in people's personalities. Mark Leary is an excellent presenter as well. #Audible1

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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enjoyed this book

I listened to this book in just a couple of days. Reread worthy.
Well done. Very insightful.

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Great listen

Very informative . Easy to understand. Puts a lot of things into perspective. Would def recommend

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very interesting information clearly delivered!<br />

loved the lecture format of this book. the narrator was great and kept my attention the whole time.

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Excellent Reading

I really enjoyed this book and found it full of useful information. Mark, or whoever was the reader, spoke with great clarity and with compelling diction. Much of the content was not new but there were also new insights which I appreciated.
Roy Godber

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  • Dan
  • 2018-03-30

Highly informative - thought provoking insights

Dr. Leary outlines scholarly approaches to human personality in an easy to engage with manner. What could be more complex than human behavior, and yet he offers the foundation concepts in ways that I could understand without any real background in modern psychology. When I consider courses like this I often have a couple of concerns: 1) will the material be too watered down i.e., lack the intellectual substance to be useful, or 2) will the lecturer get into too much detail about their favorite studies, or use too much lab jargon and acronyms at the expense of clear insights. This course has plenty of substance, just the right amount of study summaries to sustain credibility, and the jargon is well explained but not over explained. Finally, the material is presented in a way that I could retain most of the concepts. I have already shared a number of insights with friends and family. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in investigating the dynamics of personality, or looking for more insight into their own behavior.

153 of 156 people found this review helpful

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  • Happy Husband
  • 2018-05-15

As an addict, I listened to this book. Very Helpfu

I've struggled with meth addiction for nearly 13 years and have sought so many ways to kick my habbit. I wasn't a daily user but once a month, I'd go on a binge. it affected my family, work, and myself. After listening to this book twice, it helped me understand more how some personality types are more prone to drug abuse. Many of the categorically specific traits, habits, and inclinations hit home for me and I did an aweful lot of self reflecting - Trying to unburry the true me who got lost. thanks for the awesome book. I hope next time you can do something specific for substance abuse. We're out here looking for hope.

220 of 225 people found this review helpful

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  • Joseph
  • 2018-03-21

One of the Best in the Great Courses Library

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Along with "Nutrition Made Clear" and "Customs of the World," this is one of the three best courses I have taken on TGC. As is the case with the former two courses, "Why You are Who You Are" provides with you with detailed, evidence-based information about a topic that pervades everyday life but for which general information and everyday knowledge is, at best, unreliable. This course definitely helps you to understand the world around you far better, both in an academic and practical sense. Dr. Leary is an excellent presenter as well.

57 of 59 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathy in CA
  • 2018-06-29

Why Did I Do That, Anyway?

This is a good one, folks. It explains the reasons for many human behaviors, your own unique behaviors and those of other people whom you just can't fathom. Although it covered areas of which I was quite familiar (Personality Disorders), the Professor covered plenty of information that was new to me, enough to make me want to listen to the audiobook a second time to fix it into my brain!

The narration was just fine as it is in most of these Great Courses. It is a winner in my book!

55 of 57 people found this review helpful

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  • Philip Greenspun
  • 2018-10-08

Great for workers

Will help you understand why some people are not conscientious. That's a personality trait that is heritable. The professor also can explain a lot of political disagrees with personality characteristics that are primarily genetic. There is not much practical advice in here other than perhaps choose your partner carefully if you're going to have children (and also don't expect people to change!).

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Hendrick Mcdonald
  • 2018-03-07

One of the better Psych series

This is one of the better psychology oriented THC courses I’ve heard. The speaker grows they the big five trainers and then goes thru how those trainers display themselves in different social settings: leadership, attachment, authority, etc. The lecture on personality disorders was also particularly interesting.

41 of 46 people found this review helpful

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  • B. Gholami
  • 2018-05-10

Nothing about “why”

This book is about tools for measurement of human behavior. Not a bad one at that, but nothing about explaining why the behaviors occur. Read “Behave” by Robert Sapolsky, Instead.

28 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Glen I.
  • 2018-08-17

Interesting material, but word of caution...

The author's political biases and agenda are patently clear even as he attempts to convince of his neutrality. He applies all the typically appealing character traits to one political party and the less favorable behaviors to the other. The preachy political statements were boring, and the thinly veiled references to current politicians were annoying.
I have enjoyed previously published courses by Prof Leary and would have found this more useful if not distracted by these unnecessary inferences.

156 of 189 people found this review helpful

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  • Jade
  • 2018-10-06

Good at first, then inaccurate

As a mental health professional, I'm always looking for books to expand my working knowledge regarding my specialty. This book starts out strong with scientifically-based material presented in an engaging manner. By the point of personality disorders, however, I couldn't listen anymore as it had become a judgmental, pseudo-scientific tirade. Most importantly, it was pointedly wrong in the material presented. I can't speak to the direction the book took after this point because it became unlistenable.

54 of 68 people found this review helpful

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  • Marco
  • 2018-07-10

don't waste your time, read articles online

I had to stop. It's like it was written by captain obvious.

There are some very informative parts, but when he's about to hit the meat of the subject, he drifts off. Much of what he says can be condensed to 40 sec from 5 min, which left me rather frustrated wanting to yell out; "yeah I get it already!"

look up the subjects he talks about online. A good article that's about a 10 min read will be more informative than half an hour of his yammering

44 of 57 people found this review helpful

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  • Labetoulle T.
  • 2018-09-06

Excellente introduction à la personnalité

Très intéressant, cependant certains points n'étaient pas à jour notamment avec les critiques actuelles sur certaines expérimentations ( expérience du shamallow )
La voix est super !