The best books on the unconscious mind

1 authors have picked their favorite books about the unconscious mind and why they recommend each book.

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Synchrodestiny

By Deepak Chopra,

Book cover of Synchrodestiny : Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence to Create Miracles

Deepak Chopra gives us a lovingly personal and spiritual perspective of synchronicity. On the practical side, it offers a variety of exercises to help the reader discover the power of synchronicity in his or her own life. In essence, however, it is simply about noticing the organizing intelligence seen through synchronistic events and inviting it into your life. In Chopra’s own words, “You don’t have to assign a specific meaning or interpretation to the coincidences, just … gently appreciate the cosmic coordination of your life with everything else.” This is a book that has changed the lives of its readers.


Who am I?

I am a teacher and writer, drawn to the topic of synchronicity because I have experienced so many remarkable coincidences during my life that it seems I have no choice but to study them. As a young man, I spent much time working with dreams, coming to understand them especially through Carl Jung’s explorations of archetypes, myths, and the deep unconscious. This led naturally to the study of synchronicity. I am also interested in the related topic of consciousness and have written several books about it. Out of all this I have come to see the cosmos as a strangely mysterious and wonderfully orchestrated community of beings and events.


I wrote...

Synchronicity: Through the Eyes of Science, Myth, and the Trickster

By Allan Combs, Mark Holland,

Book cover of Synchronicity: Through the Eyes of Science, Myth, and the Trickster

What is my book about?

Suppose you wake up in the morning with an old friend on your mind. You check the email on your cellphone and are surprised to find a letter just arrived from her. Her name is Jane. Later that morning while driving to work you stop for a traffic light and notice the license plate of the car in front of you reads, “JANE2YOU”! What are you to make of this strange coincidence? And what are you to make of a hundred other such coincides that enter your life, whispering unexpected messages from the universe?

This book explores the whole range of remarkable but meaningful coincidences, from the most insignificant and curious to rare life-transforming events that resound with mythic meaning. It tells stories of actual synchronistic coincidences, many from the lives of the authors themselves. Synchronicity touches on modern and even postmodern notions of science, while at the same time drawing us into mythological realities that speak of the subtle and surprisingly personal nature of the universe.

Living in Flow

By Sky Nelson-Isaacs,

Book cover of Living in Flow: The Science of Synchronicity and How Your Choices Shape Your World

In this rare book, Sky Nelson-Isaacs gives us a remarkably insightful and readable understanding of synchronicity and how to live into it. The author speaks with the triple-mind of a physicist, mystic, musician. It is a beautiful introduction to the topic of synchronicity, and how living with the flow brings many life gifts into our lives. Here is a fine first read on the topic of synchronicity. It is also deeply thoughtful and sophisticated upon further study. Easy but sophisticated reading, and a great place to start. Or finish!


Who am I?

I am a teacher and writer, drawn to the topic of synchronicity because I have experienced so many remarkable coincidences during my life that it seems I have no choice but to study them. As a young man, I spent much time working with dreams, coming to understand them especially through Carl Jung’s explorations of archetypes, myths, and the deep unconscious. This led naturally to the study of synchronicity. I am also interested in the related topic of consciousness and have written several books about it. Out of all this I have come to see the cosmos as a strangely mysterious and wonderfully orchestrated community of beings and events.


I wrote...

Synchronicity: Through the Eyes of Science, Myth, and the Trickster

By Allan Combs, Mark Holland,

Book cover of Synchronicity: Through the Eyes of Science, Myth, and the Trickster

What is my book about?

Suppose you wake up in the morning with an old friend on your mind. You check the email on your cellphone and are surprised to find a letter just arrived from her. Her name is Jane. Later that morning while driving to work you stop for a traffic light and notice the license plate of the car in front of you reads, “JANE2YOU”! What are you to make of this strange coincidence? And what are you to make of a hundred other such coincides that enter your life, whispering unexpected messages from the universe?

This book explores the whole range of remarkable but meaningful coincidences, from the most insignificant and curious to rare life-transforming events that resound with mythic meaning. It tells stories of actual synchronistic coincidences, many from the lives of the authors themselves. Synchronicity touches on modern and even postmodern notions of science, while at the same time drawing us into mythological realities that speak of the subtle and surprisingly personal nature of the universe.

