100 books like The Betrayal of the Self

By Arno Gruen,

Here are 100 books that The Betrayal of the Self fans have personally recommended if you like The Betrayal of the Self. 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 Joseph and His Brothers

Barbara Artson Author Of Odessa, Odessa: A Novel

From my list on why immigrants leave their country of origin.

Why am I passionate about this?

I barely knew my grandparents who came to this country in 1905 and spoke only Yiddish. Because my mother refused to speak of her life in Odessa I was totally unaware of the persecution she and her family witnessed and experienced. As a psychoanalyst who helps people understand their own family’s history to better understand themselves, my historical novel, Odessa, Odessa helped me piece together what little I knew of my family’s history, and what I gleaned from my research and reading of novels, to render this portrait. Thomas Mann describes, in writing Joseph and His Brothers, putting clothing on the myth. I put the clothing on the history of my mother’s life story. So relevant today!

Barbara's book list on why immigrants leave their country of origin

Barbara Artson Why did Barbara love this book?

Thomas Mann, “puts clothing on the myth” of the biblical story of Joseph in this deeply profound and moving novel that reveals aspects of the human condition: love, greed, ruthlessness, forgiveness, jealousy, and ambition. Joseph and His Brothers remains relevant to the 21st-century reader. If I had to choose one novel to take with me to read on an isolated island, this would be the one I chose.

By Thomas Mann,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Joseph and His Brothers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BOOK- As Germany dissolved into the nightmare of Nazism, Thomas Mann was at work on this epic recasting of the the great Bible story. Joseph, his brothers and his father Jacob, are at the prototypes of all humanity and their story is the story of life itself. Mann has taken one of the great simple chronicles of literature and filled it with psychological scope and range- its men and women are not remote figures in the Book of Genesis, but founders of states in a fresh, realisic world akin to our own .


Book cover of Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

Naomi Roht-Arriaza Author Of The Pinochet Effect: Transnational Justice in the Age of Human Rights

From my list on bringing dictators and evil men to justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in part in Chile, and when the Pinochet dictatorship started killing and torturing people, I wanted to do something about it. Years later, as a professor of international law, I helped countries figure out what to do after mass atrocities. Seeing how trials in other countries – or in international criminal courts – could break through barriers and make it possible to bring those who killed, tortured, or disappeared thousands of people to justice gave me hope. I wanted to tell the stories of the brave people who overcame the odds to do justice, in a readable and exciting way that also explained the legal and political issues involved. 

Naomi's book list on bringing dictators and evil men to justice

Naomi Roht-Arriaza Why did Naomi love this book?

The grandmama of human rights-related trial accounts, and for good reason. Arendt covered the trial of Nazi official Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem in the 1960s. Eichmann had been living in Argentina, and was kidnapped and taken to Israel, where he was tried and condemned for his role in the Holocaust. Arendt raises profound questions about the value of trials in the face of overwhelming evil, about how trials structure narratives, and about memory. Still issues we grapple with today.

By Hannah Arendt,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Eichmann in Jerusalem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A profound and documented analysis ... Bound to stir our minds and trouble our consciences' Chicago Tribune

Hannah Arendt's authoritative and stunning report on the trial of German Nazi SS leader Adolf Eichmann first appeared as a series of articles in The New Yorker in 1963. This revised edition includes material that came to light after the trial, as well as Arendt's postscript commenting on the controversy that arose over her book. A major journalistic triumph by an intellectual of singular influence, Eichmann in Jerusalem is as shocking as it is informative - a meticulous and unflinching look at one…


Book cover of Modernity and the Holocaust

Jane Stork Author Of Breaking the Spell: My Life as a Rajneeshee and the Long Journey Back to Freedom

From my list on understanding the human condition.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in rural Western Australia, married young, traveled with my geologist husband in the Outback until our children were born, and was settling down to becoming a housewife and mother in a Perth suburb when an Indian guru crossed my path. In no time at all, I packed up my family and we moved to India. Four years later I followed my guru when he went to America, and four years after that, I found myself behind bars. Understanding what led me there, and facing the consequences, was to occupy me for many years to come. I continue to have a deep and abiding interest in what makes us tick and why we do the things we do.

