The Power of Myth

By Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers,

Book cover of The Power of Myth

Book description

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • An extraordinary book that reveals how the themes and symbols of ancient narratives continue to bring meaning to birth, death, love, and war.

The Power of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked The Power of Myth as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book has long been a favorite of spiritual seekers, with its sweeping panoply of stories from antiquity’s gods and goddesses to the world’s wisdom traditions and more.

This is a book for those interested in the universality of human experience across time and culture—which I am. But even more, it opens our minds to the importance of a story itself.

Campbell helps readers understand that truth and fact are different—indeed, there are several kinds of truth: empirical truth, which depends on objective data, and also mythopoetic and narrative truth, which rely on symbols and stories to provide meaning.

The essence of negotiation is being willing and able to challenge everything. This is the message of Campbell’s insightful work. The Power of Myth shows us how to negotiate with the system as it tries to manipulate us to behave in ways that do not always serve our interests. “It’s a very grim thing to be a modern human being,” Campbell says. I revisit this book every couple of years and always find new ways to make the world a better place to live.

Anyone interested in knowing how mythology has shaped and captured the human quest for meaning would do well to read Joseph Campbell. The Power of Myth is particularly good as a summary oversight by a creative teacher and storyteller. It is a series of questions posed by journalist Bill Moyers. It manages to capture Campbell’s wit and insight as he makes a serious subject accessible to the curious reader. He sees in both ancient stories and modern theater, how words woven into stories, also open up the inner landscape of the human self.

As a university instructor in philosophy and…

Campbell studied religion and spirituality. This book originated with the TV interviews Campbell gave to Bill Moyers. Campbell talked about the origins of myths around the world. He also talked about how ordinary people, like Jackie Kennedy, could be transformed into mythic immortals. This happened due to her witnessing her husband’s death and her leading the world in mourning during his funeral. Jackie, who saw the interviews on television took the initiative to make them into a book when she was an editor at a publishing company. It was one of her bestsellers as an editor. Few people know how…

From William's list on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

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