Tarot Shadow Work

By Christine Jette,

Book cover of Tarot Shadow Work: Using the Dark Symbols to Heal

There is no personal growth or spiritual development without encountering and coming to terms with one’s shadow. It can be a frightening prospect, and it’s not a very comfortable process, but there is no getting around it. That’s why this book is important. When you confront your shadow, it helps to have a guide who has been there and done it. Steel has done the work and knows how to help you do it too. I am very grateful for this book—it helped me face inner conflicts and accept things about myself I always thought were unacceptable. It’s not an easy practice, but the results are profound. 


Who am I?

I’ve been studying and reading tarot for more than 50 years—starting when I was a teenager. I feel called to do this work—I think of it as holy work, because every reading is an inner journey for my client, I merely serve as a guide for them to discover the insights and wisdom that already exists hidden within them. Over the years I’ve studied with some of today’s top tarot teachers, I’ve studied Kabbalah with respected rabbis. I’ve studied psychological principles with leading therapists. And I’ve studied storytelling with world-famous performers. Tarot brings all these disciplines together in a way that makes every reading an encounter with the Divine that lives within each of us.  


I wrote...

Tarot and the Gates of Light: A Kabbalistic Path to Liberation

By Mark Horn,

Book cover of Tarot and the Gates of Light: A Kabbalistic Path to Liberation

What is my book about?

Tarot and the Gates of Light will take you on a mythic journey deep within yourself to experience your highest self and your Divine connection. Along the way, you’ll learn how the tarot is structured on Kabbalistic principles—and you’ll learn those principles in language that’s clear, concise, and down-to-earth. No previous knowledge of Kabbalah is necessary for you to come away with a deeper understanding of the cards of the Minor Arcana. More importantly, you’ll learn a traditional 49-day Kabbalistic practice using the cards that can help you remove blocks and overcome the issues that hinder your personal growth and spiritual awakening.

This is spiritual guidance in a highly practical form. With teachings drawn from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and other wisdom traditions, this profound practice offers you a guided path to personal transformation. 

The Mental World of Brands

By Giep Franzen, Margot Bouwman,

Book cover of The Mental World of Brands

This book goes even deeper into the neuroscience of brands, and how consumers make their decisions using mental models. This is a bit more academic, but can give a deeper and richer understanding of the processes at play in the unconscious mind when it comes to consumer decision making. 


Who am I?

Since I was young, I was fascinated with how the mind works; how all of our thoughts, feelings, memories, decisions, and actions come out of this lump of flesh in our heads. I studied consciousness, psychology, and neuroscience both at university, and on my own for decades. Once I started working in marketing, for many of the biggest and best brands in the world, I realized that marketers tend to have deep misconceptions and misunderstandings for how the mind actually works. My goal is to bridge the gap between all of the knowledge we have about the brain, and how that could be helpful to brands and marketers. 


I wrote...

Brand Seduction: How Neuroscience Can Help Marketers Build Memorable Brands

By Daryl Weber,

Book cover of Brand Seduction: How Neuroscience Can Help Marketers Build Memorable Brands

What is my book about?

In Brand Seduction, author Daryl Weber reveals the latest psychological and neuroscientific discoveries about how our minds process brand information and make decisions, and the important roles our emotions and unconscious play in our selections. 

Through simple language, engaging stories, and real-world examples, Brand Seduction shows you how to decode, build, and use these hidden brand fantasies to grow your brand and business.

Strangers to Ourselves

By Timothy D. Wilson,

Book cover of Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious

This book isn't about politics per se. But in summing up the social science literature about the way our brain works, Timothy Wilson helps us understand why voters often seem to act so irrationally. It's because, as Jonathan Haidt would agree, we are largely unaware of what drives our decisions. In a phrase, we are “strangers to ourselves.” To take one example. We privilege the knowledge we already possess. This has the effect of us discounting new information that seems in conflict with what we already feel we know. You can see how politicians play on this keen insight. They try never to convince us of anything we don't already believe. And now you know, dear reader, why politicians often seem afraid to lead.