Jane's book list on understanding the human condition

Jane Stork Why did Jane love this book?

This is a profound and disturbing work written after reading his wife’s account of how she, her mother and sister, all of Jewish origin, survived the Nazi/war years in Warsaw (Winter in the Morning by Janina Bauman (1986)). Bauman exposes the popular fallacy that the Holocaust was a singular event, an unfortunate tear in the fabric of civilization, demonstrating with devastating clarity that it was, in fact, a (logical) product of modernism: “Without modern civilization and its most central essential achievements, there would be no Holocaust”.

By Zygmunt Bauman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new afterword to this edition, "The Duty to Remember-But What?" tackles difficult issues of guilt and innocence on the individual and societal levels. Zygmunt Bauman explores the silences found in debates about the Holocaust, and asks what the historical facts of the Holocaust tell us about the hidden capacities of present-day life. He finds great danger in such phenomena as the seductiveness of martyrdom; going to extremes in the name of safety; the insidious effects of tragic memory; and efficient, "scientific" implementation of the death penalty. Bauman writes, "Once the problem of the guilt of the Holocaust perpetrators has…


Book cover of Bauman: A Biography

Jane Stork Author Of Breaking the Spell: My Life as a Rajneeshee and the Long Journey Back to Freedom

From my list on understanding the human condition.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in rural Western Australia, married young, traveled with my geologist husband in the Outback until our children were born, and was settling down to becoming a housewife and mother in a Perth suburb when an Indian guru crossed my path. In no time at all, I packed up my family and we moved to India. Four years later I followed my guru when he went to America, and four years after that, I found myself behind bars. Understanding what led me there, and facing the consequences, was to occupy me for many years to come. I continue to have a deep and abiding interest in what makes us tick and why we do the things we do.

Jane's book list on understanding the human condition

Jane Stork Why did Jane love this book?

I had never heard of Zygmunt Bauman when I picked up this book, but then I couldn’t put it down. By the time I had finished reading it, I was filled with the deepest appreciation and respect for both the man, and his biographer. Bauman’s life spanned almost a hundred years and his story is also the story of Europe, from 1925-2017.

Izabela Wagner has done monumental work to produce a biography worthy of its subject. Her loving respect for Bauman is tangible and adds greatly to the pleasure of reading the story of this extraordinary man’s life: Polish Jew, refugee, soldier, sociologist; an intellectual who spent his life reflecting on what he saw, and speaking and writing about it with pristine clarity.

By Izabela Wagner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Global thinker, public intellectual and world-famous theorist of 'liquid modernity', Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) was a scholar who, despite forced migration, built a very successful academic career and, after retirement, became a prolific and popular writer and an intellectual talisman for young people everywhere. He was one of those rare scholars who, grey-haired and in his eighties, had his finger on the pulse of the youth.

This is the first comprehensive biography of Bauman's life and work. Izabela Wagner returns to Bauman's native Poland and recounts his childhood in an assimilated Polish Jewish family and the school experiences shaped by anti-Semitism.…


Book cover of Empathy and the Historical Understanding of the Human Past

Samuel Fleischacker Author Of Being Me Being You: Adam Smith and Empathy

From my list on the importance of empathy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a philosopher who has spent much of the past 30 years writing about Adam Smith—widely considered one of the first theorists of empathy. One consequence of spending all that time on Smith is that I came to see how much empathy infused even his work on economics (he is for one thing the first theorist ever to write empathetically about the lives of the poor). I’ve become as a result something of a crusader on behalf of the importance of bringing empathy into social science and policy-making today. Understanding people’s perspectives from within is essential to figuring out who they are and what they need.

Samuel's book list on the importance of empathy

Samuel Fleischacker Why did Samuel love this book?

