76 books like Muses, Madmen, and Prophets

By Daniel B. Smith,

Here are 76 books that Muses, Madmen, and Prophets fans have personally recommended if you like Muses, Madmen, and Prophets. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness

Tony Sandy Author Of Observations from Another Planet

From my list on the struggle to be yourself in a crazy world.

Who am I?

My passion and subsequent expertise in this subject have followed years of self-study and reading. I have tried to make sense of the conflicting views that the world has thrown at me, confusing me by each claiming to be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (the seller's marketplace). The books in this series, reflect how difficult it is to be yourself and how much courage it takes to break free of your conditioning, parental or societal. It covers the necessary breakdown of the internal personality, so that a new you can emerge from the cocoon of the reassembled old you, butterfly-like.

Tony's book list on the struggle to be yourself in a crazy world

Tony Sandy Why did Tony love this book?

The Divided Self kick-started my search for the truth of the human condition. It taught me that I didn't have to follow the life laid out for me and that I was expected to follow. Through it I discovered that I was not the only person trapped in a world and struggling to make sense of the bizarre and contradictory reality around me, that lied and lied about existence continually. Further books by him reinforced this awareness of the illogic of it all, including The Politics of Experience, The Self and Others, and Knots. I was Brer Rabbit, caught in the honey trap of the tar baby and this book showed me that.

By R.D. Laing,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Divided Self as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Presenting case studies of schizophrenic patients, Laing aims to make madness and the process of going mad comprehensible. He also offers an existential analysis of personal alienation.

Book cover of Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Theresa Cheung Author Of The Dream Dictionary from A to Z

From my list on dream decoding.

Who am I?

I was born into a family of psychics and spiritualists, where dream decoding was the order of the day. I did my Bachelor's degree in Theology and English at King's College, Cambridge University, and since graduating have devoted my life to spreading the word about the healing and transformative power of dream work. I share my passion for mainstreaming dream decoding as a potent personal and spiritual growth tool through my numerous dream and spiritual awakening books, podcasts, media appearances, my Sunday Times bestselling author status, and my collaboration with scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists researching dreams and the science of consciousness; I have earned the title Queen of Dreams.

Theresa's book list on dream decoding

Theresa Cheung Why did Theresa love this book?

This is a mind, heart, and eye-opening biography of one of the most influential psychiatrists and dream workers of his time, Carl Gustav Jung. In this book, he shares his lectures, conversations, and his own writings.  

Jung's psychological approach to dreams and the workings of the inner world are truly seminal and a must-read for any serious student of their own dreams. Jung not only changed the study of dreams, setting up the Jungian school of thought and Jungian dream analysis, but he forever changed the way dreams are studied and perceived.  

By C.G. Jung, Aniela Jaffe (editor), Clara Winston (translator) , Richard Winston (translator)

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Memories, Dreams, Reflections as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I can understand myself only in the light of inner happenings. It is these that make up the singularity of my life, and with these my autobiography deals' Carl Jung

An eye-opening biography of one of the most influential psychiatrists of the modern age, drawing from his lectures, conversations, and own writings.

In the spring of 1957, when he was eighty-one years old, Carl Gustav Jung undertook the telling of his life story. Memories, Dreams, Reflections is that book, composed of conversations with his colleague and friend Aniela Jaffe, as well as chapters written in his own hand, and other…

Book cover of Woman on the Edge of Time

Karin Schönpflug Author Of Feminism, Economics and Utopia: Time Travelling through Paradigms

From my list on utopian visions of feminist economics.

Who am I?

I studied economics and found it incredibly boring, exclusive, and confusing at the same time. Eventually, I discovered feminist economics and realized that economics is loaded with crazy mathematical jargon aiming to hide exploitation processes such as unpaid work in the household, precarious production especially in former colonies of the “Global South”, as well as environmental destruction. I found that utopian and sci-fi novels are not only fun to read but may also carry antidotes to reshape traditional economic thinking. Check out my TEDx talk where I can tell you more about all this.

Karin's book list on utopian visions of feminist economics

Karin Schönpflug Why did Karin love this book?

This is an amazing book to really get sucked into.

Written in 1976, it is a fantasy to go hide in from today’s dystopia of post-COVID and early climate change. You can join 1960s Consuela Ramos in her escape from a forced hospitalization in a mental institution to a utopian world that she visits with Luciente, a time-traveler.

