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n1.doc Praise for
50 Psychology Classics
"At long last a chance for those outside the profession to discover that there is so much more to psychology than just Freud and Jung. 50 Psychology Classics
offers a unique opportunity to become acquainted with a dazzling array of the key works in psychological literature almost overnight." Dr Raj Persaud Gresham Professor for Public Understanding of Psychiatry
"This delightful book provides thoughtful and entertaining summaries of 50 of the most influential books in psychology. It's a 'must read' for students contemplating a career in psychology." VS Ramachandran MD PhD, Professor and Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego
"A brilliant synthesis. The author makes complex ideas accessible and practical, without dumbing down the material. I found myself over and over thinking, 'Oh, that's what that guy meant.'" Douglas Stone, lecturer on law at Harvard Law School and co-author of Difficult Conversations
"Butler-Bowdon writes with infectious enthusiasm... he is a true scholar of this type of literature." USA Today
50 Psychology Classics
Who we are, how we think, what we do Insight and inspiration from 50 key books Tom Butler-Bowdon
First published by Nicholas Brealey Publishing in 2007 Reprinted in 2007
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© Tom Butler-Bowdon 2007 The right of Tom Butler-Bowdon to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act
ISBN-13: 978-1-85788-386-2 ISBN-10: 1-85788-386-1 Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
Butler-Bowdon, Tom, 196750 psychology classics.
ISBN-13: 978-1-85788-386-2 ISBN-10: 1-85788-386-1
1. Psychological literature. I. Title. II. Title: Fifty psychology classics.
BF76.8.B88 2007 150--dc22
2006026586 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording and/or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publishers. This book may not be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise disposed of by way of trade in any form, binding or cover other than that in which it is published, without the prior consent of the
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Robert Bolton EdtmrHdt Bona Nathaniel Branden
Isabel HfllUgS Myers Louann Brizeiidine David D. Bums
JZufeiH Citttibii Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Albert Ellis
Robert A. Harper Miktm Em fawt Bar*. Btmsato
Hans Eysenck Susan Forward Viktor Frankl
-Awa^jiwi sigmund freud HowardGardner
Daniel Gilben Makdm Gladweil Denial Goleman
fohn M, GOttman Harry Harlow Thomas A. Morris
Eric Hoffer Karf* Hornev William James
Carl Jung Alfred Kinsey MnUnie Ki?in
D. Lfiitig AbrahamMaslow Stanley Milgiain
Arwj&Moir David jessel Iv*n Pavlov
Trrtzn?Grl5 Jean Piaget Steven Pinker
V. S. Ramachandran Carl Rogers OliverSikh
Barry Schwartz Martin Seligman Guil Shcehy
B. F. Skinner Douglas Stone Efatf H.ttm
Alfred Adler Understanding Human Nature (1927)
Gavin de Becker The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect Us
from Violence (1997)
Eric Berne Games People Play: The Psychology of Human
Robert Bolton People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to
Others, and Resolve Conflicts (1979)
Edward de Bono Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step (1970)
Nathaniel Branden The Psychology of Self-Esteem (1969)
Isabel Briggs Myers Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type
Louann Brizendine The Female Brain (2006)
David D. Burns Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy (1980)
Robert Cialdini Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (1984)
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of
Discovery and Invention (1996)
Albert Ellis & Robert A. Harper A Guide to Rational Living (1961)
Milton Erickson (by Sidney Rosen) My Voice Will Go With You:
The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. (1982)
Erik Erikson Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and
Hans Eysenck Dimensions ofPersonality (1947)
Susan Forward Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life
Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You (1997)
Viktor Frankl The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications
of Logotherapy (1969)
Anna Freud The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence (1936)
Sigmund Freud The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)
Howard Gardner Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple
Daniel Gilbert Stumbling on Happiness (2006)
Malcolm Gladwell Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Daniel Goleman Working with Emotional Intelligence (1998)
John M. Gottman The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
Harry Harlow The Nature of Love (1958)
Thomas A.Harris I'm OK-You're OK (1967) 148
Eric Hoffer The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (1951) 152
Karen Horney Our Inner Conflicts: A Constructive Theory of
William James The Principles of Psychology (1890) 162
Carl Jung The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (1968) 168
Alfred Kinsey Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953) 174
Melanie Klein Envy and Gratitude (1957) 180
R. D. Laing The Divided Self: A Study of Sanity and Madness (1960) 186
Abraham Maslow The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (1971) 192
Stanley Milgram Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View
36 Anne Moir & David Jessel Brainsex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women
Ivan Pavlov Conditioned Reflexes: An Investigation of the Physiological Activity of the Cerebral Cortex (1927) 210
Fritz Perls Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human
Jean Piaget The Language and Thought of the Child (1923) 222
Steven Pinker The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human
41 V. S. Ramachandran Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind
42 Carl Rogers On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy
43 Oliver Sacks The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales
Barry Schwartz The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less (2004) 248
Martin Seligman Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment (2002) 254
Gail Sheehy Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life (1976) 260
B. F. Skinner Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971) 266
Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, & Sheila Heen Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (1999) 272
William Styron Darkness Visible: A Memoir ofMadness (1990) 278
Robert E. Thayer The Origin of Everyday Moods: Managing Energy, Tension, and Stress (1996) 284
50 More Classics 291
Chronological list of titles 297
ach book in the 50 Classics series has been a major effort, involving thousands of hours of research, reading, and writing. Beyond this core work, the series is made successful thanks to the team at Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
I'm very grateful for the editorial input of Nicholas Brealey and Sally Lansdell in NB's London office, which has made 50 Psychology Classics a better book. Thanks also for the efforts with international rights to ensure that the book will be read by as many people as possible around the world.
Many thanks also to Patricia O'Hare and Chuck Dresner in the Boston office for their commitment to this book and to the 50 Classics series, and for increasing its profile in the United States.
Finally, this book could obviously not have been written without the wealth of remarkable ideas and concepts expressed in the classic books covered. Thank you to all the living authors for your contributions to the field.
n a journey that spans 50 books, hundreds of ideas, and over a century in time, 50 Psychology Classics looks at some of the most intriguing questions relating to what motivates us, what makes us feel and act in certain ways, how our brains work, and how we create a sense of self. Deeper awareness in these areas can lead us to self-knowledge, a better understanding of human nature, improved relationships, and increased effectiveness—in short, to make a real difference to your life.
