100 books like The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

By Julian Jaynes,

Here are 100 books that The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind fans have personally recommended if you like The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

Fernanda Pirie Author Of The Rule of Laws: A 4,000-Year Quest to Order the World

From my list on making us rethink global history.

Who am I?

I'm an anthropologist on a mission to discover how people have used, and abused, law over the past 4,000 years. After a decade in a wig and gown at the London Bar, I headed back to university to pursue a long-standing interest in Tibetan culture. I spent two years living with remote villagers and nomads, freezing over dung fires, herding yaks, and learning about traditional legal practices. Now, based at the University of Oxford, I’ve turned to legal history, comparing ancient Tibetan texts with examples from all over the world. The Rule of Laws brings a long sweep of legal history and its fascinating diversity to a wide audience.

Fernanda's book list on making us rethink global history

Fernanda Pirie Why did Fernanda love this book?

Philosopher and psychiatrist McGilchrist presented a bold thesis about the working of the human mind. It has profound implications for the way we understand human societies. We’ve long known that the two halves of the brain perform different functions but, using approachable case studies and clearly presenting the science, the first half of the book argues that the left, more rational, part of the brain is dangerously dominant. Controlling and grasping, it needs to remain subordinate to the more inclusive, humane, and intuitive functions of the right brain. McGilchrist goes on to trace the consequences for the development of human societies and their problems. The ideas linger, relevant to practically all aspects of our lives.

By Iain McGilchrist,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Master and His Emissary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A pioneering exploration of the differences between the brain's right and left hemispheres and their effects on society, history, and culture-"one of the few contemporary works deserving classic status" (Nicholas Shakespeare, The Times, London)

"Persuasively argues that our society is suffering from the consequences of an over-dominant left hemisphere losing touch with its natural regulative 'master' the right. Brilliant and disturbing."-Salley Vickers, a Guardian Best Book of the Year

"I know of no better exposition of the current state of functional brain neuroscience."-W. F. Bynum, TLS

Why is the brain divided? The difference between right and left hemispheres has been…


Book cover of The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Robert B. Marks Author Of Re: Apotheosis

From my list on writing for new (and even established) fiction writers.

Who am I?

Writing is in my blood – my grandmother wrote poetry, my mother writes novels, and over the last twenty-plus years I’ve written just about everything (and now I teach writing at my local university). I’ve loved stories for as long as I can remember. While my fiction career may be newly revived, I spent over 20 years as a pop culture commentator, poking at the minutia of the stories I love. I think stories may be one of the most important things in our culture – they inspire us, they brighten our day, they bring us to tears, and sometimes when we are lost they show us the way.

Robert's book list on writing for new (and even established) fiction writers

Robert B. Marks Why did Robert love this book?

This will be one of my more controversial picks – there are plenty of people who disagree with Campbell as a folklorist, a mythographer, and with his depiction of the Hero’s Journey. But, what is important about Campbell is his exploration of why the elements that appear in stories have the impact they do on our psyche, and how they fit together. One may not agree with all of Campbell’s conclusions, but I don’t think there’s a writer out there who won’t benefit from his exploration of the subject. I know I did.

By Joseph Campbell,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Hero with a Thousand Faces as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joseph Campbell's classic cross-cultural study of the hero's journey has inspired millions and opened up new areas of research and exploration. Originally published in 1949, the book hit the New York Times best-seller list in 1988 when it became the subject of The Power of Myth, a PBS television special. The first popular work to combine the spiritual and psychological insights of modern psychoanalysis with the archetypes of world mythology, the book creates a roadmap for navigating the frustrating path of contemporary life. Examining heroic myths in the light of modern psychology, it considers not only the patterns and stages…


Book cover of Problems of the Future and Essays

Simon Clark Author Of Vampyrrhic

From my list on the development of the human mind.

Who am I?

My father, a history teacher, often pointed out battlefields and scenes of historical importance when I was a child: so an ordinary-looking countryside became the place where knights in armor clashed, or where Viking longboats glided along a river. I grew up habitually overlying vivid scenes from the past on modern landscapes, all of which inspired me to write novels, including The Night of the Triffids, Blood Crazy, and Darkness Demands. Much of my fiction reflects my interest in the evolution of the human mind and how our minds are molded by the world we live in, hence my choice of the five books that I do wholeheartedly recommend for the eager adventurer in thought.

