I got the three books I ordered from Amazon in the mail yesterday and started to read Sam’s book first because I really need to know about narcissism from the perspective of a narcissist. I said it before and I’ll say it again–it’s huge (but I like huge books).
So far (I finished the first chapter) I can tell he’s a very good writer (in a verbose, almost old fashioned way) and I think it’s going to be a fascinating read. He also gives credit where credit is due, and cites experts in the field and the DSM-IV-TR as sources.
But something stood out to me right away that screamed narcissist. At the back of the book, there are SIX PAGES of Vaknin’s accomplishments and qualifications (“Curriculum Vitae” he calls it–he is very pedantic too). SIX PAGES. I kid you not.
Not only that, there are four pages of testimonials. That’s right, FOUR PAGES. Who includes four pages of testimonials and six pages listing their qualifications? A narcissist, that’s who!
I have no problem reading a book about narcissism by a narcissist. The way I see it, it’s coming directly from the source, not from some detached expert with 8-10 years of higher education who doesn’t know what the disorder feels like. Sam KNOWS what it feels like, and it sounds like hell. Narcs are not happy people, I can assure you of that. They may SEEM happy, but they are not. They live their lives in sheer terror of their masks being stripped off.
That doesn’t mean we should feel sorry for them though. Miserable or not, they aren’t nice people, and don’t deserve our pity.
Here is an excerpt of what Paul Shirley, MSW, has to say about Sam’s book in the Prologue:
Sam’s writing on the subject pulsated with heat, it ran red with blood, it crackled with flames of passion, it cried out in agony. Sam KNEW narcissism like the fish knows the water and the eagle knows the air, because he had lived it. He described its small insignificant currents, he knew what it does when the weather changes, he knew exactly what happened to little frogs, snakes and crickets whenever they fall into the stream. Most psychologists only KNOW about narcissism. Sam UNDERSTANDS it.
After I finish his book, I’ll write up an in depth review. So far, a good read though.
You can also order his book here.