Book Review for “The Narcissist: A User’s Guide” Book Review for “The Narcissist: A User’s Guide” | Shades of Crimson

Book Review for “The Narcissist: A User’s Guide”

by Davina on February 2, 2010

What’s in it for you?

“…no matter what you think of narcissists, they are the ultimate revealers of our own weaknesses and insecurities. It may not seem like it, but once we learn more and can handle their destructive tendencies better, we become stronger…”

This quote from The Narcissist: A User’s Guide is why I believe this is a book that will raise the bar on personal development for its readers.

Written by Lori Hoeck from Think Like a Black Belt and Betsy Wuebker from Passing Thru, it is an engaging read that gives the reader a detailed look into the character of narcissists and how to negate their influence.

This book is FREE. Lori and Betsy have done a tremendous job putting this together and with support from Blue Sun Studio for the layout and design, it is a pleasure to read.

The narcissist exposed

After reading the strikingly candid personal accounts, the reader will learn to recognize what sets a narcissist apart from other people: a lack of empathy. To a narcissist, you are an extension of themselves.

This book is an eye-opening journey into the world of the narcissist, providing tips and strategies to recognize and deal with their manipulative tricks and emotional hijacking.

Lori and Betsy note that friends who sap your energy, family members who criticize and argue with you endlessly, or people who are emotionally demanding and unable to reciprocate are demonstrating narcissism.

A narcissist develops a false self to compensate for being wounded and scarred early in life. They view themselves as inferior and this false self is their “dysfunctional survival skill.”

This identity is vulnerable because it is false. To sustain it a narcissist becomes an expert at manipulating others to establish superiority.

They are experts at creating different personae to protect their image; a perpetuating cycle as a victim’s self-esteem suffers and the narcissist’s is empowered.

Awareness is a defence against narcissism*

This book increases the awareness of narcissism and in my opinion, that is the first step in dealing with it.

The Narcissist: A User’s Guide will show you:

How to identify a narcissist
Why they are so hard to deal with
How to set boundaries
When it’s time to leave
Why some people seem immune to narcissists
Plus, it provides additional resources and reading material

Who or what are you enabling?

Why do people stay in a relationship with a narcissist? Because there is something in it for them. They may have low self-esteem or have learned to cope with the perpetual cycle of drama. There is fear and denial.

“It’s easy to fall in love with what could be, as opposed to what is … but wanting something to be can mask what is.”

There is also familiarity. The narcissist wears a false persona and so does the victim. There is a false sense of security in the victim’s familiarity, and in the hope that one day things might change. Either way, each person is enabling the other to continue with the pattern.

Click to download your FREE copy.

Awareness is the first step and since the narcissist is blindly aware of their plight and you are not, you have the power. It’s up to you to make the choice. Will you fight against them or for yourself?


If you are involved with this type of person, The Narcissist: A User’s Guide is a key to becoming more aware; a key to opening the door to free yourself.

At the end of the day, this book is not about the narcissist; it’s about you living your life free from the influence of narcissism.

That’s what’s in it for you.

Further Reading

The Narcissist: A User’s Guide is Live, by Betsy Wuebker
Are You Ready to Free Yourself from Narcissists? by Lori Hoeck

*NOTE: Narcissistic personality disorder is relatively rare. According to Wikipedia “Lifetime prevalence is estimated at 1% in the general population and 2% to 16% in clinical populations.”

I don’t represent myself as an expert in narcissistic personality disorder, but I believe that a narcissist is less likely to change their behaviour despite all good intentions on the part of the other person. Whether a person is clinically diagnosed with narcissism or not, the bottom line is for each person to take responsibility for their actions and for the perceived “victim” to make the decision to stay in the relationship, or to leave.

It is my opinion that despite the rarity of narcissistic personality disorder, people can be quick to attach labels, judge behaviour and place the blame elsewhere. This book has increased awareness of the abusive and manipulative tendencies that a larger percentage of the population exhibit, even beyond narcissism. Being aware of the role we play in any relationship is imperative to co-existing with each other in a healthy manner.