Wilson usually doesn't explicitly address how the insights he shares can help us understand political behavior, but the reader will easily make the connections on their…


Who am I?

Rick Shenkman is a New York Times bestselling author, historian, and journalist who, after reading and writing history books for 40 years, decided to spend the past decade discovering what social scientists have to say. To his great joy, he learned that since he had last studied their work in college they had come to a vast new understanding of human political behavior. He now uses their insights into political psychology, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and genetics to help explain our fucked up politics.


I wrote...

Political Animals: How Our Stone-Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics

By Rick Shenkman,

Book cover of Political Animals: How Our Stone-Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics

What is my book about?

My book begins with a question: Why are we so bad at politics? The answer turns out to be that we evolved to thrive in a world vastly different from the one in which we find ourselves. Our gut instincts, designed to help us cope with a community of about 150 people, fail us repeatedly and nearly completely when facing the challenges of a society composed of millions. This is why we elect morons, are taken in by nonsense, and are susceptible to conspiracy thinking.

I wrote my book before Donald Trump was elected. But a Washington Post reviewer wrote that my book explained Trump's election better than others that focused on Trump. We don't have a Donald Trump problem. We have a human being problem.

Synchronicity

By David Peat,

Book cover of Synchronicity: The Bridge Between Matter and Mind

This is a brilliant book by a physicist and highly creative thinker. David Peat worked personally with David Bohm in coming to understand the universe as a deep holographic process, one in which the meaning of real events is hidden and enfolded in the “implicate order” beyond time and space. Peat’s literary touch makes this book a must for those who love the study of synchronicity.


Who am I?

I am a teacher and writer, drawn to the topic of synchronicity because I have experienced so many remarkable coincidences during my life that it seems I have no choice but to study them. As a young man, I spent much time working with dreams, coming to understand them especially through Carl Jung’s explorations of archetypes, myths, and the deep unconscious. This led naturally to the study of synchronicity. I am also interested in the related topic of consciousness and have written several books about it. Out of all this I have come to see the cosmos as a strangely mysterious and wonderfully orchestrated community of beings and events.


I wrote...

Synchronicity: Through the Eyes of Science, Myth, and the Trickster

By Allan Combs, Mark Holland,

Book cover of Synchronicity: Through the Eyes of Science, Myth, and the Trickster

What is my book about?

Suppose you wake up in the morning with an old friend on your mind. You check the email on your cellphone and are surprised to find a letter just arrived from her. Her name is Jane. Later that morning while driving to work you stop for a traffic light and notice the license plate of the car in front of you reads, “JANE2YOU”! What are you to make of this strange coincidence? And what are you to make of a hundred other such coincides that enter your life, whispering unexpected messages from the universe?

This book explores the whole range of remarkable but meaningful coincidences, from the most insignificant and curious to rare life-transforming events that resound with mythic meaning. It tells stories of actual synchronistic coincidences, many from the lives of the authors themselves. Synchronicity touches on modern and even postmodern notions of science, while at the same time drawing us into mythological realities that speak of the subtle and surprisingly personal nature of the universe.

Synchronicity

By Kirby Surprise,

Book cover of Synchronicity: The Art of Coincidence, Choice, and Unlocking Your Mind

This book is a rich introduction to the topic of synchronicity, thoughtfully simplifying Carl Jung's original ideas. In the words of Gary Schwartz, PhD., this work “is teeming with delightful and compelling surprises about the nature of meaningful coincidences in contemporary life. The author's prose is playful, provocative, and profound.” From the foreword, which the present writer (Allan Combs) wrote himself, “If you are looking for answers to the profound enigma of the meaning and nature of meaningful coincidences in your own life, answers that bring psychological insight and spiritual understanding, then you have come to the right place.

Professor Surprise has given us the finest book of its kind: a clear and delightfully readable account of the nature of chance in the lives of ordinary people; and he has flavored his offering with a perfect sauce of delicious examples.” Here is an excellent first, and even last book on…


Who am I?

I am a teacher and writer, drawn to the topic of synchronicity because I have experienced so many remarkable coincidences during my life that it seems I have no choice but to study them. As a young man, I spent much time working with dreams, coming to understand them especially through Carl Jung’s explorations of archetypes, myths, and the deep unconscious. This led naturally to the study of synchronicity. I am also interested in the related topic of consciousness and have written several books about it. Out of all this I have come to see the cosmos as a strangely mysterious and wonderfully orchestrated community of beings and events.