50 Psychology Classics explores writings from such iconic figures as Freud, Adler, Jung, Skinner, James, Piaget, and Pavlov, and also highlights the work of contemporary thinkers such as Gardner, Gilbert, Goleman, and Seligman. There is a commentary devoted to each book, revealing the key points and providing a context of the ideas, people, and movements surrounding it. The blend of old and new titles gives you an idea of writings that you should at least know about even if you are not going to read them, and newer, really practical titles that take account of the latest scientific findings.
The focus is on "psychology for nonpsychologists," books everyone can read and be enlightened by, or that were expressly written for a general audience. In addition to psychologists, the list includes titles by neurologists, psychiatrists, biologists, communications experts, and journalists, not to mention a dockworker, an expert in violence, and a novelist. As the secrets of human behavior are too important to be defined by a single discipline or point of view, we need to hear from such an eclectic collection of voices.
The book does not focus primarily on psychiatry, although works by psychiatrists such as Oliver Sacks, Erik Erikson, R. D. Laing, and Viktor Frankl are included, plus some by famous therapists including Carl Rogers, Fritz Perls, and Milton Erickson. 50 Psychology Classics is less about fixes to problems than supplying general insights into why people think or act as they do.
Despite the inclusion of some titles relating to the unconscious mind, the emphasis is also not on depth psychology, or concepts of the psyche or soul. Some of the best popular writers in this area, including James Hillman (The Soul's Code), Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul), Carol Pearson (The Hero Within), and Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth), have been covered in 50 Self-Help Classics and 50 Spiritual Classics, which explore books on the more transformational and spiritual sides of psychology.
The list of 50 psychology classics does not claim to be definitive, just to range over some of the major names and writings. Every collection of this type will be to some extent idiosyncratic, and no claims are made to cover the
various fields and subfields in psychology comprehensively. Here we are seeking basic insights into some of the most intriguing psychological questions and concepts, and a greater knowledge of human nature.
The rise of a science
"Psychology is the science of mental life." William James
As the early memory researcher Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909) wrote, "Psychology has a long past, but only a short history." He meant that people have been thinking about human thought, emotion, intelligence, and behavior for thousands of years, but as a discipline based on facts rather than speculation psychology is still in its infancy. Even though he made his statement a hundred years ago, psychology is still considered young.
It emerged from two other disciplines, physiology and philosophy. German Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) is seen as the father of psychology because he insisted it should be a separate discipline, more empirical than philosophy and more focused on the mind than physiology. In the 1870s he created the first experimental psychology laboratory, and wrote his huge work Principles of Physiological Psychology.
As Wundt is read today only by those with a specialized interest, he is not included in the list of classics. American philosopher William James (1842-1910), however, also considered a "founding father" of modern psychology, is still widely read. The brother of novelist Henry James, he trained in medicine and then transferred to philosophy, but like Wundt felt that the workings of the mind deserved to be a separate field of study. Building on a theory by German neuroanatomist Franz Gall that all thoughts and mental processes were biological, James helped to spread the remarkable idea that one's self—with all its hopes, loves, desires, and fears—was contained in the soft gray matter within the walls of the skull. Explanations of thoughts as the product of some deeper force such as the soul, he felt, were really the realm of metaphysics.
James may have helped define the parameters of psychology, but it was Sigmund Freud's writings that really made it a subject of interest to the general public. Freud was born 150 years ago, in 1856; his parents knew he was bright, but even they could not have imagined the impact his ideas would have on the world. On leaving school he was set to study law, but changed his mind at the last minute and enrolled in medicine. His work on brain anatomy and with patients suffering from "hysteria" led him to wonder about the influence of the unconscious mind on behavior, which sparked his interest in dreams.
Today, it is easy to take for granted how much the average person is familiar with psychological concepts such as the ego and the unconscious mind, but these and many others are all—for better or worse—Freud's legacy. Well over half the titles covered in 50 Psychology Classics are by either
Freudians or post-Freudians, or mark themselves out by being anti-Freud. It is now fashionable to say that Freud's work is unscientific, and his writings literary creations rather than real psychology. Whether this is accurate or not, he remains far and away the most famous person in the field, and although psychoanalysis—the talking therapy he created to peep into a person's unconscious—is now much less practiced, the image of a Viennese doctor drawing out the deepest thoughts of his couch-lying patient is still the most popular image we have when we think of psychology.
As some neuroscientists have intimated, Freud may be due for a comeback. His emphasis on the major role of the unconscious in shaping behavior has not been proved wrong by brain imaging techniques and other research, and some of his other theories may yet be validated. Even if not, his position as psychology's most original thinker is not likely to change.
The reaction to Freud came most obviously in the form of behaviorism. Ivan Pavlov's famous experiments with dogs, which showed that animals were simply the sum of their conditioned responses to environmental stimuli, inspired behaviorism's leading exponent B. F. Skinner, who wrote that the idea of the autonomous person driven by an inner motive was a romantic myth. Instead of trying to find out what goes on inside a person's head ("mental-ism"), to know why people act as they do, Skinner suggested, all we need to know is what circumstances caused them to act in a certain way. Our environments shape us into what we are, and we change the course of our actions according to what we learn is good for our survival. If we want to construct a better world, we need to create environments that make people act in more moral or productive ways. To Skinner this involved a technology of behavior that rewards certain actions and not others.
Emerging in the 1960s, cognitive psychology used the same rigorous scientific approach as behaviorism but returned to the question of how behavior is actually generated inside the head. Between the stimulation received from the environment and our response, certain processes had to occur inside the brain, and cognitive researchers revealed the human mind to be a great interpreting machine that made patterns and created sense of the world outside, forming maps of reality.
This work led cognitive therapists such as Aaron Beck, David D. Burns, and Albert Ellis to build treatment around the idea that our thoughts shape our emotions, not the other way around. By changing our thinking, we can alleviate depression or simply have greater control over our behavior. This form of psychotherapy has now largely taken the place that Freudian psychoanalysis once assumed in treating people's mental issues.