Simon's book list on the development of the human mind

Simon Clark Why did Simon love this book?

Published 1893, Laing considers all kinds of searching questions relating to astronomy, geology, spiritualism, poetry, taxation, finance, and much more. Clearly a possessor of a powerful intelligence, Laing endeavors to make sense of the universe and human life with the limited information he had at his disposal, compared to what we know today. How does the sun burn, he asks? Is it made from coal? A notion he dismisses with rational precision. Later, he considers the arms race from his nineteenth century viewpoint and uncannily predicts a “Great War” that will engulf most of Europe, with “Constantinople” being the likely catalyst of “the blood-rain deluges of the greatest war the world has ever seen”.

By Samuel Laing,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.


Book cover of Oxford Companion to World Mythology

Jordanna Max Brodsky Author Of The Wolf in the Whale

From my list on mythology books beyond the Greeks.

Who am I?

Jordanna Max Brodsky is the author of the Olympus Bound trilogy, which follows the Greek goddess Artemis as she stalks the streets of modern Manhattan, and The Wolf in the Whale, a sweeping epic of the Norse and Inuit. Jordanna holds a degree in History and Literature from Harvard University, but she maintains that scholarship is no substitute for lived experience. Her research has taken her from the summit of Mount Olympus to the frozen tundra of Nunavut, and from the Viking ruins of Norway to Artemis’s temples in Turkey.

Jordanna's book list on mythology books beyond the Greeks

Jordanna Max Brodsky Why did Jordanna love this book?

The Oxford Companion is an encyclopedia, not a narrative, but I love that it includes stories from the Bible, the Quran, and other sacred texts alongside fantastical legends that span the globe. The line between myth and religion is, after all, largely subjective. King David, the nymph Daphne, and the Dayak myths of Borneo all share the same page. For those of us seeking inspiration in myth, the Oxford Companion offers ideas from Abraham to Ziusudra.

By David Leeming,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Oxford Companion to World Mythology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cave paintings at Lascaux, France and Altamira, Spain, fraught with expression thousands of years later; point to an early human desire to form a cultural identity. In The Oxford Companion to World Mythology, David Leeming explores the role of mythology, or myth-logic, in history and determines that the dreams of specific cultures add up to a larger collective story of humanity. Stopping short of attempting to be all-inclusive, this fascinating volume will
nonetheless be comprehensive, opening with an introduction exploring the nature and dimensions of myth and proposing a definition as a universal language. Briefly dipping into the ways our…


Book cover of The Soul of the Ape & My Friends the Baboons

Simon Clark Author Of Vampyrrhic

From my list on the development of the human mind.

Who am I?

My father, a history teacher, often pointed out battlefields and scenes of historical importance when I was a child: so an ordinary-looking countryside became the place where knights in armor clashed, or where Viking longboats glided along a river. I grew up habitually overlying vivid scenes from the past on modern landscapes, all of which inspired me to write novels, including The Night of the Triffids, Blood Crazy, and Darkness Demands. Much of my fiction reflects my interest in the evolution of the human mind and how our minds are molded by the world we live in, hence my choice of the five books that I do wholeheartedly recommend for the eager adventurer in thought.

Simon's book list on the development of the human mind

Simon Clark Why did Simon love this book?

Early in the twentieth century, Marais studied a troop of baboons, studying their behavior, gaining insights into how this primate thinks, and, moreover, drawing conclusions about the development of the human psyche. Marais believed that the human unconscious mind, which he called “the subliminal soul” and which still “shapes our thoughts and actions”, is the ancient animal mentality, submerged beneath the evolution of the conscious mind. Therefore, he postulates, the hereditary mind that belonged to our pre-human ancestors is very much alive and well within us.