I wrote...

Synchronicity: Through the Eyes of Science, Myth, and the Trickster

By Allan Combs, Mark Holland,

Book cover of Synchronicity: Through the Eyes of Science, Myth, and the Trickster

What is my book about?

Suppose you wake up in the morning with an old friend on your mind. You check the email on your cellphone and are surprised to find a letter just arrived from her. Her name is Jane. Later that morning while driving to work you stop for a traffic light and notice the license plate of the car in front of you reads, “JANE2YOU”! What are you to make of this strange coincidence? And what are you to make of a hundred other such coincides that enter your life, whispering unexpected messages from the universe?

This book explores the whole range of remarkable but meaningful coincidences, from the most insignificant and curious to rare life-transforming events that resound with mythic meaning. It tells stories of actual synchronistic coincidences, many from the lives of the authors themselves. Synchronicity touches on modern and even postmodern notions of science, while at the same time drawing us into mythological realities that speak of the subtle and surprisingly personal nature of the universe.

The Discovery of the Unconscious

By Henri F. Ellenberger,

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

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…


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

The Metamorphosis of Autism: A History of Child Development in Britain

By Bonnie Evans,

Book cover of The Metamorphosis of Autism: A History of Child Development in Britain

What is my book about?

My book explores the background to contemporary theories of child development, and the neurodiversity movement, by explaining the rapid increase in diagnoses of autism in children that occurred at the turn of the 21st Century. I argue that the way we understand children’s thoughts, motivations, and actions is directly influenced by the legal models that have been established to protect them as individual subjects with unique social rights. Drawing from a large array of government and scientific archives, I explain how the closure of state institutions and the growth of special education was accompanied by a complete metamorphosis in the meaning of autism in the 1960s and 1970s that had a knock-on effect on everyday diagnoses in educational, psychological, and other settings. 

Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy

By Patricia Coughlin Della Selva, David Malan,

Book cover of Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy: Theory and Technique Synopsis

This book is about psychic self-defense. It is very important for everyone to be aware of which kind of self-protecting strategies you use. They might be unconscious and maybe they play a game with you, so you don’t reach your goals. When I discovered my own strategies I let go of some of them, and my love life became easier.


Who am I?

I am a psychotherapist and pastor. Since my first book Highly Sensitive People in an Insensitive World, which became an international bestseller, I have received letters from all over the world, from people, telling me about their lives. I discovered there is a need for books on how to live your life in an authentic way. I have studied Psychiatrist C.G. Jung and Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard at the university. The books, I recommend are easier to read than these two. In my books, I use many examples. It is important to me that the wisdom of great writers becomes accessible to all people regardless of their level of education.


I wrote...

Confronting Shame: How to Understand Your Shame and Gain Inner Freedom

By Ilse Sand, Mark Kline (translator),

Book cover of Confronting Shame: How to Understand Your Shame and Gain Inner Freedom

What is my book about?

Shame might be far from the first thing that comes to mind when you think about what's causing your problems. Shame is hidden, and rarely something we talk about, but it can underlie challenges that we deal with on a daily basis, including anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

This book will help you understand what shame is, how it arises, and, in turn, how to overcome it. With exercises in each chapter, it provides tools to reflect on, confront and free yourself from shame. The book also includes a questionnaire to assess how much shame impacts you. Be kind to yourself and rediscover your empathy for yourself with Confronting Shame.

The Soul of the Ape & My Friends the Baboons

By Eugene Marais,

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

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.


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.


I wrote...

Vampyrrhic

By Simon Clark,

Book cover of Vampyrrhic

What is my book about?

David Leppington has returned to the town of his birth to investigate the possibility of a job as a GP, and also to learn more of its history. Bearing the same name as the town, the Leppington family used to be prominent members of the community. But the clan has dwindled to a sole uncle who is more loner than town leader. In this small, isolated town, people are affected by a horrendous condition. It’s Quiet. Unassuming. A forgotten backwater. Yet beneath Leppington’s streets terrifying creatures stir.

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