Cover images & book design: Blue Sun Studio
Sand sculpture photo:
Davina Haisell

Related Posts with Thumbnails


Lori Hoeck February 2, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Hi Davina,
Thank you for an wonderful review!

I really like this thought of yours: “Will you fight against them or for yourself?” When the first realizations hit, and feelings of betrayal and anger erupt over how much you’ve given up of yourself to a narcissist, it’s hard to fight for yourself, but yes, Betsy and I hope this opens many doors…and minds…and hearts. The freedom, inner peace, and serenity on the other side of that door is worth the fight.
.-= Lori Hoeck´s last blog ..Dark side of narcissism abuses mind and body =-.

Lori Hoeck February 2, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Oh yes — awesome photo of yours! And perfect for this subject. Might have to borrow that for the next book!

patricia February 2, 2010 at 10:26 pm

a great review for a book that needs to get attention – didn’t Lori and Betsy do a great job…clear and clean explanations of the identification and process to fighting for one’s self.

I am not finished reading it yet…but this is something that needs an Internet tour…
.-= patricia´s last blog ..Vitamins =-.

Hilary February 3, 2010 at 1:19 am

Hi Davina .. well put – that’s what I gathered – “At the end of the day, this book is not about the narcissist; it’s about you living your life free from the influence of narcissism.” To me it appears the book will help us all – clarify certain areas and help us deal with various ‘meetings’ we might just meet casually, even if we’re not in one of those relationships. Interesting I’m looking forward to the download .. it’s here now.

Thanks for that excellent overview .. Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..The Wigmaker, “Cottonpolis” and the first factory =-.

Betsy Wuebker February 3, 2010 at 4:00 am

Hi Davina – Thank you for the wonderful review, and I love the photo!

Davina, per usual, you get to the heart of the matter when you speak of fighting for yourself. When I was more involved with my narcissist, I was resentful that the self-help resources I could access at the time sang the same tune: I would have to adapt around the behavior. Because I was so focused on the narci, I interpreted this to mean I’d have to just take it. This, more than anything, accelerated the downward spiral in my emotional health.

But acceptance and adaptation with a narcissist has to be different. Sure, you’re acknowledging they can’t change, but you’re also straight up about removing yourself from the harmful dynamic with boundaries and distance. And also, what I’ve learned from observing my own and other similar relationships, that it’s generally something bigger than oneself that triggers the will to leave or set terms. This could be children or other peripheral victims, a new purpose or calling that trumps the narcissistic interplay, or even a different relationship with qualities that are more powerful.

In any event, you’ve given us more to chew on. Thank you, Davina, so much for your unflagging support. It helps to get the word out so we all can do better.
.-= Betsy Wuebker´s last blog ..Laying the Keel =-.

Barb Hartsook February 3, 2010 at 9:41 am

Thank you! An excellent review of a book I want to read and share. And thank you Betsy and Lori.

Lori Hoeck February 3, 2010 at 10:13 am

Hi Patricia,
“fighting for one’s self.” Yes, indeed. Thank you for your kind words.

Hi Hillary,
Thank you for pointing out this! —
“At the end of the day, this book is not about the narcissist; it’s about you living your life free from the influence of narcissism.”

Hi Barb,

Hi Betsy,
Great thought — “…you’re acknowledging they can’t change, but you’re also straight up about removing yourself from the harmful dynamic…”

Davina February 3, 2010 at 11:01 am

Hi Lori.
You’re welcome. Yeah, that photo seemed to be a good pic for this post. This book really grabbed my attention. Have read it twice so far :-) You two did an amazing job.

When I first read it I noticed I was putting too much thought into who/what narcissism is (even in myself, cause I know we all have varied degrees in each of us). Needed to ensure that I didn’t live in fear of it or analyze too much, but rather to just be aware of it. That’s when I realized how it’s so much more about ourselves and where we are going, rather than what we are fighting against. I think that’s what Wayne Dyer’s quote “Everything you are against weakens you. Everything you are for empowers you” means.

Hi Patricia.
Yes, they did a fantastic job on this. Well written and informative. So much in so few pages. Really is an eye-opener.