A more recent development in the cognitive field is "positive psychology," which has sought to reorient the discipline away from mental problems to the study of what makes people happy, optimistic, and productive. To some extent
this area was foreshadowed by pioneering humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow, who wrote about the self-actualized or fulfilled person, and Carl Rogers, who once noted that he was pessimistic about the world, but optimistic about people.
In the last 30 years, both behavioral and cognitive psychology have been increasingly informed by advances in brain science. The behaviorists thought it wrong to merely surmise what happened inside the brain, but science is now allowing us to see inside and map the neural pathways and synapses that actually generate action. This research may end up revolutionizing how we see ourselves, almost certainly for the better, because while some people fear that the reduction of human beings to how the brain is wired will dehumanize us, in fact greater knowledge of the brain can only increase our appreciation of its workings.
Today's sciences of the brain are enabling us to return to William James's definition of psychology as the "science of mental life," except that this time we are able to advance knowledge based on what we know at the molecular level. Having evolved partly out of the field of physiology, psychology may be returning to its physical roots. The irony is that this attention to minute physi-cality is yielding answers to some of our deepest philosophical questions, such as the nature of consciousness, free will, the creation of memory, and the experience and control of emotion. It may even be that the "mind" and the "self" are simply illusions created by the extraordinary complexity of the brain's neural wiring and chemical reactions.
What is the future of psychology? Perhaps all we can be certain of is that it will become a science more and more based on knowledge of the brain.
A quick guide to the literature
Part of the reason psychology became a popular field of study is that its early titans, including James, Freud, Jung, and Adler, wrote books that ordinary people could understand. We can pick up one of their titles today and still be entranced. Despite the difficulty of some of the concepts, people have a deep hunger for knowledge on how the mind works, human motivation, and behavior, and in the last 15 years there has been something of a new golden age in popular psychology writing, with authors such as Daniel Goleman, Steven Pinker, Martin Seligman, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi fulfilling that need.
Below is a brief introduction to the titles covered in 50 Psychology Classics. The books are divided into seven categories that, although unconventional, may help you to choose titles according to the themes that interest you most. At the rear of this book you will find an alternative list of "50 More Classics." Again, this is not a definitive list, but it may assist in any further reading you wish to do.
Behavior, biology, and genes: A science of the brain
Louann Brizendine, The Female Brain
William James, The Principles of Psychology
Alfred Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female
Anne Moir & David Jessel, Brainsex
Jean Piaget, The Language and Thought of the Child
Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate
V. S. Ramachandran, Phantoms in the Brain
Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
For William James, psychology was a natural science based on the workings of the brain, but in his era the tools to study this mysterious organ properly were not adequate to the task. Now, with technological advances, psychology is gaining many of its insights from the brain itself rather than from the behavior it generates.
This new emphasis on brain science raises uncomfortable questions regarding the biological and genetic bases of behavior. Is the way we are relatively unchangeable, or are we a blank slate ready to be socialized by our environments? The old debate over "nature vs nurture" has gained new energy. Genetic science and evolutionary psychology have demonstrated that much of what we call human nature, including intelligence and personality, is wired into us in the womb or at least hormonally influenced. For cultural or political reasons, Steven Pinker notes in The Blank Slate, the major role that biology plays in human behavior is sometimes denied, but as knowledge increases this will become increasingly difficult to maintain. Louann Brizendine's book, for example, the result of many years' study of the effects that hormones have on the female brain, brilliantly shows the extent to which women can be shaped by their biology at different stages in life.
More fundamentally, Moir and Jessel's Brainsex presents a convincing case that many of our behavioral tendencies come from the sexual biology of our brains, which are largely set by the time the foetus is eight weeks old. Even our cherished ideas about the self are going under the microscope. Today's neuroscience suggests that the self is best understood as a sort of illusion that the brain creates. The remarkable writings of Oliver Sacks, for instance, show that the brain continually works to create and maintain the feeling of an "I" that is in control, even if there is in fact no part of the brain that can be identified as the locus of "self feeling." Neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran's work with phantom limbs seems to confirm the brain's remarkable ability to create a sense of cognitive unity even if the reality (of many selves, and of many layers of consciousness) is more complex.
Jean Piaget never did any laboratory work on the brain, but grew up studying snails in the Swiss mountains. He applied an early genius for
scientific observation to the study of children, noting that they progress along a definite line of stages according to age, assuming there is adequate stimulation from their environments. Equally, sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, also originally a biologist, sought to shatter the taboos surrounding male and female sexuality by pointing out how our mammalian biology drives our sexual behaviors.
The work of both Piaget and Kinsey suggests that while biology is always a dominant influence on behavior, environment is critical to its expression. Even amid the new findings on the genetic or biological basis of behavior, we should never conclude that as human beings we are determined by our DNA, hormones, or brain structure. Unlike other animals we are aware of our instincts, and as a result may attempt to shape or control them. We are neither nature nor nurture only, but an interesting combination of both.
Tapping the unconscious mind: Wisdom of a different kind
Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear
Milton Erickson (by Sidney Rosen), My Voice Will Go With You Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams Malcolm Gladwell, Blink
Carl Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
Psychology involves more than the rational, thinking mind, and our ability to tap into our unconscious can yield a vast store of wisdom. Freud tried to show that dreams are not simply meaningless hallucinations, but a window into the unconscious that can reveal suppressed wishes. To him the conscious mind was like the tip of an iceberg, with the submerged bulk providing the center of gravity in terms of motivation. Jung went further, identifying a whole sub-rational architecture (the "collective unconscious") that exists independent of particular individuals, constantly generating the customs, art, mythology, and literature of culture. For both Jung and Freud, greater awareness of "what lies beneath" meant someone was less likely to be tripped up by life. The unconscious was a store of intelligence and wisdom that could be accessed if we knew how, and their great task was reconnect us to our deeper selves.
As therapy, "depth" psychology has been no more than moderately successful, and tends to be only as effective as the insights or techniques of particular practitioners. Milton Erickson, for instance, a famous hypnotherapist, had the motto "It is really amazing what people can do. Only they don't know what they can do." He also understood the unconscious to be a well of wise solutions, and enabled his patients to tap into it and regain forgotten personal power.