By Eugene Marais,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Soul of the Ape & My Friends the Baboons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eugene Marais spent three years living in the South African wilderness in close daily contact with a troop of baboons. He later described this as the happiest, most content time of his troubled life. This period produced two works which are testament to his research and conclusions; they have very different histories.

Firstly, there was a series of articles written in Afrikaans for the newspaper Die Vaderland. They were then published in book form under the title Burgers van die Berge, and were first published in an English translation in 1939 under the title My Friends the Baboons. These pieces…


Book cover of The Infinite Harmony: Musical Structures in Science and Theology

Sarita Armstrong Author Of The Magic of Tao in The Tarot

From my list on tarot archetypes and the I Ching.

Who am I?

I have always seen my life as a journey, with lessons to be learnt along the way. Adventures on land and sea have drawn me into contact with many races and traditions and brought me close to nature in its many moods. When a physical journey ends, an inner journey takes me in directions I had never looked at before. Early spiritual questioning led me to eastern philosophies and made me aware of the underlying links between all cultures. In relying on my own experiences rather than what others have written, I believe my writing brings a freshness and individuality to the age-old questions of who we are and where we are going.

Sarita's book list on tarot archetypes and the I Ching

Sarita Armstrong Why did Sarita love this book?

The innovative thinking in this book inspired me to put my original ideas into writing. Here was someone else who was looking into the profound origins of humanity and how the world is made up. It reassured me I was on the right track in associating the Major Arcana of the Tarot with the I-Ching. Michael Hayes goes further in detecting a numerical and musical synthesis between ancient doctrines and current scientific discoveries. It is not a quick read, but a real eye-opener. Whilst not agreeing with all of it, there was so much fascinating information; I had to read it through twice straight off.

By Michael Hayes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a numerical study proving that religion and science share a common underlying structure, which is very similar to music theory. This study proposes that all the world's major religious and esoteric doctrines share a common scientific origin. Further that this hidden science is none other than musical theory: music being the true common denominator of both religious and scientific traditions. From the mysterious cults of ancient Egypt, China and India and Greece right through to the latest findings in molecular biology and particle physics, there is a law of proportions that corresponds to the rules of music.


Book cover of Restoring the Balance

Sarita Armstrong Author Of The Magic of Tao in The Tarot

From my list on tarot archetypes and the I Ching.

Who am I?

I have always seen my life as a journey, with lessons to be learnt along the way. Adventures on land and sea have drawn me into contact with many races and traditions and brought me close to nature in its many moods. When a physical journey ends, an inner journey takes me in directions I had never looked at before. Early spiritual questioning led me to eastern philosophies and made me aware of the underlying links between all cultures. In relying on my own experiences rather than what others have written, I believe my writing brings a freshness and individuality to the age-old questions of who we are and where we are going.

Sarita's book list on tarot archetypes and the I Ching

Sarita Armstrong Why did Sarita love this book?

This is an easy-to-read book for anyone new to a Buddhist way of thinking. The deceptively simple philosophy put forward by the author is startlingly relevant to all of us in today’s world – a world so obviously in need of restoring balance. Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche was the founder of the first Tibetan Buddhist Centre in the U.K.

By Chöjé Akong Tulku Rinpoche,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sharing Tibetan Wisdom


Book cover of Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism

Sarita Armstrong Author Of The Magic of Tao in The Tarot

From my list on tarot archetypes and the I Ching.

Who am I?

I have always seen my life as a journey, with lessons to be learnt along the way. Adventures on land and sea have drawn me into contact with many races and traditions and brought me close to nature in its many moods. When a physical journey ends, an inner journey takes me in directions I had never looked at before. Early spiritual questioning led me to eastern philosophies and made me aware of the underlying links between all cultures. In relying on my own experiences rather than what others have written, I believe my writing brings a freshness and individuality to the age-old questions of who we are and where we are going.

Sarita's book list on tarot archetypes and the I Ching

Sarita Armstrong Why did Sarita love this book?

In the preface, Govinda explains: Anticipating the future, Tomo Geshe Rinpoche, one of the greatest spiritual teachers of modern Tibet and a real master of inner vision, left his remote mountain hermitage ... and proclaimed that the time had come to open to the world the spiritual treasures which had been hidden and preserved in Tibet for more than a thousand years. Because humanity stands at the crossroads of great decisions: before it lies the Path of Power ... leading to enslavement and self-destruction – and the Path of Enlightenment ... leading to liberation and self-realization.

