A brilliant collection, evocative of all that is wonderful and strange about Jung’s Red Book and about the human psyche...

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LAMENT OF THE DEAD

PSYCHOLOGY AFTER JUNG'S RED BOOK

This series of transcribed conversations between two eminent scholars provides nuanced and provocative context for Carl Jung’s Red Book and its influence on contemporary thinking.

Widely regarded as one of the most influential psychologists in history, Jung wrote and illustrated his Red Book between 1914 and 1930, but it wasn’t until 2009 that his heirs allowed the text to be published for a wide readership. A product of Jung’s cognitive methodology “active imagination,” in which one’s psyche is expressed freely as a method of understanding, Red Book is a robust source text for this enthralling collection of dialogues. Hillman (Alchemical Psychology, 2011 etc.), who died in 2011 and spent his life immersed in Jung’s school, and Shamdasani (C.G. Jung: Biography in Books, 2012, etc.), a prominent Jungian historian, discuss a wide range of subjects, including the porous boundaries among psychology, history and literature; imagery and narrative as links to the past and to the unconscious; and how dreams and fantasies may play significant roles in waking life. In addition, a major focus is “the dead” as both a literal and metaphysical concept, as well as the imperative to provide a voice and place for the dead to enable our own living. These conversations, which took place in 2010 and 2011, were originally recorded live, allowing the authors to explore Jung’s text with extemporaneous verve. The resulting conversations, drawn from Jung’s entire body of work, are lively, contemplative and insightful. This intimate and accessible series of dialogues is an exemplary complement to Red Book and also stands alone as a wonderful—if allusive—introduction to the significance of Jung’s work.

A brilliant collection, evocative of all that is wonderful and strange about Jung’s Red Book and about the human psyche itself.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-393-08894-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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