The Discovery of the Unconscious – Henri Ellenberger
Ellenberger does an incredible job at showing us the philosophical and psychological roots of these various psychoanalytic schools. Particularly enlightening was the influence that Nietzsche had on all of them. He also highlights the shortcomings of psychoanalysis
Civilization and its Discontents – Sigmund Freud
The price we pay for the advancement of civilization is the heightening sense of guilt that we experience. In Civilization and its Discontents, Freud explains why we feel guilt, where it came from, and what consequences it has had on the individual.
Totem and Taboo – Sigmund Freud
Totem and Taboo by Sigmund Freud is a book on the causes of neurosis, how it is dealt with, and how this forms the foundation of all societies and cultures.
The Undiscovered Self – Carl Jung
Jung opens with a question. “What does the future bring?“The Undiscovered Self is a book that is written in a time of apocalyptic, dystopic visions, the iron curtain and the great division of the East and the West.
Modern Man’s Search for a Soul – Carl Jung
Jung makes a powerful case against the scientific rationalist. He elegantly dismantles the false certitude behind our modern scientific presuppositions, and asks us to approach deep, difficult problems with an open mind. And most importantly, he asks us to not dismiss ancient or primordial people, for they are not less rational than we are, but only start from different presuppositions.
Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious – Carl Jung
Jung departed from Freud’s theories about the unconscious because he believed that the unconscious contents of the psyche consisted of inherited knowledge of archetypes, in addition to contents that were derived from the individual’s conscious life. In Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Jung explains the reasons for his departure, and gives us a detailed discussion of the shadow, the anima, the animus, and the process of individuation.
Man and His Symbols – Carl Jung
Initially, Freud saw the unconscious as the place that holds repressed memories or unwanted desires. Many of the best ideas by artists, philosophers, scientists are sudden manifestations of the unconscious. But Jung sees the psyche as representative of the Self as well.
Personality: The Individuation Process – C.A Meier
C.A Meier, the author of Personality – The Individuation Process, was a Jungian psychiatrist – in this book, he writes about Jung’s work into personality types and the process of individuation, including thorough explanations and origins of ideas like the anima, animus, the shadow, and persona.
Owning Your Own Shadow – Robert A. Johnson
Robert Johnson starts with Jung’s favorite story. Without effort or limit, the water of life wanted to make itself known on earth, so it appeared through an artesian well. People drank this magic water and were nourished, but eventually, they chose to escape this Edenic state.
Individuation and Narcissism – Mario Jacoby
In Individuation and Narcissism, Mario Jacoby starts by recalling Ovid’s tale of Narcissus, he then explains the differences between the great psychoanalytic thinkers of our time, including Freud, Jung, Neumann, Kohut – particularly their thoughts on narcissism, why it develops, and the signs that it manifests. In addition, there is a thorough discussion of the process of individuation.
Understanding Human Nature – Alfred Adler
Adler was not interested in theories of the unconscious (psychoanalysis) the way Freud and Jung were. Instead, he was concerned with the practical world, particularly the social world.
On Becoming a Person – Carl Rogers
A Way of Being – Carl Rogers
The natural urge is to impose one’s own ideas, to display one’s intellectual dominance, to cater to one’s own ego at the expense of progress. And even though we have long known that this is not effective, it is still pervasive.
Motivation and Personality – Abraham Maslow
The central project of Maslow in Motivation and Personality is to study the psychology of healthy minded people. Thus far, psychology has been restricted to the study of mental illnesses but this exclusive focus does not inspire hope or optimism in either the layman or the scientist.
The Neurotic Personality of Our Time – Karen Horney
One needs to compete with others to acquire power or wealth in society. Competition is difficult on each person, but especially on the neurotic.
A Culture of Narcissism – Christopher Lasch
The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch was published in 1979. Lasch argues that the “me generation” that Tom Wolfe previously celebrated, was in fact, dysfunctional, empty, and worthy of contempt.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
Many introverts try to deny their true nature. They won’t be noticed as introverts in their workspaces, schools, or neighborhoods. They will lie to themselves about who they are – until a major life event hits them. They get fired from a job they hated or inherit money that allows them to have enough freedom to what they wanted with their time. This leads them to revert back to their true natures, to accept who they always were.
Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise – Anders Ericsson
Malcolm Gladwell popularized the 10,000-hour rule that states that by practicing for roughly that amount of time on any skill, you will become an expert. The original researcher Gladwell drew his conclusions from is the author of Peak, Anders Ericsson. In it, Ericsson describes what it really takes to become an expert.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi accomplishes two tasks through this brilliant book. The first is that he redefines the concept of happiness, and the second is to show you how to achieve this state of happiness – Flow. No matter who you are whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, the CEO of a company or a manual laborer, an eighteen-year-old male, or a sixty-year-old female – this book provides a more robust, pragmatic path to happiness.
The Time Paradox – Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd
The Time Paradox is a book by Phillip Zimbardo and John Boyd that explains how our attitudes towards time shapes the way we live our lives, who we become, and what we value.
A book by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths that borrows from psychology, philosophy, mathematics, and computer science to better inform us of how we make decisions, and how we ought to make them if we’d like to be as efficient as the best algorithms we have.
In the Laws of Human Nature, we learn about different theories that inform human behavior. Greene cites numerous psychologists to make his arguments. But to appreciate this style, it is better to overlook the fact that some theories are contradictory.
Some people are master manipulators, but they are a minority. Most people are amateurs manipulators, and don’t do it pathologically. The problem is that it only takes one encounter with a master manipulator to ruin your life. When you inevitably come across a truly malicious and Machiavellian human being, and you are not educated in the ways of deception, then you are completely defenseless, especially if you are not Machiavellian yourself.
The Art of Seduction is a book that teaches you how to manipulate human psychology to your favor. Ultimately, some of us want to be manipulated and seduced, there is something deeply satisfying when it comes to surrendering. But there is also joy in the pursuit, in understanding how to get your target to fall for your traps, and it is often the case that the more difficult the challenge, the more worthwhile it is.
Models by Mark Manson is a book about attracting women. While every topic around the dating experience is covered, the main message of the book is simple…
Mastery by Robert Greene is a book that outlines the path to greatness. Greene tells the stories of many different geniuses of the past (Goethe, Da Vinci, Einstein) and distills the most important lessons we ought to remember. After each story, Greene explains the laws the masters were following in the story consciously or not – and how we could use them to help ourselves in the struggle towards mastery of our own passions.
10% Happier is a book about Dan Harris and his discovery of meditation. He takes us through his personal journey, starting with his addiction to the rush of adrenaline from covering live news events in dangerous locations to his subsequent breakdown on live TV as a news anchor.
Peterson succeeds in creating a deceptively simple summary of what he has learned from life. Through a rich interplay of philosophical, historical, psychological, theological, and personal anecdotes, Peterson succeeds in buttressing his commandments with intelligible explanations that are accessible to anyone.
Myths are a mechanism we can use to find out who we are, and what we value implicitly. It teaches us about the stages of life, and how to pass through them successfully – while avoiding the psychological dangers along the way.
The premise of Games People Play by Eric Berne is that human beings as children are imbued with certain rituals, needs, desires, and thoughts by their parents and by their society. As they become adults, they do not fully transition from child to adult. Their relationships with others, characterized by the scripts they are willing to engage in, are not fully autonomous.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is a book about fighting Resistance with a capital R – the most dangerous force that any creative person can encounter. Pressfield spent most of his life doing odd jobs while working on his writing. While life forced him to take several paths that were unrelated to his passion, he never gave up. He waited for decades to be able to make money from his work. Today, he is well-known for writing books for creators (War of Art, Do the Work).
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson is not about giving no fucks about anything, it’s about choosing the few things to give a fuck about. A funny book with sharp insights worth remembering.
Brain Rules by John Medina is a book that combines the most important research findings about the human brain with advice that can help you make the most out of it. It is written for the layman, it is easy to read and is full of insights.
