Beautiful Minds

Musings on the many paths to greatness.

Tucker Max's Psychological Profile

Psychological portrait of a narcissist

Many of you may know the blogger/writer Tucker Max as the self-proclaimed narcissist who writes about his drunken and sexual exploits as well as his epic fails. Perhaps you read I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell or Assholes Finish First, with some combination of guilty laughter and repulsion at his absurd (and for many, relatable) scenarios. Regardless of your reaction to Tucker, he, like all the rest of us, has a mixture of many different traits and his own ideas about what it takes to reach success.

I came across Tucker earlier this year when I was working on a cover story for Psychology Today about the allure of narcissists (see "The Peacock Paradox: How to Spot a Narcissist"). We had a lengthy chat over the phone about a wide range of topics (read that interview here). After that chat, I invited him to take a lengthy psychological battery of personality and reasoning tests, which he agreed to do. During one of his visits to New York City, we sat down and discussed his development, narcissism, mating, education, creativity, the importance of failure, the many different paths to success, and his test results. Some of his ideas and test results will shock you, some will not. Regardless, this interview highlights the complexity of narcissism and its different components, and paints a general portrait of a different kind of mind trying to find his best fit in this world.

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© 2011 by Scott Barry Kaufman.

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Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D. is a cognitive psychologist at NYU interested in intelligence and creativity development. He is the author of forthcoming Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined.

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