As a bridge between the conscious and the unconscious, intuition is a form of wisdom that we can cultivate. This is chillingly demonstrated in Gavin
de Becker's The Gift of Fear, which provides many examples of our natural ability to know what to do in critical life-or-death situations—as long as we are prepared to listen to and act on our internal voice. Malcolm Gladwell's Blink also highlights the power of "thinking without thinking," showing that an instant assessment of a situation or person is often as accurate as one formed over a long period. While obviously logic and rationality are important, smart people are in touch with all levels of their mind, and trustful of their feelings even when the origins of those feelings seem mysterious.
Thinking better, feeling better: Happiness and mental health
Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem David D. Burns, Feeling Good
Albert Ellis & Robert Harper, A Guide to Rational Living
Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness
Fritz Perls, Gestalt Therapy
Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice
Martin Seligman, Authentic Happiness
William Styron, Darkness Visible
Robert E. Thayer, The Origin of Everyday Moods
For many years, psychology was surprisingly little interested in happiness. Martin Seligman has helped to raise the subject to serious study and observation, and his "positive psychology" is revealing through science the sometimes unexpected recipes for mental wellbeing. Barry Schwartz's distinction between maximizers and satisficers has given us the counterintuitive insight that restricting our choices in life can actually lead to greater happiness and satisfaction, and Daniel Gilbert's book points out the surprising fact that, although humans are the only animals who can look into the future, we often make mistakes in terms of what we think will lead to happiness. Turning from the macro to the micro, Robert Thayer's work into the physiological causes of daily moods has helped thousands of people gain better control over how they feel hour by hour. The fascinating insights of each of these books show that the achievement of happiness is never as simple a matter as we would like.
The cognitive psychology revolution has had a dramatic impact on mental health, and two of its major names are David D. Burns and Albert Ellis. Their mantra that thoughts create feelings, not the other way around, has helped many people to get back in control of their lives because it applies logic and reason to the murky pool of emotions. Yet their work has many implications for achieving happiness generally, in that most of us can literally "choose" to be happy, if we understand the mind's thought-emotion mechanism.
The concept of self-esteem has been criticized in recent years, but Nathaniel Branden's seminal work on the subject remains convincing in its argument that personal esteem arises from having our own set of principles and acting on them. When we fail to do this, it is easy to descend into self-hatred and depression. Yet as William Styron's classic account of his own battle with depression indicates, the causes of the condition are often mysterious and can strike anyone. He notes that it remains the cancer of the mental health world: We are close to finding a cure, but not close enough for those who do not respond quickly to drugs or therapy.
Why we are how we are:
The study of personality and the self
Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing
Erik Erikson, Young Man Luther
Hans Eysenck, Dimensions of Personality
Anna Freud, The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence
Karen Horney, Our Inner Conflicts
Melanie Klein, Envy and Gratitude
R. D. Laing, The Divided Self
Gail Sheehy, Passages
The ancients commanded us to "know thyself," but in psychology this quest takes on many aspects. Eysenck's work on the extraverted and neurotic dimensions of personality paved the way for many other models, with contemporary psychologists commonly assessing people according to the "Big Five" personality traits of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Today, we can take myriad tests to determine our "personality type," and while it is wise to be skeptical of their validity, some can provide genuine insights. The best known of the modern forms is the inventory originally created by Isabel Briggs Myers.
Of course, who we are at one point in our life may be different from who we are at another. Erik Erikson coined the term "identity crisis," and in his compelling psychobiography of religious reformer Martin Luther, he conveys both the pain of uncertain identity and the power that comes when we finally know who we are. As Gail Sheehy pointed out in her 1970s hit Passages, we go through many crises during adult life, and not only are they somewhat predictable, we should welcome them as an opportunity for growth.
Human beings sometimes have to cope with what seem like competing selves. Anna Freud took up where her father left off in focusing on the psychology of the ego, noting that humans do just about anything to avoid pain and preserve a sense of self, and this compulsion often results in the creation of psychological defenses. Neo-Freudian Karen Horney believed that childhood experiences resulted in our creation of a self that "moved toward people" or "moved away from people." These tendencies were a sort of mask that could develop into neurosis if we were not willing to move beyond them. Underneath was what she called a "wholehearted," or real, person.
Melanie Klein focused on how a "schizoid" personality could develop as the result of an infant's relations with its mother in the first year of life, although she noted that most people grow out of this and establish healthy relations with themselves and the world. Most of us do have a strong sense of self, but as R. D. Laing showed in his landmark work on schizophrenia, some people lack this basic security and attempt to replace the vacuum with false selves. Most of the time we take it for granted, but it is only when it is lost that we can fully appreciate our brain's ability to create the feeling of self-possession, or be comfortable with who we are.
Why we do what we do:
Great thinkers on human motivation
Alfred Adler, Understanding Human Nature Viktor Frankl, The Will to Meaning Eric Hoffer, The True Believer
Abraham Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature
Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority
Ivan Pavlov, Conditioned Reflexes
B. F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity
Alfred Adler was a member of Freud's original inner circle, but broke away because he disagreed that sex was the prime mover behind human behavior. He was more interested in how our early environments shape us, believing that we all seek greater power by trying to make up for what we perceive we lacked in childhood—his famous theory of "compensation."
If Adler's theory of human action relates to power, concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl's brand of existential psychology, "logotherapy," posits that the human species is uniquely made to seek meaning. It is our responsibility to look for meaning in life, even in the darkest times, and whatever the circumstances we always have a vestige of free will.
Yet as amateur psychologist Eric Hoffer wrote in The True Believer, people allow themselves to be swept up in larger causes in order to be freed of responsibility for their lives, and to escape the banality or misery of the present. And Stanley Milgram's famous experiments showed that, given the right conditions, human beings exhibit a frightening willingness to put others through pain in order to be seen kindly by those in authority. Humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow, on the other hand, identified a minority of self-actualized individuals who did not act simply out of conformity to society
but chose their own path and lived to fulfill their potential. This type of person was as representative of human nature as any mindless conformist.
