Take Pride by Jessica Tracy

In this book a leading psychologist reveals how the emotion of pride has shaped our minds and our culture, and shows how we can harness its power. Long understood to be a powerful drive in the self-conscious human animal, it has been classed as first in the list of seven deadly sins by religion. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins)

Why did Paul Gauguin abandon middle-class life to follow the path of a starving artist? What explains the massive success of Steve Jobs, a man with great ideas but weak programming skills and a questionable managerial style? How did Dean Karnazes – the famed ‘Ultramarathon Man’ – transform himself from a directionless desk jockey into an extreme athlete who once ran fifty marathons in fifty days?

Jessica Tracy (http://psych.ubc.ca/persons/jessica-tracy/) argues in Take Pride that each of these high achievers has been motivated by the often maligned emotion of pride. Its dark, hubristic side is well known, but Tracy shows that pride is also essential for helping us become our best, brightest selves. By making us care about how others see us and how we see ourselves, pride makes us strive for excellence. In the right doses and the right contexts, it has boosted creativity, motivated altruism, and conferred power and prestige on those who display it.

Pride can also compel acts of apparent insanity and spectacular self-destruction. It can cause some people to seek status not through hard work but through intimidation, deception, and self-aggrandizement. So the author strives to keep the distinction clear between two types of pride. The task is to avoid the bad kind while nurturing the good. There may be a chance yet that we can make this double-edged emotion serve us, rather than the other way around.

Jessica Tracy is Professor of Psychology in the University of British Columbia.

Enquire at your local library. Check if this important title is in stock by consulting the online catalogue at https://www.sllclibrary.co.uk/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/MSGTRN/OPAC/BSEARCH

240 pages in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

First published 2016

ISBN   978-0544273177

Professor Jessica Tracy

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