That future is full of amazing people who do not celebrate hierarchies of race and gender but live in anarchist poly-amorous villages where hard labor is performed by machines and babies are produced in breeders with biological components of three parents.

The book is rich in blueprints for liberated education, conflict resolution, socio-economic innovation, and relationships. The beautiful world is threatened by a wicked parallel future world that Consuela must help to prevent.

By Marge Piercy,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Woman on the Edge of Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of those rare novels that leave us different people at the end than we were at the beginning.' GLORIA STEINEM

'She is a serious writer who deserves the sort of considered attention which, too often, she does not get...' MARGARET ATWOOD

Often compared to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Naomi Alderman's The Power - Woman on the Edge of Time has been hailed as a classic of speculative science fiction. Disturbing and forward thinking, Marge Piercy's remarkable novel will speak to a new generation of readers.

Connie Ramos has been unjustly incarcerated in a mental institution with…

Book cover of Soteria

Will Hall Author Of Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness

From my list on psychosis from someone who has schizophrenia.

Who am I?

I was an imaginative and sensitive kid – growing up in the confusing oppressions of the US south and raised by parents who are themselves trauma survivors. When I started to go into altered states, hear voices, withdraw in frightened isolation and drift towards strange beliefs, I was forcibly locked up at Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital in San Francisco. I was drugged, put in restraints and solitary confinement, and told I was schizophrenic and would never live a normal life. Today I don’t take medication, work as a therapist teacher, and advocate, and have joined the international patients’ movement working to change an abusive and misguided mental health system. I am not anti-medication, but I see psychiatric meds for what they are – tranquilizers, not treatments, tools not solutions. We need compassionate approaches and caring communities for individuals suffering from a psychotic crisis like I was. I am also the author of the Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs.

Will's book list on psychosis from someone who has schizophrenia

Will Hall Why did Will love this book?

What would happen if instead of throwing people into jail-like mental wards and hammering them with tranquilizing drugs, we instead welcomed them into home-like settings and spent time listening and caring, patiently giving them time and space to explore the emotional roots of their crisis? Psychiatrist Loren Mosher did just that in the Soteria House research project in the 1970s and 80s, and the results were clear: people do better without medications and with listening and caring in a safe environment instead.

Mosher was the first chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia of the National Institutes of Mental Health but you’ve probably never heard of him – his innovative project proved that psychosis can be healed more effectively without medication and outside of  hospitals, but came at a time when biological and pharmaceutical solutions – and the profits they generate – came to dominate psychiatry, so he was…

By Voyce Hendrix Fort, Loren R. Mosher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soteria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of a special time, space, and place where young people diagnosed as

Book cover of Rethinking Madness: Towards a Paradigm Shift in Our Understanding and Treatment of Psychosis

Bruce E. Levine Author Of A Profession Without Reason: The Crisis of Contemporary Psychiatry―Untangled and Solved by Spinoza, Freethinking, and Radical Enlightenment

From my list on psychiatry for freethinkers.

Who am I?

I am a practicing clinical psychologist, often at odds with the mainstream of my mental health profession. I have a strong interest in how society, culture, politics, philosophy, and psychology intersect, and my previous books about depression, activism, and anti-authoritarianism reflect that. The late historian Howard Zinn described me this way: “It is always refreshing to find someone who stands at the edge of his profession and dissects its failures with a critical eye, refusing to be deceived by its pretensions. Bruce Levine condemns the cold, technological approach to mental health and, to our benefit, looks for deeper solutions.”

Bruce's book list on psychiatry for freethinkers

Bruce E. Levine Why did Bruce love this book?

I found Rethinking Madness to be a highly original book. Clinical psychologist Paris Williams interviewed individuals who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychoses, and he integrated this research with prominent alternative explanations for madness. In contrast to the gloomy picture painted by establishment psychiatry, Williams describes how full recovery from schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders is not only possible but is surprisingly common, and that many people who recover from these psychotic disorders do not merely return to their pre-psychotic condition, but often undergo a profound positive transformation with far more lasting benefits than harms.

By Paris Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rethinking Madness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the recovery research continues to accumulate, we find that the mainstream understanding of schizophrenia and psychosis has lost nearly all credibility:

* After over 100 years and billions of dollars spent on research looking for schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders in the brain, we still have not found any substantial evidence that these disorders are actually caused by a brain disease.
* We have learned that full recovery from schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders is not only possible but is surprisingly common.
* We've discovered that those diagnosed in the United States and other "developed" nations are…

Book cover of Valis

Jeff Hopp Author Of Legend of the Mind

From my list on science fiction written by Philip K. Dick.