While poets, writers, and philosophers have long celebrated the inner motive that guides autonomous human behavior, B. F. Skinner defined the self simply as "a repertoire of behavior appropriate to a given set of contingencies." There was no such thing as human nature, and conscience or morality could be boiled down to environments that induced us to behave in moral ways. Skinner's ideas built on the work of Ivan Pavlov, whose success in conditioning dogs' behavior also brought into question the freedom of human action.
Despite these vast differences in understanding motivation, together these books provide remarkable insights into why we do what we do, or at least what we are capable of doing—both good and bad.
Why we love the way we do: The dynamics of relationships
Eric Berne, Games People Play Susan Forward, Emotional Blackmail
John M. Gottman, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Harry Harlow, The Nature of Love Thomas A. Harris, I'm OK—You're OK Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person
Love has traditionally been the domain of poets, artists, and philosophers, but in the last 50 years the terrain of relationships has increasingly been mapped by psychologists. In the 1950s, primate researcher Harry Harlow's legendary experiments replacing the real mothers of baby monkeys with cloth ones proved the extent to which infants need loving physical attention in order to become healthy adults. Remarkably, this sort of touching went against the child-rearing views of the time.
More recently, marriage researcher John M. Gottman looked at another aspect of relationship dynamics and found that the conventional wisdom on what makes long-term romantic partnerships work is often wrong. The most valuable information on how to maintain or save relationships comes from scientific observation of couples in action, right down to the microexpressions and apparently inane comments seen in everyday conversations. Similarly, in the past we may have looked to literature to be enlightened about a subject as intensely personal as emotional blackmail, but psychologists such as Susan Forward are now providing better answers on how we can protect ourselves against this corrosive element in relationships.
Pop psychology pioneers Eric Berne and Thomas Harris understood our close personal encounters as "transactions" that could be analyzed according to the three selves of Adult, Child, and Parent. Berne's observation that we are always playing games with each other is perhaps a cynical view of humanity, but by becoming aware of those games we have the chance to move beyond them.
The contribution of humanistic psychology to better relationships is recognized by the inclusion of Carl Rogers, whose influential book reminds us that relationships cannot flower if they don't have a climate of listening and nonjudgmental acceptance, and that empathy is the mark of a genuine person.
Working at our peak:
Creative power and communication skills
Robert Bolton, People Skills
Edward de Bono, Lateral Thinking
Robert Cialdini, Influence
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity
Howard Gardner, Frames of Mind
Daniel Goleman, Working with Emotional Intelligence
Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, & Sheila Heen, Difficult Conversations
Debates rage in the academic world over the true nature of intelligence, but in working life we are interested in its application. Two of the outstanding titles in this area, by Daniel Goleman and Howard Gardner, both suggest that intelligence involves much more than straight IQ. There are an array of "intelligences" of an emotional or social nature that can together be a decisive factor in how well a person does in life.
Unlike IQ, one's ability to communicate well can be improved relatively easily, as Robert Bolton's perennially popular book shows. And in Difficult Conversations, a product of extensive Harvard research, Douglas Stone and his colleagues give excellent advice on how to deal with some of the most challenging workplace encounters. As life often seems to boil down to the outcome of such interactions, it is worth understanding what is happening below the surface of what is actually said, and how to manage an encounter while keeping everyone's dignity intact.
One of the decisive factors in success in business is the ability to persuade. Robert Cialdini's landmark work on the psychology of persuasion is a must-read if you are involved in marketing, but also of interest to anyone who wishes to understand how we are made to do things we would not normally choose to do.
Another component of work success is creativity. Edward de Bono's term "lateral thinking" seemed very new in the 1960s when he coined it, but in today's entrepreneurial culture we are all expected to think outside the box. At a broader level, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Creativity, based on a systematic
study, shows why creativity is central to a rich, meaningful life, and why many people do not achieve their full flowering until their later years. Most importantly, the book provides many features of the creative person that we can emulate.
Psychology and human nature
"The science of human nature... finds itself today in the position that chemistry occupied in the days of alchemy."
"Everyone has a theory of human nature. Everyone has to anticipate the behavior of others, and that means we all need theories about what makes
William James defined psychology as the science of mental life, but it could equally be defined as the science of human nature. Some 80 years after Alfred Adler made the remark above, we still have a long way to go in terms of creating a rock-solid science that could match the certainty of, say, physics and biology.
In the meantime, we all need a personal theory of what makes people tick. To survive and thrive, we have to know who and what we are, and to be canny about the motivations of others. The common route to this knowledge is life experience, but we can advance our appreciation of the subject more quickly through reading. Some people gain insights from fiction, others from philosophy. But psychology is the only science exclusively devoted to the study of human nature, and its popular literature—surveyed in this collection—aims to convey this vital wisdom.
50 Psychology Classics
Understanding Human Nature It is the feeling of inferiority, inadequacy and insecurity that determines the goal of an individual's existence. One motive is common to all forms of vanity. The vain individual has created a goal that cannot be attained in this life. He wants to be more important and successful than anyone else in the world, and this goal is the direct result of his feeling of inadequacy. Every child is left to evaluate his experiences for himself, and to take care of his own personal development outside the classroom. There is no tradition for the acquisition of a true knowledge of the human psyche. The science of human nature thus finds itself today in the position that chemistry occupied in the days of alchemy." In a nutshell What we think we lack determines what we will become in life. In a similar vein
Erik Erikson Young Man Luther
(p 84) Anna Freud The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence (p
104) Sigmund Freud The Interpretation of Dreams
(p 110) Karen Horney Our Inner Conflicts
(p 156) Alfred Adler
n 1902 a group of men, mostly doctors and all Jewish, began meeting every Wednesday in an apartment in Vienna. Sigmund Freud's "Wednesday Society" would eventually become the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society, and its first president was Alfred Adler.
The second most important figure in the Viennese circle, and the founder of individual psychology, Adler never considered himself a disciple of Freud. While Freud was an imposing, patrician type who had come from a highly educated background and lived in a fashionable district of Vienna, Adler was the plain-looking son of a grain merchant who had grown up on the city's outskirts. While Freud was known for his knowledge of the classical world and his collection of antiquities, Adler worked hard for better working-class health and education and for women's rights.