Yes, I know, this book has a long, very academic title. But it’s actually very short and clearly-written, explaining both to professionals and to laypeople why empathy is essential to writing good history. Kohut is a distinguished historian of modern Germany, who also has psychoanalytic training, and he makes a convincing case that we can properly understand even such horrific events as the Wannsee conference (which instituted the Nazis’ “final solution” to the problem of the Jews) only if we enter into the perspective of the people who attended it. This is an eye-opening book on an extremely important topic.

By Thomas A. Kohut,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Empathy and the Historical Understanding of the Human Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Empathy and the Historical Understanding of the Human Past is a comprehensive consideration of the role of empathy in historical knowledge, informed by the literature on empathy in fields including history, psychoanalysis, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and sociology.

The book seeks to raise the consciousness of historians about empathy, by introducing them to the history of the concept and to its status in fields outside of history. It also seeks to raise the self-consciousness of historians about their use of empathy to know and understand past people. Defining empathy as thinking and feeling, as imagining, one's way inside the experience of…


Book cover of The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry

Bonnie Evans Author Of The Metamorphosis of Autism: A History of Child Development in Britain

From my list on the making of the modern self.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in this topic began after my father died when I was a young teenager and I was left looking for answers, explanations, and meanings. My dad was an architect and had written a book on Jeremy Bentham’s panoptican and prison architecture published before the French philosopher Michel Foucault’s famous Discipline and Punish. A small collection of Foucault’s books stood prominently on my father’s bookshelves and I really wanted to understand them. At university I studied all of Foucault’s works and many authors inspired by him. These are the best books that explain how we have developed philosophical and psychological theories to understand ourselves in the contemporary world.

Bonnie's book list on the making of the modern self

Bonnie Evans Why did Bonnie love this book?

The epic 900-page Discovery of the Unconscious is a phenomenally detailed and well-researched book that still challenges many of today’s psychological ‘truths.’ Ellenberger takes as his starting point models of the unconscious developed by Pierre Janet, Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Carl Jung, which still influence many contemporary therapeutic treatments. He then skilfully links these models of the unconscious mind back to exorcism, magnetism, and hypnotism. Ellenberger’s detailed account of the use of magnetism and hypnosis by Jean Martin Charcot and others is fascinating because he explains exactly how Charcot's approaches premised new “uncovering” models devised by Nietzsche and the neo-Romantic movement. He also explains how Charcot’s work related to the growing interest in instincts and sexuality inspired by Darwin that culminated in the Freudian unconscious. In doing so, Ellenberger exposes what was genuinely new in the modern unconscious, and which parts of it have a much longer history. The…

By Henri F. Ellenberger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This classic work is a monumental, integrated view of man's search for an understanding of the inner reaches of the mind. In an account that is both exhaustive and exciting, the distinguished psychiatrist and author demonstrates the long chain of development,through the exorcists, magnetists, and hypnotists,that led to the fruition of dynamic psychiatry in the psychological systems of Janet, Freud, Adler, and Jung.


Book cover of Tolkien, Enchantment, and Loss: Steps on the Developmental Journey

Janet Brennan Croft Author Of War and the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien

From my list on adventure in the Tolkien criticism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading Tolkien since I was seven years old, mumblety-mumble years in the distant past, but it wasn’t till much later that I got serious about reading critical works on Tolkien, and then turned to writing about him, myself. Twenty years ago, I published my first book on Tolkien. Since then, I’ve edited a number of essay collections, published many papers, consulted on the Hobbit movies, amassed a respectable personal library, and edited Mythlore, one of the major journals in the field of Tolkien studies, since 2006. My love of Tolkien has led me on many adventures and to deep and abiding friendships around the world! 

Janet's book list on adventure in the Tolkien criticism

Janet Brennan Croft Why did Janet love this book?

I find many attempts to psychoanalyze authors disrespectful and poorly thought out, but this is an exception. It offers a unique perspective on the interrelationship between Tolkien’s life and art.

It is well-argued, convincing, and beautifully written. It gets deeply into the WHY of Tolkien’s art without being invasive or overly speculative.