Who am I?

I am a professional artist and musician, and I owe a huge debt to Philip K. Dick. I started to read his works at a very young age (I believe I’ve read most everything he’s written at least twice), and my love of his work has continued throughout my life and he has been the greatest inspiration to my music, writing, and art. I felt so influenced and indebted that a created a comic book to honor him and to tell my stories and ideas that have populated my imagination as a result of his books.

Jeff's book list on science fiction written by Philip K. Dick

Jeff Hopp Why did Jeff love this book?

I consider myself a very spiritual person and I believe that it is a person’s responsibility to question what it means to be spiritual in order to better understand one’s own faith.

As I am, Philip K. Dick was obviously obsessed with wanting spiritual answers. Valis is very entertaining, but it also made me question all that I believe in a way that expanded and made my spirituality stronger.

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Valis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It began with a blinding light, a divine revelation from a mysterious intelligence that called itself VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligence System). And with that, the fabric of reality was torn apart and laid bare so that anything seemed possible, but nothing seemed quite right.

It was madness, pure and simple. But what if it were true?

Book cover of The Discovery of the Art of the Insane

Colm O'Shea Author Of James Joyce's Mandala

From my list on rationally investigating mystical and psychotic experience.

Who am I?

My research into the overlap between mysticism and schizophrenia has garnered one academic monograph on James Joyce, with another on Charlie Kaufman’s films and fiction due out in 2025 (both from Routledge). For 15 years, I’ve been a writing professor at New York University, and the two things I want to impart to my students are: 1) the courage to pursue a singular question or unique viewpoint and (2) the compassion to write clearly for the reader! All five books on my list don’t shy away from profound questions of what it is to be a complex spiritual being, but they always remain lucid and engaging for a general audience. 

Colm's book list on rationally investigating mystical and psychotic experience

Colm O'Shea Why did Colm love this book?

MacGregor’s book blew my mind when I first read it. This masterful history reveals the discovery of a secret treasure, one that eventually transformed the art world.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, mental asylums in Europe began experimenting with art therapy, allowing psychotic inmates access to drawing materials. Over seventeen chapters jam-packed with astounding images, MacGregor’s book tracks the evolution of what is now known as Outsider art and the profound effect it had (and continues to have) on avant-garde art.

I love MacGregor’s ability to marry the rigor of a scholar with a humane and sensitive commentary on the lives of these forgotten "schizophrenic masters.” This book inspired my own research into schizophrenic art and is my go-to source for inspiration on this theme. 

By John M. MacGregor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Discovery of the Art of the Insane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This pioneering work, the first history of the art of the insane, scrutinizes changes in attitudes toward the art of the mentally ill from a time when it was either ignored or ridiculed, through the era when major figures in the art world discovered the extraordinary power of visual statements by psychotic artists such as Adolf Wlfli and Richard Dadd. John MacGregor draws on his dual training in art history and in psychiatry and psychoanalysis to describe not only this evolution in attitudes but also the significant influence of the art of the mentally ill on the development of modern…

Book cover of The Rag and Bone Shop: How We Make Memories and Memories Make Us

David J. Nutt Author Of Nutt Uncut

From my list on the brain and mind.

Who am I?

I have been a doctor, psychiatrist, and brain researcher for nearly 50 years. I have treated thousands of patients, written over a thousand scientific articles, and given a similar number of lectures to medical and neuroscience students and to the general public. I have held many leadership positions in this field for academic groups both in UK and Europe and in 2009 I set up the charity Drug Science, to tell the truth about drugs and addiction.

David's book list on the brain and mind

David J. Nutt Why did David love this book?

Veronica is a professor of psychiatry with a special interest in psychosis such as schizophrenia and especially those that are seen in women after childbirth. These states of altered consciousness and the memories they produce give us insights into the nature of mental illness and the making of memories. The book develops as a series of case studies that are gently described in relation to the different brain regions that are involved in the experiences with a simple-to-understand diagram. Bringing together her clinical insights with beautiful perspectives from prose and poetry as well as from philosophers especially Henri Bergson, she makes a compelling case for memories being the core of what we as humans are.

