10 books like The Divided Self

By R.D. Laing,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Divided Self. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Denial of Death

By Ernest Becker,

Book cover of The Denial of Death

This book is a landmark in the fields of existential and depth psychology. It’s a recasting of psychoanalysis based especially on the existential writings of Otto Rank and Soren Kierkegaard and gives us one of the most penetrating theories of both human creativity and human destructiveness extant. As contemporary social psychological research indicates, the denial of death (and death anxiety) tends to be at the root of individual and collective efforts to buffer such vulnerabilities, such as mass movements, dogmatism, and even many of the structures we call “culture.” By contrast, this research suggests that the encounter with and integration of death anxiety tends to promote greater humility, tolerance of uncertainty, and awe-inspiring forms of creativity.  My first book The Paradoxical Self (1990/1999) was based on Becker’s masterwork, and it has profoundly influenced all my subsequent writings.

The Denial of Death

By Ernest Becker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Pulitzer prize in 1974 and the culmination of a life's work,The Denial of Death is Ernest Becker's brilliant and impassioned answer to the "why" of human existence. In bold contrast to the predominant Freudian school of thought, Becker tackles the problem of the vital lie -- man's refusal to acknowledge his own mortality. In doing so, he sheds new light on the nature of humanity and issues a call to life and its living that still resonates more than twenty years after its writing.


The Varieties of Religious Experience

By William James,

Book cover of The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature

This book is full of stories, using case studies that include the lives of Walt Whitman, Saint Augustine, and Russian writer Leo Tolstoy—that I found fascinating. Here psychologist William James challenges what he—and I—were both taught: namely, that religions are primarily childish fantasies (the view of Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, in The Future of an Illusion). But after James, as a young man, experienced a terrifying depression, he describes his surprise at what felt to him like a spiritual breakthrough that enabled him to recover. James skips questions about dogma and belief, instead identifies a range of different “varieties of religious experience” that, far more than “belief,” can give rise to spiritual insight. 

The Varieties of Religious Experience

By William James,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Varieties of Religious Experience as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Standing at the crossroads of psychology and religion, this catalyzing work applied the scientific method to a field abounding in abstract theory. William James believed that individual religious experiences, rather than the precepts of organized religions, were the backbone of the world's religious life. His discussions of conversion, repentance, mysticism and saintliness, and his observations on actual, personal religious experiences - all support this thesis. In his introduction, Martin E. Marty discusses how James's pluralistic view of religion led to his remarkable tolerance of extreme forms of religious behaviour, his challenging, highly original theories, and his welcome lack of pretension…


Memories, Dreams, Reflections

By Aniela Jaffe, Richard Winston, Clara Winston, C.G. Jung

Book cover of Memories, Dreams, Reflections

C. J. Jung stood large on the world scene. Freud, much his senior and a household name when they met, was at first a father figure, Freud thought of Jung as natural heir to his psychoanalytic method, Jung’s ultimate rejection of its central tenets led in the end to their break.

Jung’s analysis was sought by distinguished people all over the world. During W. W. II the CIA had him develop a psychological profile of Hitler.

Jung’s Collected Works consists of 19 volumes. A less daunting way to get acquainted with him is through the famous MDR, (Memories, Dreams, Reflections) dictated late in life. The book focuses entirely on Jung’s interior life—his thoughts, his influences, his visions, and Ideations. It was in these that Jung saw his life’s meaning.

Memories, Dreams, Reflections

By Aniela Jaffe, Richard Winston, Clara Winston, C.G. Jung

Why should I read it?

4 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…


Woman on the Edge of Time

By Marge Piercy,

Book cover of Woman on the Edge of Time

I have to admit, I almost didn’t read this book. The first fifty pages are so dreary and difficult, with domestic abuse, racism, and excruciating poverty, with no science fiction to be seen. But then, suddenly, the main character is teleporting to another world or also has guests from that world visit her in ours, and things get very interesting. The alternative world has non-binary gender, it is not capitalist but communal, and they have eradicated most of society’s ills, from killer automobiles to cigarettes, domestic abuse, poverty, racism, and so on, and have replaced these with loving relationships, complex child-rearing arrangements and a more loving-relationship-oriented approach to life. It is a fascinating juxtaposition and definitely worth the opening slog.

Woman on the Edge of Time

By Marge Piercy,

Why should I read it?

3 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…


Soteria

By Voyce Hendrix Fort, Loren R. Mosher,

Book cover of Soteria

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…

Soteria

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


Muses, Madmen, and Prophets

By Daniel B. Smith,

Book cover of Muses, Madmen, and Prophets: Hearing Voices and the Borders of Sanity

Hearing voices is considered a symptom of schizophrenia and can quickly lead to hospital lockup, medication, and being shunned by society as “mentally ill.” In this fascinating account, Smith reveals the truth about this experience we call “madness” – hearing voices is actually a normal human experience across history and culture. Poets, religious visionaries, people spending time alone or grieving – even Freud, Gandhi, actor Anthony Hopkins, singer Lady Gaga -- all heard voices, and anyone under the right kind of stress can hear voices. The problem only arises when people hear distressing voices and have nowhere to go for help other than being treated as ill by a doctor.