Hi Hilary.
Hey, you have an avatar now — love it! For anyone who likes to study human behaviour this book will be a treat. For anyone else who is trapped in a life with a narcissist, this will be empowering.

Hi Betsy.
I love that photo too! You should have seen some of those sand sculptures. Tremendous works of art.

You’re welcome re the review — my pleasure! I knew it would be written when I read that quote on the last page that was featured at the beginning of this post. That’s when the light went on.

It’s sobering to think of you having to deal with this in your past Betsy. What tremendous strength you must have. I can imagine working on this book was no easy feat. But I also sense how powerful it must have been to look back on who you were then and realize who you’ve become.

Thank you for bringing this to light in our “community”. I know there are books upon books out there on this topic, but books that probably wouldn’t have crossed my path. Because of you and Lori a lot more people will become aware.

Hi Barb.
You’re welcome :-) Grab a coffee, settle on your couch and dive in. I know you’ll be glad you did. It’s a great read.

Morning Lori :-D

Wendi Kelly~Life's Little Inspirations February 3, 2010 at 11:41 am

Hi Davina,

Loved your Review and I agree so much with your perception that the book is helpful to give you tools to change YOURSELF. Nowhere in the book is there anything about changing the Narci, that would go much farther then the scope of a thirty page book.

Nor is there anything in this book that isn’t simply good advice in any relationship. It is sound advice that helps us to see our part in taking responsibility in all of our relationships in our thoughts, actions and choices.

I can see how it could benefit anyone who finds themselves to be the type of person who tends to be a people-pleaser more then they tend to stop and think of their own needs and boundaries. I loved it. It was a valuable work of advice for just about anyone.
.-= Wendi Kelly~Life’s Little Inspirations´s last blog ..Take Two In the Mirror =-.

vered | blogger for hire February 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm

“this book is not about the narcissist; it’s about you living your life free from the influence of narcissism.” Exactly. I read the book too and absolutely loved it.
.-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..Post Baby Body: Stop it Already! =-.

Davina February 3, 2010 at 11:49 pm

Hi Wendi.
Excellent point about people-pleasers and taking responsibility for our actions and choices. Plus, when we take responsibility we stop enabling other’s weaknesses. It’s a win-win. I agree; this book offers great advice for just about anyone.

Hi Vered.
“Absolutely loved it.” Yep. This is the only ebook in my year and a half of blogging that I’ve actually printed out and read away from the computer.

Barbara Swafford February 4, 2010 at 1:47 am

Hi Davina.

You’ve done an excellent job on this review. And yes, it’s about us, not “them”.

I just reread what I wrote and realized a narcissist might see the book and believe they’re the leading character. How disappointed they’ll be.

This book gets two thumbs up. Did I hear it will also be on the New York Times best seller list?
.-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..One, Or A Million =-.

Lori Hoeck February 4, 2010 at 11:57 am

Hi Wendi,
Isn’t Davina a great reviewer?

Thank you for your kind words. You’re right about people-pleasers needing to wake up to their own needs. I sure did! Thankfully both Betsy and I can express our experience and research in an ebook that can help that wake up process.

Hi Vered,
Thank you, Vered, for your comment and for your recommendation. It means a lot!

Hi Barbara,
Two thumbs up? Yes!!!
NYT bestseller? Right after Betsy goes on Oprah.

Hi Davina,
Again: Thank. You.

Betsy Wuebker February 4, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Thanks to All – it’s been a great launch. Your support is so appreciated! Um, Lori, I’ll give Harpo your number should they phone. :D
.-= Betsy Wuebker´s last blog ..The Narcissist: A User’s Guide is Live =-.

Davina February 4, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Hi Barbara.
Thank you. You know, I wonder if a narcissist would even see themselves as a narcissist, or admit it for that matter.

Jannie Funster February 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Even though as per Wikipedia, narcissism is pretty low in incidence, I am pretty-sure I did know a narcissist pretty well some years ago, a very insecure person who was into everso subtle put-downs. As I said to Betsy on her site, I am looking forward to reading this for Kelly’s sake to help her be aware of people with narcissistic behavior.

