Better Than Normal by Dale Archer

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Archer tends to rely too heavily on the experiences of people he has treated or known, and on his own personality and experiences
-Publishers Weekly


A New York Times Bestseller

A groundbreaking new view of human psychology that shows how eight key traits of human behavior—long perceived as liabilities—can be important hidden strengths.

What if the inattentiveness that makes school or work a challenge holds the secret to your future as an entrepreneur? What if the shyness in groups that you hate is the source of deep compassion for others? What if the anxiety and nervousness you often feel can actually help energize you? What if the mood swings you sometimes experience can
be the source of tremendous creativity?

Renowned psychiatrist and popular on-air personality Dr. Dale Archer believes that labels for behavior like “ADHD,” “bipolar,” and “OCD” are normal human qualities—and contends that we all experience these and other psychological traits to some extent, yet fail to leverage the significant advantages they can offer. Worse, we stigmatize one another for these prevalent, widely shared aspects of our personalities.

In Better Than Normal, Dr. Archer offers an empowering framework for redefining what constitutes mental health. Drawing on his twenty years of clinical experience, he describes eight traits of human behavior—heretofore known
only as psychiatric diagnoses. Each of these occurs along a continuum rather than as a simple on-off switch (where “off ” means we’re fine, and “on” means we’ve got a problem). These are the aspects of our personality that we worry about the most, but these are also the very things that make us distinctive and different.

According to Dr. Archer, each of us has a unique personality that emerges from our hardwired genetics and individual life experiences. With Better Than Normal, you can map your individual characteristics by taking the eight trait
self-assessment quiz and see how what makes you different can indeed make you exceptional. Filled with engaging anecdotes and practical tools to help you capitalize on your unique characteristics, Better Than Normal offers a new and liberating way to look at ourselves and others.


About Dale Archer

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DALE ARCHER, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist and distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, founded the Institute for Neuropsychiatry and the psychiatric program at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. He also runs, a free advice website.
Published March 13, 2012 by Harmony. 256 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Professional & Technical, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Apr 01 2012
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Better Than Normal
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2


Below average
Jul 25 2012

There are some fresh, modern and mildly amusing associations here; however, contrasting self-assessed symptoms of a disorder as significant as schizophrenia with the idiom of “magical thinking” will surely raise eyebrows.

Read Full Review of Better Than Normal | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Below average
Dec 19 2011

Archer tends to rely too heavily on the experiences of people he has treated or known, and on his own personality and experiences

Read Full Review of Better Than Normal | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Psych Central

Reviewed by Twila Klein

Whether you are the one diagnosed with a mental disorder or you are treating someone with such a diagnosis, the treatment approach in Better Than Normal could be the catalyst for beneficial change in the lives of many.

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Reviewed by Vera Dordick on Mar 27 2012

Archer rightly points out that serious mental disorders are no laughing matter and need to be treated. But. . .those personality traits and quirks that make us who we are – different and creative – are to be embraced as assets.

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