The pair's famous split occurred in 1911, after Adler had become increasingly annoyed with Freud's belief that all psychological issues were generated by repressed sexual feelings. A few years earlier Adler had published a book, Study of Organ Inferiority and Its Psychical Compensation,
which argued that people's perceptions of their own body and its shortcomings were a major factor in shaping their goals in life. Freud believed human beings to be wholly driven by the stirrings of the unconscious mind, but Adler saw us as social beings who create a style of life in response to the environment and to what we feel we lack. Individuals naturally strive for personal power and a sense of our own identity, but if healthy we also seek to adjust to society and make a contribution to the greater good. Compensating for weakness
Like Freud, Adler believed that the human psyche is shaped in early childhood, and that patterns of behavior remain remarkably constant into maturity. But while Freud focused on infantile sexuality, Adler was more interested in how children seek to increase their power in the world. Growing into an environment in which everyone else seems bigger and more powerful, every child seeks to gain what they need by the easiest route.
Adler is famous for his idea of "birth order," or where we come in a family. Youngest children, for instance, because they are obviously smaller and less
powerful than everyone else, will often try to "outstrip every other member of the family and become its most capable member." A fork in the developmental path leads a child either to imitate adults in order to become more assertive and powerful themselves, or consciously to display weakness so as to get adult help and attention.
In short, every child develops in ways that best allow them to compensate for weakness; "a thousand talents and capabilities arise from our feelings of inadequacy," Adler noted. A desire for recognition emerges at the same time as a sense of inferiority. A good upbringing should be able to dissolve this sense of inferiority, and as a result the child will not develop an unbalanced need to win at the expense of others. We might assume that a certain mental, physical, or circumstantial handicap we had in childhood was a problem, but what is an asset and what is a liability depends on the context. It is whether we perceive
a shortcoming to be such that matters most.
The psyche's attempt to banish a sense of inferiority will often shape someone's whole life; the person will try to compensate for it in sometimes extreme ways. Adler invented a term for this, the famous "inferiority complex." While a complex may make someone more timid or withdrawn, it could equally produce the need to compensate for that in overachievement. This is the "pathological power drive," expressed at the expense of other people and society generally. Adler identified Napoleon, a small man making a big impact on the world, as a classic case of an inferiority complex in action. How character is formed
Adler's basic principle was that our psyche is not formed out of hereditary factors but social influences. "Character" is the unique interplay between two opposing forces: a need for power, or personal aggrandizement; and a need for "social feeling" and togetherness (in German, Gemeinschaftsgefuhl).
The forces are in opposition, and each of us is unique because we all accept or reject the forces in different ways. For instance, a striving for dominance would normally be limited by a recognition of community expectations and vanity or pride is kept in check; however, when ambition or vanity takes over, a person's psychological growth comes to an abrupt end. As Adler dramatically put it, "The power-hungry individual follows a path to his own destruction."
When the first force, social feeling and community expectation, is ignored or affronted, the person concerned will reveal certain aggressive character traits: vanity, ambition, envy, jealousy, playing God, or greed; or nonaggressive traits: withdrawal, anxiety, timidity, or absence of social graces. When any of these forces gains the upper hand, it is usually because of deep-seated feelings of inadequacy. Yet the forces also create an intensity or tension that can give tremendous energy. Such people live "in the expectation of great triumphs" to
compensate for those feelings, but as a result of their inflated sense of self lose some sense of reality. Life becomes about the mark they will leave on the world and what others think of them. Though in their mind they are something of a heroic figure, others can see that their self-centeredness actually restricts their proper enjoyment of the possibilities of life. They forget that they are human beings with ties to other people. Enemies of society
Adler noted that vain or prideful people usually try to keep their outlook hidden, saying that they are simply "ambitious," or even more mildly "energetic." They may camouflage their true feelings in ingenious ways: To show that they are not vain, they may purposely pay less attention to dress or be overly modest. But Adler's piercing observation of the vain person was that everything in life comes down to one question: "What do I get out of this?"
Adler wondered: Is great achievement simply vanity put in the service of humankind? Surely self-aggrandizement is a necessary motivation in order to want to change the world, to be seen in a good light? His answer was that it isn't. Vanity plays little part in real genius, and in fact only detracts from the worth of any achievement. Really great things that serve humanity are not spurred into existence by vanity, but by its opposite, social feeling. We are all vain to some extent, but healthy people are able to leaven their vanity with contribution to others.
Vain people, by their nature, do not allow themselves to "give in" to society's needs. In their focus on achieving a certain standing, position, or object, they feel that they can shirk the normal obligations to the community or family that others take for granted. As a result, they usually become isolated and have poor relationships. So used to putting themselves first, they are expert at putting the blame on others.
Communal life involves certain laws and principles that an individual cannot get around. Each of us needs the rest of the community in order to survive both mentally and physically; as Darwin noted, weak animals never live alone. Adler contended that "adaptation to the community is the most important psychological function" that a person will master. People may outwardly achieve much, but in the absence of this vital adaptation they may feel like nothing and be perceived as such by those close to them. Such people, Adler said, are in fact enemies of society. Goal-striving beings
A central idea in Adlerian psychology is that individuals are always striving toward a goal. Whereas Freud saw us as driven by what was in our past, Adler had a teleological view—that we are driven by our goals, whether they are conscious or not. The psyche is not static but must be galvanized behind a
purpose—whether selfish or communal—and continually moves toward fulfillment of that. We live life by our "fictions" about the sort of person we are and the person we are becoming. By nature these are not always factually correct, but they enable us to live with energy, always moving toward something.
It is this very fact of goal directedness that makes the psyche almost indestructible and so resistant to change. Adler wrote: "The hardest thing for human beings to do is to know themselves and to change themselves." All the more reason, perhaps, for individual desires to be balanced by the greater collective intelligence of the community. Final comments
In highlighting the twin shaping forces of personal power and social feeling, Adler's intention was that by understanding them we would not be unknowingly shaped by them. In the vignettes of actual people presented in his book we may see something of ourselves: Perhaps we have cocooned ourselves in our family or community, forgetting the career dreams we once had; or maybe we see ourselves as a "king of the world," able to defy social convention at will. In both cases, there is an imbalance that will lead to restriction of our possibilities.