Psychiatry made the catastrophic mistake of calling homosexuality a mental disease, and for many decades LGBT people were abducted, confined in hospitals, drugged, tortured, and killed for the mental crime of being different. Today people who hear voices are also…

Muses, Madmen, and Prophets

By Daniel B. Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An inquiry into hearing voices-one of humanity's most profound phenomena

Auditory hallucination is one of the most awe-inspiring, terrifying, and ill- understood tricks of which the human psyche is capable. In the age of modern medical science, we have relegated this experience to nothing more than a biological glitch. Yet as Daniel B. Smith puts forth in Muses, Madmen, and Prophets, some of the greatest thinkers, leaders, and prophets in history heard, listened to, and had dialogues with voices inside their heads. In a fascinating quest for understanding, Smith examines the history of this powerful phenomenon, and delivers a ringing…


The Courage to Be

By Paul Tillich,

Book cover of The Courage to Be

Tillich’s work is foundational for any “mystery-based” religiosity, or to put it another way, “awe-based” spirituality, and The Courage to Be is one of his most accessible and popular works. The Courage to Be, which influenced generations of humanistic and existential-oriented thinkers and therapists is about the willingness to face the anxieties of existence in the service of maximal participation in the life-space we are granted. It is all about boldness and risk-taking, with full awareness of limitation and fragility, to meet the demands of creative participation in love and work. 

The Courage to Be

By Paul Tillich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Courage to Be as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Selected as one of the Books of the Century by the New York Public Library

"The Courage to Be changed my life. It also profoundly impacted the lives of many others from my generation. Now Harvey Cox's fresh introduction helps to open up this powerful reading experience to the current generation."-Robert N. Bellah, University of California, Berkeley

Originally published more than fifty years ago, The Courage to Be has become a classic of twentieth-century religious and philosophical thought. The great Christian existentialist thinker Paul Tillich describes the dilemma of modern man and points a way to the conquest of the…


The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald,

Book cover of The Great Gatsby

Fitzgerald himself saw the book as a struggle between rich and poor. Bootlegging functions as a backdrop to the corruption of America and its aspiring classes. The narrator, Nick Carraway, escapes the attention of most readers who think the book is about Gatsby, when in fact it is about Nick, who at the outset disapproves of Gatsby and concludes by praising him. I particularly like the irony that Nick and readers of the novel think Gatsby foolish for thinking that you can repeat the past; but in fact, the book proves that you can repeat it. Nick relates his story two years after the events occurred; Tom Buchanan is still reliving his football glories from college; and. most importantly, Gatsby and Daisy resume an affair that began shortly before he went off to war.

The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Great Gatsby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the summer unfolds, Nick is drawn into Gatsby's world of luxury cars, speedboats and extravagant parties. But the more he hears about Gatsby - even from what Gatsby himself tells him - the less he seems to believe. Did he really go to Oxford University? Was Gatsby a hero in the war? Did he once kill a man? Nick recalls how he comes to know Gatsby and how he also enters the world of his cousin Daisy and her wealthy husband Tom. Does their money make them any happier? Do the stories all connect? Shall we come to know…


An Anthropologist on Mars

By Oliver Sacks,

Book cover of An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales

An Anthropologist On Mars taught me that I was not alone in being different. The world was full of other odd characters like me, including those who were autistic, a term I had never come across before. Temple Grandin, who was featured in the book, also wrote Thinking in Pictures, which I could fully sympathise with and recognise because I too thought in images and not words. In the same way that Simon Baron Cohen's book Zero Degrees of Empathy told me that I wasn't psychotic or dangerous to other people, just that I lacked an emotional relationship with them. I was the little professor observing everything but not getting involved in the lives of others, Mr. Spock-wise.

An Anthropologist on Mars

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked An Anthropologist on Mars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As with his previous bestseller, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, in An Anthropologist on Mars Oliver Sacks uses case studies to illustrate the myriad ways in which neurological conditions can affect our sense of self, our experience of the world, and how we relate to those around us.

Writing with his trademark blend of scientific rigour and human compassion, he describes patients such as the colour-blind painter or the surgeon with compulsive tics that disappear in the operating theatre; patients for whom disorientation and alienation - but also adaptation - are inescapable facts of life.

'An…


Emotional Intelligence

By Daniel Goleman,

Book cover of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

A necessary corrective to Machiavelli is Goleman’s classic on Emotional Intelligence. Leadership is always a balance between being right and being liked, but you can be both if you have excellent EQ. Goleman sets out the theory, before introducing a practical approach to increasing your emotional competence. The model he developed, which is at the heart of the EQ psychometrics he inspired, starts with self-awareness and your ability to read others, then considers your ability to manage yourself, and your ability to manage others in relationship. It is this last set of competencies that is so vital for delivering through others as a leader, as excellence in this sphere correlates with better organizational performance through increased discretionary effort and enhanced motivation.    

Emotional Intelligence

By Daniel Goleman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The groundbreaking bestseller that redefines intelligence and success Does IQ define our destiny? Daniel Goleman argues that our view of human intelligence is far too narrow, and that our emotions play major role in thought, decision making and individual success. Self-awareness, impulse control, persistence, motivation, empathy and social deftness are all qualities that mark people who excel: whose relationships flourish, who are stars in the workplace. With new insights into the brain architecture underlying emotion and rationality, Goleman shows precisely how emotional intelligence can be nurtured and strengthened in all of us.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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