This deeply spiritual book takes the reader through the Tibetan mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum in a way that gives true meaning to what it really is to be human.

By Lama Anagarika Govinda,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A complete explanation of the esoteric principles of Mantra that also clarifies the differences between Hindu and Tibetan yoga. Translated into many languages, this is an important text for any student of Buddhism. With bibliography, index, and illustrations.


Book cover of Four Quartets

Neal Allen Author Of Better Days: Tame Your Inner Critic

From my list on books on spirituality for people who hate books on spirituality.

Who am I?

Until my early 50s, I detested all things spiritual. These books showed up practically on their own, without dogma or jargon, mainly to convince me that the divine existed. They’re easy to read and open to interpretation. They tricked me into a spiritual life by making it seem logical and simply a place to explore at my leisure. I try to write things that are clear and simple, and these books persuaded me that the ineffable isn’t so hard to write about. Also, I could return to these books years later, and they still speak to me. Each is capable of opening something new to me later in life.

Neal's book list on books on spirituality for people who hate books on spirituality

Neal Allen Why did Neal love this book?

Poetry is supposed to be difficult, right? The erudite poets like Milton, Shakespeare, Yeats, and Dickinson blend insight, psychology, philosophy, wisdom, meter, and magic sauce into a puzzle to suss out. Eliot is like that most of the time, but not in this book, where he is so direct, plain and simple, amazed and amazing, that I am not once tempted to apply critical theory.

If there is a possibility of divine inspiration, this has always felt like Exhibit 1 to me. Every time I think I might have to figure out what he’s saying, he says, “Don’t bother,” by taking me into a picture that is so concrete and full of the everyday that it paradoxically shines the divine out at me. This book can be opened anywhere, started anywhere, and it will bring me comfort and joy. 

By T.S. Eliot,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Four Quartets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Four Quartets is the culminating achievement of T.S. Eliot's career as a poet. While containing some of the most musical and unforgettable passages in twentieth-century poetry, its four parts, 'Burnt Norton', 'East Coker', 'The Dry Salvages' and 'Little Gidding', present a rigorous meditation on the spiritual, philosophical and personal themes which preoccupied the author. It was the way in which a private voice was heard to speak for the concerns of an entire generation, in the midst of war and doubt, that confirmed it as an enduring masterpiece.


Book cover of Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences

Dan Hill Author Of Two Cheers for Democracy: How Emotions Drive Leadership Style

From my list on the heart of leaders when democracy is at risk.

Who am I?

My family moved to Italy when I was six, and I attended Italian first grade in a fishing village where I had to rely on reading body language as I didn’t grasp the language for a bit. Fortunately for me, Italians have lots of body language to read so I could navigate the inevitable cliques and power dynamics evident even at the elementary school level. From that experience to being taken to view the Dachau concentration camp a year later, I’ve always been sensitive to how “the other” gets treated—often unfairly—and the role leaders can play for good or evil.

Dan's book list on the heart of leaders when democracy is at risk

Dan Hill Why did Dan love this book?

A well-researched and decidedly non-partisan book in analysis. Groucho Marx famously remarked that “all people are born alike—except Republicans and Democrats.” Differing personality traits, values, and emotional displays are all covered in this book. It even finds study results to suggest that political differences aren’t easily resolved in part because they go all the way down to our DNA!

By John R. Hibbing, Kevin B. Smith, John R. Alford

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Buried in many people and operating largely outside the realm of conscious thought are forces inclining us toward liberal or conservative political convictions. Our biology predisposes us to see and understand the world in different ways, not always reason and the careful consideration of facts. These predispositions are in turn responsible for a significant portion of the political and ideological conflict that marks human history.

With verve and wit, renowned social scientists John Hibbing, Kevin Smith, and John Alford-pioneers in the field of biopolitics-present overwhelming evidence that people differ politically not just because they grew up in different cultures or…


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