Much of Understanding Human Nature
reads more like philosophy than psychology, overloaded with generalizations about personal character that are anecdotal rather than empirical. This absence of scientific support is one of the main criticisms of Adler's work. However, notions such as the inferiority complex have become a part of everyday usage.
While both Freud and Adler had strong intellectual agendas to pursue, Adler had a more humble aim, influenced by his socialist leanings: a practical understanding of how childhood shapes adult life, which in turn might benefit society as a whole. Unlike the culturally elitist Freud, Adler believed that the work of understanding human nature should not be the preserve of psychologists alone but a vital task for everyone, given the bad consequences of ignorance. This approach to psychology was unusually democratic, and appropriately Understanding Human Nature
is based on a year's worth of lectures at the People's Institute of Vienna. It is a work that anyone can read and understand. Alfred Adler Adler was born in Vienna in 1879, the second of seven children. After a severe bout of pneumonia at the age of 5 and the death of a younger brother, he committed himself to becoming a doctor. He studied medicine at the University of Vienna and qualified in 1895. In 1898 he wrote a medical monograph on the health and working conditions experienced by tailors, and the following year met Sigmund Freud. Adler remained involved with the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society until 1911, but in 1912 broke away with eight others to form the Society of Individual Psychology. At this time he also published his influential
The Neurotic Constitution. Adler's career was put on hold during the First World War, when he worked in military hospital service, an experience that confirmed his antiwar stance. After the war, he opened the first of 22 pioneering clinics around Vienna for children's mental health. When the authorities closed the clinics in 1932 (because Adler was a Jew), he emigrated to the United States, taking up a professorship at the Long Island College of Medicine. He had been a visiting professor at Columbia University since 1927, and his public lectures in Europe and the US had made him well known. Adler died in 1937, suddenly of a heart attack. He was in Aberdeen, Scotland, as part of a European lecture tour. He was survived by his wife Raissa, whom he had married in 1897. They had four children. Other books include
The Science of Living, The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology, and the popular
What Life Could Mean to You.
1997 The Gift of Fear Like every creature, you can know when you are in the presence of danger. You have the gift of a brilliant internal guardian that stands ready to warn you of hazards and guide you through risky situations. ^Though we want to believe that violence is a matter of cause and effect, it is actually a process, a chain in which the violent outcome is only one link." For men like this, rejection is a threat to the identity, the persona, to the entire self, and in this sense their crimes could be called
murder in defense of
the self.r/ In a nutshell Trust your intuition, rather than technology, to protect you from violence. In a similar vein
Malcolm Gladwell Blink
Gavin de Beckerj j I I
e had probably been watching her for a while. We aren't sure— I I
but what we do know is that she was not his first victim." With I I
this creepy line The Gift of Fear
begins. The book outlines real-life stories of people who became victims, or almost became victims, of violence; in each case the person either listened to their intuition and survived, or did not and paid the consequences.
We normally think of fear as something bad, but de Becker tries to show how it is a gift that may protect us from harm. The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence
is about getting into other people's minds so that their actions do not come as a terrible surprise. Though this may be uncomfortable, particularly when it is the mind of a potential killer, it is better to do this than to find out the hard way.
Before he was 13 Gavin de Becker had seen more violence within his own home that most adults see in a lifetime. In order to survive, he had to become good at predicting what would happen next in frightening situations, and he made it his life's work to formularize the violent mindset so that others could also see the signs. De Becker became an expert in assessing the risk of violence, charged with protecting high-profile celebrity, government, and corporate clients, and also something of a spokesperson on domestic violence.
De Becker is not a psychologist, but his book gives more insights into the nature of intuition, fear, and the violent mind than you are ever likely to read in a straight psychology text. As gripping as a good crime novel, The Gift of Fear
may not just change your life—it could actually save it. Intuitive security
In the modern world, de Becker observes, we have forgotten to rely on our instincts to look after ourselves. Most of us leave the issue of violence up to the police and criminal justice system, believing that they will protect us, but often by the time we involve the authorities it is too late. Alternatively, we believe that better technology will protect us from danger; the more alarms and high fences we have, the safer we feel.
But there is a more reliable source of protection: our intuition or gut feeling. Usually we have all the information we need to warn us of certain people or situations; like other animals, we have an in-built warning system for danger. Dogs' intuition is much vaunted, but de Becker argues that in fact human beings have better intuition; the problem is that we are less prepared to trust it.
De Becker describes female victims of attacks who report: "Even though I knew what was happening leading up to the event was not quite right, I did not extract myself from it." Somehow, the attacker who helped them with their bags or got into the lift with them was able to make these women go along with what he wanted. De Becker suggests that there is a "universal code of violence" that most of us can automatically sense, yet modern life often has the effect of deadening our sensitivity. We either don't see the signals at all or we won't admit them.
Paradoxically, de Becker proposes that "trusting intuition is the exact opposite of living in fear." Real fear does not paralyze you, it energizes you, enabling you to do things you normally could not. In the first case he discusses, a woman had been trapped and raped in her own apartment. When her attacker said he was going into the kitchen, something told her to follow him on tiptoe, and when she did she saw him rifling through the drawers looking for a large knife—to kill her. She made a break for the front door and escaped. What is fascinating is her recollection of not being afraid. Real fear, because it involves our intuition, in fact is a positive feeling designed to save us. A violent streak in everyone
De Becker debunks the idea that there is a "criminal mind" separating certain people from the rest of us. Most of us would say that we can never kill another person, but then you usually hear the caveat: "Unless I was having to protect a loved one." We are all capable of criminal thoughts and even actions. Many murders are described as "inhuman," but surely, de Becker observes, they can't be anything but
human. If one person is capable of a particular act, under certain circumstances we may all be capable of that act. In his work, de Becker does not have the luxury of making distinctions like "human" and "monster." Instead, he looks for whether a person may have the intent or ability to harm. He concludes, "the resource of violence is in everyone; all that changes is our view of the justification." A chain, not an isolated act
Why do people commit violence? De Becker boils it down to four elements:
Justification—the person makes a judgment that they have been intentionally wronged.
Alternatives—violence seems like the only way forward to seek redress or justice.