Davina, you have tickled my pique even deeper to read this!
.-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Gratitude =-.

Jim February 5, 2010 at 12:30 am

Great review Davina. This really hit home for me. I downloaded the e-book and have read it twice. Well written with lots of useful links. Great job Lori and Betsy.
I use to be in a relationship that I gave a lot of emotional support. I was fine with this. When I had career ending injury, I needed emotional support and received none. I just could not understand why she could offer no support. When this relationship ended. I always wondered what I did wrong to be treated this way. For some reason I felt guilty. This e-book has helped me understand that I was a victim and this was all about her. Now closure is guilt free.

Davina February 5, 2010 at 1:32 am

Hi Jannie.
What I wonder is how we really know who is or isn’t a narcissist and that we don’t fall into the trap of assigning a label every time someone acts out of turn. I guess the bottom line is that we are treated well and we treat others the same way.

I feel like I’m simplifying things, but even if someone isn’t a narcissist, if the relationship isn’t healthy that is enough to know. There are some helpful strategies in this book and my guess is that the stronger a narcissist a person is the harder it will be to get through to them. That’s what I’m holding onto. This book has definitely opened a door. I’d like to know more now… I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Hi Jim.
Thanks. You had an unfortunate circumstance turn both of your lives around. When change is forced on us it is harder to adjust to.

Not passing judgment here or taking sides, (nor do I know this person well enough), but I don’t necessarily believe that the situation might be “all about her”. Maybe she didn’t handle it well, maybe she is a narcissist, maybe you both reached an impasse. It’s hard to say. But they say there are no “accidents”. At any rate, I’m sorry to hear that things didn’t work out for the both of you. I’m glad that you feel closure now.

Chris Edgar February 7, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Hi Davina — I particularly liked what you said in the end — it’s important to take responsibility for our own role in creating “toxic relationships.” If what the other person is saying or doing is having us feel hurt, why are we not telling them how we feel? In what way are we enabling this relationship to fill our own needs, just like the person we are calling a narcissist? I get the sense those are important questions to ask.

Jannie Funster February 7, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I read it!! I LOVED it. I mean, it disturbed me a bit, as I realized I do know a narcissist, one I can easily now avoid, because a long-term pattern of their behavior demonstrates what’s in this article! Thankfully most people are very very good people, and I know that!!

.-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Gratitude =-.

Davina February 7, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Hi Chris.
I agree. It is important to acknowledge our feelings. And… it’s also important to check in with ourselves to see why we are feeling what we are feeling; to not make the other person the full reason for it. There are so many layers and it’s usually not about the first thing we think of. Usually, if we *are* feeling anything; if there is a ‘hook’, then we have something to look at.

Hi Jannie.
It was a bit disturbing. I began to wonder if *I* was a narcissist. Really makes you think doesn’t it? That’s why I think that if we are true to ourselves and take care of “us”, there is no need to point fingers or assign labels.

Jannie Funster February 11, 2010 at 10:39 am

That is so funny that you and I both questioned if we could be narcissists as we read this. We all probably have moments of it, guided by fear or ego. It’s good to wonder and question, as it is only ever ourselves we can change.

I too like what Chris says about taking responsibility for our own role in toxic relationships. That realization is a true gift we give ourselves!

Tony Single February 17, 2010 at 5:32 pm

I’m with Jannie… I questioned if I could be a narcissist too, but then I can be ridiculously hard on myself most of the time any way. My friends shake their heads about it on more than a few ocassions. Yup, I am damaged I’m afraid! :P

Excellent review. It achieved for me what all good reviews should… made me want to check out this book for myself! Waiting for the confirmation link now… :)
.-= Tony Single´s last blog ..The Ant and the Cicada =-.

Davina February 17, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Hi Jannie.
I think that’s testament to how much awareness this book encouraged. I’m wagering a guess that because we wonder or are concerned that we might be a narcissist that we aren’t. But what do I know? :)

Hi Tony.
Hey that’s great that you have been encouraged to read this book. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think. Yeah… some of us don’t need a narcissist in our lives to be hard on us… we’re experts at it. :-D

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