The Narcissist In Me

By Barry Nolan | Boston Magazine |

OKAY, SO I SPENT an entire story trying to "diagnose" Bill O’Reilly with narcissistic personality disorder. But what about me? I was famous once. And I’ve heard I have a decent-size ego. Should I be seeking any kind of professional help? To find out, I took the narcissism personal inventory quiz. The full quiz is below, with my a few of my more revealing responses included.

1. A. I have a natural talent for influencing people.
B. I am not good at influencing people.

2. A. Modesty doesn’t become me.
B. I am essentially a modest person.

3. A. I would do almost anything on a dare.
B. I tend to be a fairly cautious person.
(Barry: I answered: A. Narcissist! TV encourages this. Maybe because you know what a sorry wimp you will look like on camera if you won’t jump in the water with the sharks. I actually did a story once for Beyond Tomorrow about testing a new shark repellent. Scared the wiz out of me. Literally.)

4. A. When people compliment me I sometimes get embarrassed.
B. I know that I am good because everybody keeps telling me so.

5. A. The thought of ruling the world frightens the hell out of me.
B. If I ruled the world it would be a better place.

6. A. I can usually talk my way out of anything.
B. I try to accept the consequences of my behavior.
(I answered: A. Narcissist! We once landed the WBZ helicopter near the top of Tuckerman Ravine on Mount Washington, not realizing that we didn’t have the proper permissions. A park ranger came roaring up and wanted to arrest us all—he was understandably steaming. But we needed to get our story, and I was able to talk my way out of it. Talking your way out of things works best if you are very, very sorry. And very, very polite.)

7. A. I prefer to blend in with the crowd.
B. I like to be the center of attention.

8. A. I will be a success.
B. I am not too concerned about success.

9. A. I am no better or worse than most people.
B. I think I am a special person.

10. A. I am not sure if I would make a good leader.
B. I see myself as a good leader.

11. A. I am assertive.
B. I wish I were more assertive.
(I answered: B. Not a Narcissist! I am actually a really crappy agent for myself. If I had to make a living as a salesman, I would starve.)

12. A. I like to have authority over other people.
B. I don’t mind following orders.
(I answered: A. Narcissist! I started to answer this B, but my wife pointed out that I once got fired because I wasn’t willing to follow “orders.” In some areas of life, I can’t stand the idea of being told what to do. My wife is pretty smart. Me, not so much.)

13. A. I find it easy to manipulate people.
B. I don’t like it when I find myself manipulating people.

14. A. I insist upon getting the respect that is due me.
B. I usually get the respect that I deserve.

15. A. I don’t particularly like to show off my body.
B. I like to show off my body.

16. A. I can read people like a book.
B. People are sometimes hard to understand.

17. A. If I feel competent I am willing to take responsibility for making decisions.
B. I like to take responsibility for making decisions.

18. A. I just want to be reasonably happy.
B. I want to amount to something in the eyes of the world.

19. A. My body is nothing special.
B. I like to look at my body.
(I answered: A. Not a Narcissist!  I once interviewed Franco Columbu, one of the competitive body builders who stars in Pumping Iron, and asked him how long it would take for me to get in the same condition that he was in. His answer: “two generations.”)

20. A. I try not to be a show off.
B. I will usually show off if I get the chance.

21. A. I always know what I am doing.
B. Sometimes I am not sure of what I am doing.

22. A. I sometimes depend on people to get things done.
B. I rarely depend on anyone else to get things done.
(I answered: A. Not a Narcissist! Television is a highly collaborative line of work. If you don’t treat the people you are working with like they have something valuable to contribute, then you are going to make problems for yourself. And you may end up out of focus.)

23. A. Sometimes I tell good stories.
B. Everybody likes to hear my stories.

24. A. I expect a great deal from other people.
B. I like to do things for other people.

25. A. I will never be satisfied until I get all that I deserve.
B. I take my satisfactions as they come.

26. A. Compliments embarrass me.
B. I like to be complimented.

27. A. I have a strong will to power.
B. Power for its own sake doesn’t interest me.

28. A. I don’t care about new fads and fashions.
B. I like to start new fads and fashions.

29. A. I like to look at myself in the mirror.
B. I am not particularly interested in looking at myself in the mirror.

30. A. I really like to be the center of attention.
B. It makes me uncomfortable to be the center of attention.

31. A. I can live my life in any way I want to.
B. People can’t always live their lives in terms of what they want.

32. A. Being an authority doesn’t mean that much to me.
B. People always seem to recognize my authority.

33. A. I would prefer to be a leader.
B. It makes little difference to me whether I am a leader or not.

34. A. I am going to be a great person.
B. I hope I am going to be successful.

35. A. People sometimes believe what I tell them.
B. I can make anybody believe anything I want them to.

36. A. I am a born leader.
B. Leadership is a quality that takes a long time to develop.

37. A. I wish somebody would someday write my biography.
B. I don’t like people to pry into my life for any reason.

38. A. I get upset when people don’t notice how I look when I go out in public.
B. I don’t mind blending into the crowd when I go out in public.

39. A. I am more capable than other people.
B. There is a lot that I can learn from other people.

40. A. I am much like everybody else.
B. I am an extraordinary person.

See the next page for scoring details and Nolan’s results

SCORING KEY: Assign one point for each response that matches the key.

1, 2 and 3: A
4, 5: B
6: A
7: B
8: A
9, 10: B
11, 12, 13, 14: A
15: B
16: A
17, 18, 19, 20: B
21: A
22, 23: B
24, 25: A
26: B
27: A
28: B
29, 30, 31: A
32: B
33, 34: A
35. B
36, 37, 38, 39: A
40: B

Nolan’s Score: 17
Average Score: 15.3
Average Celebrity Score: 17.8

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