The revolution is the work of believers. It is hated by some and praised by others, and is a dogma that is either accepted or rejected as a whole, without the use of logic.
The Denial of Death – Ernest Becker
The Denial of Death is about man’s primal repression. Freud believed that man’s basic repression is sexual, but Becker argued that it is the denial of finitude, creatureliness, and mortality. Becker makes this argument based on the work of Otto Rank, Norman Brown, Soren Kierkegaard and Sigmund Freud.
Masochism in Modern Man – Theodor Reik
Theodor Reik, a psychologist, says that masochism is not what it appears to be. To Freud, the masochist is a weak, submissive person, who finds pleasure in pain and humiliation, either to repress guilt feelings or other socially unacceptable desires. He exists because the human being has two fundamental drives: Eros (life) and Thanatos (destruction). The sadomasochist is an example of Thanatos, the death drive.
Carr warns about a near future that is dominated by artificial intelligence – he argues that the problems that come with advanced artificial intelligence go beyond the loss of jobs for some people the way technology always had. He thinks that at some point, because of the ease with which we will be able to live our lives, human beings will lose the most essential part of being human.
Human Nature and The Principle of Least Effort – George Zipf
In simple terms, the Principle of Least Effort means, for example, that a person in solving his immediate problems will view these against the background of his future problems, as estimated by himself.
Thomas Szasz was a physician who became a psychologist. The Myth of Mental Illness changed the way people viewed psychotherapy, and debates continue about this topic exist till this day.
The perception of mental illness has changed across time. And this change has more to do with social and economic needs, than any humanitarian feelings towards the mentally ill.
Mark Epstein makes the case that what is missing from psychoanalysis is Buddhism, that the two are complementary. Psychoanalysis is a reversion to the past, but a study of the past, while necessary, can be infinite and ineffective.
The Art of Living is based on the teachings of S. N. Goenka’s, who’s teaching emphasized that the Buddha’s path to liberation is universal and scientific. He was an influential teacher and played a key role in establishing non-commercial Vipassana meditation centers globally.
How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger is about the health benefits of eating your fruits, vegetables, nuts, and spices and the dangers of eating too much meat, or any meat at all.
If you are a gym newbie, or you’ve been doing it for a while, but feel that you have reached a plateau, this book is at the very least a good starting point to learn about how proper form, so that you avoid injuries, and at the same time, gives you a time tested philosophy to build muscle. You will also learn how to match your training with proper nutrition.
King, Warrior, Magician, Lover is a book about masculine archetypes. A problem that Jung identified many years ago, was that absent an appropriate rite of passage from boyhood to manhood, many men will stay stuck with their boy psychology.
Michael Osterholm and Mark Olshaker wrote Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs. Joe Rogan interviewed Michael Osterholm, who answered questions about the COVID-19 epidemic.
De Bono wrote in the 1960’s when creativity was considered rare. He thought that lateral thinking could be an “insight tool” for solving problems. The concept of lateral thinking emerged out of his study of how brains work.
The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine is about how female brains differ from male brains. Studies around the world showed that women are more likely to be depressed than men are by a ratio of 2:1. As a medical student, Brizendine thought this was because of the patriarchal oppression of women, but then she noticed that up until puberty, the rates of depression between boys and girls are the same.
Masochism and the Self – Roy Baumeister
In Masochism and the Self, Roy Baumeister focuses on a more precise definition of masochism that only includes the sexual, because far too many behaviors would be considered masochistic without such a restriction. This is unlike Reik’s perspective on this subject in Masochism in Modern Man, or Becker’s views on Sadomasochism in The Denial of Death.
The Master and his Emissary – Iain McGilchrist
In The Master and His Emissary, Ian McGilchrist explains our reality through the perspective of brain lateralization. He includes in his study neurology, mythology, art, science, literature, and psychology – to explain how the hemispheres of the brain are different, and how this explains why experience contradictions in our own thinking, such as the mismatch between what we will and what we desire.
Altered Traits – Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson
Altered Traits by Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson takes a scientific look at the practice of meditation. From the start, we are assured that the authors are not interested in giving us a sales pitch about meditation.