Tag Archives: revew: non-fiction

The Psychology of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo- Robin S. Rosenberg et al.

Image from Amazon

Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Lisbeth Salander, heroine of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, is one of the most compelling, complex characters of our time. Is she an avenging angel? A dangerous outlaw? What makes Salander tick, and why is our response to her—and to Larsson’s Millennium trilogy—so strong?

In The Psychology of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 19 psychologists and psychiatrists attempt to do what even expert investigator Mikael Blomkvist could not: understand Lisbeth Salander.

• What does Lisbeth’s infamous dragon tattoo really say about her?
• Why is Lisbeth so drawn to Mikael, and what would they both need to do to make a relationship work?
• How do we explain men like Martin Vanger, Nils Bjurman, and Alexander Zalachenko? Is Lisbeth just as sexist and as psychopathic as they are?
• What is it about Lisbeth that allows her to survive, even thrive, under extraordinary conditions?
• How is Lisbeth like a Goth-punk Rorschach test? And what do we learn about ourselves from what we see in her?


There are quite a lot of books like this around but I’ve never read one before, mainly because I thought they might be a bit to simplistic. The whole idea behind these types of books I did always like. For someone who has little knowledge of psychology it can be a good way of getting across information in a way that’s fun to read and easy to understand. Because psychological concepts and ideas can be related to characters whom the reader is already familiar with it makes it easy to put these ideas into a context.

Sometimes I found this was actually carried off really well. The writing was generally at a level which was easy to read and understand and quite a broad array of topics were covered. I found that the social psychology sections were particularaly well written, especially the sections on goths and nerds.

It seemed however that the further I got into the book the less it seemed to interest me. Possibly it was just a bit too long, but I did find later articles repeated on what some of the earlier articles had said. I also found that a few of the chapters didn’t really link that well to Lisabeth, I mean can we really call her a superhero? The further I got through the book as well the more chapters I found that read closer to articles you would expect to find psychological journals, it was almost as if articles already written had been adapted for the book. I could still understand them but found them rather dry to read.

There was also one particular article which went overboard with making itself simple in that it seemed to forget certain principles. It used wikipedia as a genuine research tool, something I wouldn’t have even been allowed to do when studying for my a-levels, it’s really not a reliable enough source. Also the writer wasn’t critical of the research they used in the article which had at least one rather obvious hole.

For someone with little or no understanding of psychology this may be a good place to start but I would recommend reading it broken up with another book, oh and wait until you have read all the books!


Buy it:
Kindle (£7.21)
Paperback (£7.59)

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Filed under non-fiction review, psychology (non-fiction)