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Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality by Samuel Barondes

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Seven. Putting It All Together

I opened this book with a famous phrase:

Every man is, in certain respects

(a) like all other men,

(b) like some other men,

(c) like no other man.

The phrase is by Clyde Kluckhohn, an anthropologist, and Henry Murray, a pioneering personality researcher,1 who wrote it in 1953, a time when man was a widely used synonym for person. Their words continue to remind me that understanding someone comes by focusing not only on his or her differences from others, but also on what we share.

Although this may seem obvious, our shared humanity is the first thing we need to acknowledge when trying to make sense of a person. Each of us has a human genome and a human brain. Each of us was once a small child. Each of us was raised ...

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