Consequences—they decide they can live with the probable outcome of their violent act. For instance, a stalker may not mind going to jail as long he gets his victim.
Ability—they have confidence in their ability to use their body or bullets or a bomb to achieve their ends.
De Becker's team check through these "pre-incident indicators" when they have to predict the likelihood of violence from someone threatening a client. If we pay attention, he says, violence never "comes from nowhere." It is actually not very common for people to "snap" before they commit murder. Generally, de Becker remarks, violence is as predictable "as water coming to a boil."
What also helps in predicting violence is to understand it as a process,
"in which the violent outcome is only one link." While the police are looking for the motive, de Becker and his team are going deeper to find the history of violence or violent intent that usually precedes the act. The Gift of Fear
includes a chapter on spousal violence, noting that most spousal murder does not happen in the heat of the moment. It is usually a premeditated decision, preceded by the husband stalking his wife and sparked by the wife's rejection. For such men, being rejected is too great a threat to their sense of self and killing their partner seems the only way to restore their identity. De Becker reveals an alarming fact: Three-quarters of spousal murders happen after
the woman leaves the marriage. Knowing how to pick a psychopath
The features of predatory criminals usually include:
recklessness and bravado;
not being shocked at things that would appall other people;
being weirdly calm in conflict;
the need to be in control.
What is the best predictor of violent criminality? De Becker's experience is that a troubled or abusive childhood is an important factor. In a study into serial killers, 100 percent were found to have suffered violence themselves, been humiliated, or simply neglected as children. Robert Bardo, who shot and killed actress Rebecca Shaeffer, was kept in his room as a child and fed like the family pet. He never learnt to be sociable. Such people form a warped view of the world—at the public's expense.
Yet violent people can be very good at hiding the signals that they are psychopaths. They may studiously model normality so that they can at first appear to be "regular guys." Warning signals include:
They're too nice.
They talk too much and give us unnecessary details to distract us.
They approach us, never the other way around.
They typecast us or mildly insult us, in order to have us respond and engage with them.
They use the technique of "forced teaming," using the word "we" to make them and their victim seem like they are all in the same boat.
They find a way to help us so we feel in their debt (called "loan sharking").
They ignore or discount our "no." Never let someone talk you out of a refusal, because then they know they are in charge.
We don't have to lead paranoid lives—most of the things we worry about never happen—yet it is foolish to trust our home or office security system or the police absolutely. As it is people
who harm, de Becker notes, it is people we must understand. Inside the mind of the stalker The Gift of Fear
is riveting when de Becker is discussing public figures who are his clients and stalkers' attempts to get close to them. At any one time, a famous singer or actor may have three or four people after them, sending mountains of letters or trying to get through security. Only a small number of these stalkers actually want to kill their target (the rest believe they are in some kind of "relationship" with the star), but the common factor is a desperate hunger for recognition.
All of us want recognition, glory, significance to some extent, and in killing someone famous, stalkers themselves become famous. Mark Chapman and John Hinckley Jnr, for instance, are names forever linked with their targets, John Lennon and Ronald Reagan. To such people assassination makes perfect sense; it is a shortcut to fame, and psychotic people do not really care whether the attention they gain is positive or negative.
The image of a crazed person going after a movie star or president captures the public imagination, but de Becker wonders why are we so intrigued by celebrity stalkers, but are blase about the fact that, in the US alone, a woman is killed by a husband or boyfriend every two hours. Incidentally, he has little faith in restraining orders, which he says only intensify the situation. Violent people thrive on engagement, and if they are unbalanced anyway, a restraining order will not guarantee safety. Final comments The Gift of Fear
is a very American book, written within a cultural context of the rampant use of guns and a society that puts less emphasis than others on social cohesion. If you live in an English village or a Japanese city or even a quiet part of the United States, the book could seem a little paranoid. However, de Becker blames evening news reports for making his country seem a lot more dangerous than it actually is, noting that we have a much higher likelihood of dying from cancer or in a car accident than as a result of a violent attack by a stranger.
Since the attack on New York's World Trade Center in 2001 we have become obsessed with the possibility of random violence, but most attacks and homicides still occur in the home, and knowing the impending signs of
violence may save you from harm. In terms of personal safety, de Becker says that men and women live in two different worlds. Oprah Winfrey told her television audience that The Gift of Fear
"should be read by every woman in America."
In writing The Gift of Fear,
de Becker was influenced by three books in particular: FBI behavioral scientist Robert Ressler's Whoever Fights Monsters;
psychologist John Monahan's Predicting Violent Behavior;
and Robert D. Hare's Without Conscience,
which takes the reader into the minds of psychopaths. There is now a large literature on the psychology of violence, but de Becker's book is still a great place to start.Gavin de Becker De Becker is considered a pioneer in the field of threat assessment and the prediction and management of violence. His firm provides consultation and protection services to corporations, government agencies, and individuals. He headed the team that provided security for guests of President Reagan, and he has worked with the US Department of State on official visits of foreign leaders. He also developed the MOSAIC system for dealing with threats to US Supreme Court judges, senators, and congressman. De Becker has consulted on many legal cases, including the criminal and civil cases against O. J. Simpson. He is a senior fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Public Affairs, and has co-chaired the Domestic Violence Council Advisory Board. Other books include
Protecting the Gift, on the safety of children, and
Fear Less: Real Truth About Risk, Safety and Security in a Time of Terrorism.
Games People Play [The] marital game of 'Lunch Bag.'The husband, who can well afford to have lunch at a good restaurant, nevertheless makes himself a few sandwiches every morning, which he takes to the office in a paper bag. In this way he uses up crusts of bread, leftovers from dinner and paper bags his wife saves for him. This gives him complete control over the family finances, for what wife would dare buy herself a mink stole in the face of such self-sacrifice?" Father comes home from work and finds fault with daughter, who answers impudently, or daughter may make the first move by being impudent, whereupon father finds fault. Their voices rise, and the clash becomes more acute... There are three possibilities: (a) father retires to his bedroom and slams the door; (b) daughter retires to her bedroom and slams the door; (c) both retire to their respective bedrooms and slam the doors. In any case, the end of a game of 'Uproar' is marked by a slamming door."