Book cover of Otto Rank: A Rediscovered Legacy

Jeff Greenberg Author Of The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life

From my list on the core desires that guide human behavior.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Regents Professor of Psychology at the University of Arizona. Ever since I was a child growing up in the South Bronx, I have been interested in why people are so driven to believe they are right and good, and why there is so much prejudice in the world. This has led to me to a lifelong exploration of the basic motivations that guide people’s actions, and how these motivations influence how people view themselves and others, and the goals they pursue.

Jeff's book list on the core desires that guide human behavior

Jeff Greenberg Why did Jeff love this book?

This book summarizes the contributions of Otto Rank, the brilliant and influential psychoanalyst. Rank focused on two core psychological motivations, the desires for psychological security on the one hand, and for stimulation, growth, and creativity on the other. His work illuminates how these desires often work in concert but also often can be in opposition over the course of the lifespan, contributing to guilt, anxiety, and stunting growth. Rank’s analysis inspired the development of both existential psychology and humanistic psychology. Rank’s approach to psychological well-being is based on accepting and even affirming the limitations of life, understanding what you really want in life, and developing the will to move creatively toward achieving those goals so that one can live an authentic and satisfying life.   

By Esther Menaker,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Generation of Narcissus

Eugene W. Holland Author Of Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus: Introduction to Schizoanalysis

From my list on psychoanalysis therapy shifts social critique.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started out as an economics major in college but soon realized that the discipline was based on totally unrealistic assumptions, so I switched to philosophy and literature. I started reading Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche with some of my roommates and then chose UC San Diego for graduate work because of its focus on what became known as “theory”—which was taught there by luminaries including Jameson, Lyotard, and Marin.

I have been researching the psycho-dynamics of markets and capitalism ever since, and have become convinced that rescuing markets from capital is the only way to save the planet from environmental catastrophe.

Eugene's book list on psychoanalysis therapy shifts social critique

Eugene W. Holland Why did Eugene love this book?

Malcolm’s book is as one-sided as Lasch’s, but for me, it was a breath of fresh air because it considers narcissism to be a positive rather than a negative cultural development.

It, too, couches its explanation of widespread narcissism in psychoanalytic terms, which I consider a plus. However, in addition to being one-sided, the way it considers an entire generation to be narcissistic bothered me as an overgeneralization.

By Henry Malcolm,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Nausea

K.K. Edin Author Of The Measurements of Decay

From my list on exploring philosophy through fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a lawyer and novelist with a Master’s degree in philosophy. I read philosophy and its history to seek wisdom, knowledge, morality, meaning, and the means by which to think well. That is also why I read fiction. And a great philosophical novel can do what a treatise cannot: it can enlighten by style, perspective, the elicitation of empathy, by poignancy and aesthetic awe, and other qualities unique to good fiction. Although I could not possibly represent all the great philosophical novels in this short list, I’ve tried to present a meaningful cross-section. I hope you find these novels as enjoyable and meaningful as I have.

K.K.'s book list on exploring philosophy through fiction

K.K. Edin Why did K.K. love this book?

Nausea does not rely on the extreme or outlandish scenarios of science fiction to explore philosophical themes. Rather, this novel is about a person’s growing malaise over his conscious relationship to objects, people, and ultimately himself. It reaches into some very fundamental aspects of our relationship to the world, and asks you to look at the mere structure of existence after all particularities (names, shapes, colors, history, etc.) are wiped away, and then asks you how you feel about it. Through an existentialist lens, it also explores certain political questions. And for those more technically interested in philosophy, the novel does a better job of showing existentialism’s relationship to phenomenology than many academic papers. 

By Jean-Paul Sartre, Richard Howard (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nausea is the story of Antoine Roquentin, a French writer who is horrified at his own existence. In impressionistic, diary form he ruthlessly catalogs his every feeling and sensation. His thoughts culminate in a pervasive, overpowering feeling of nausea which "spreads at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of our time - the time of purple suspenders and broken chair seats; it is made of wide, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain."

Winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature (though he declined to accept it), Jean-Paul Sartre - philosopher, critic, novelist, and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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