By Veronica O'Keane,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rag and Bone Shop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Vivid, unforgettable . . . a fascinating, instructive, wise and compassionate book' John Banville

A leading psychiatrist shows how the mysteries of the brain are illuminated at the extremes of human experience

A twinge of sadness, a rush of love, a knot of loss, a whiff of regret. Memories have the power to move us, often when we least expect it, a sign of the complex neural process that continues in the background of our everyday lives. A process that shapes us: filtering the world around us, informing our behaviour and feeding our…

Book cover of I Know This Much Is True

Deborah Kasdan Author Of Roll Back the World: A Sister's Memoir

From my list on startling encounters with mental illness.

Who am I?

When my older sister died, I felt a pressing need to tell her story. Rachel was a strong, courageous woman, who endured decades in a psychiatric system that failed her. She was a survivor, but the stigma of severe mental illness made her an outcast from most of society. Even so, her enduring passion for poetry inspired me to write about her. I sought out other people’s stories. I enrolled in workshops and therapy. I devoured books and blogs by survivors, advocates, and family members. Everything I read pointed to a troubling rift between the dominant medical model and more humane, less damaging ones. This list represents a slice of my learning.

Deborah's book list on startling encounters with mental illness

Deborah Kasdan Why did Deborah love this book?

Before my sister became so ill, people used to say we looked alike. But ours was just a resemblance. In this novel, Dominick looks exactly like his brother, who has schizophrenia. Dominick encounters his identical twin every time he looks in a mirror. And he is terrified.

I first read this book 25 years ago and inhaled every one of the intertwined subplots in its 900 + pages. Recently, I re-read the “story within the story,” a memoir by Dominick’s grandfather. I became fascinated by his story about the Sicilian market where one chicken transforms into two whole ones—a bit of magical realism about twinning, schizophrenia, and hope. I too excavated old family documents to understand why my sibling suffered so much.

By Wally Lamb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Know This Much Is True as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller and Oprah Book Club selection

"Thoughtful . . . heart-wrenching . . . . An exercise in soul-baring storytelling—with the soul belonging to 20th-century America itself. It's hard to read and to stop reading, and impossible to forget."  — USA Today

Dominick Birdsey, a forty-year-old housepainter living in Three Rivers, Connecticut, finds his subdued life greatly disturbed when his identical twin brother Thomas, a paranoid schizophrenic, commits a shocking act of self-mutilation. Dominick is forced to care for his brother as well as confront dark secrets and pain he has buried deep within himself—a journey…

Book cover of Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill

Stephen Trimble Author Of The Mike File: A Story of Grief and Hope

From my list on families struggling with mental health.

Who am I?

I’d been writing for forty years before I could write about the biggest story in my life. My 25 non-fiction books about the American West—landscape, Native peoples, conservation—are a joy to research, photograph, and create. But I had unfinished emotional business: my mentally ill brother who left home when I was six, never to return. After everyone in my family was gone, it was finally safe. I began to recreate my brother’s life, reveling in research. I know how to do that. Opening myself emotionally to the heart of my family story took far longer. Empathy is a choice, and I’ve made my choice.

Stephen's book list on families struggling with mental health

Stephen Trimble Why did Stephen love this book?

Robert Whitaker’s books inform my work. Both Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic provided crucial policy background as I searched for my brother's personhood. Whitaker’s deep research and ferocious insistence that we rethink psychiatric care guided me into the world of mental illness, the history of treatment, and the controversy over forcing medication on unwilling people. I sympathize with Whitaker and the people who believe anti-psychotics make things worse. But I also meet many with diagnoses who believe in the mantra, “take your meds.” Best practices cannot be one-size (pill)-fits all. I end my own book by imagining the best possible world for mental health treatment—guided both by Whitaker and his most vehement critic, E. Fuller Torrey.

By Robert Whitaker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mad in America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Schizophrenics in the United States currently fare worse than patients in the world's poorest countries. In Mad in America, medical journalist Robert Whitaker argues that modern treatments for the severely mentally ill are just old medicine in new bottles, and that we as a society are deeply deluded about their efficacy. The widespread use of lobotomies in the 1920s and 1930s gave way in the 1950s to electroshock and a wave of new drugs. In what is perhaps Whitaker's most damning revelation, Mad in America examines how drug companies in the 1980s and 1990s skewed their studies to prove that…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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