Discover more from DrV’s Newsletter, Notes, Essays, Articles, Videos, and Book Chapters
Books for Psychological Insight, Clarity
"...No selection can do justice to the work as a whole, and that any selection must to a greater or less extent be a simplification and thus to some extent a falsification of it." R. J. Hollingdale
I’ve read some good and bad books, many technical-scientific-medical books and perhaps an equal number of books in literature, psychology and philosophy. Here is a short listing and sampling of the books that have impressed me most over the past ~25 years.
"...No selection can do justice to the work as a whole, and that any selection must to a greater or less extent be a simplification and thus to some extent a falsification of it." R. J. Hollingdale in his A Nietzsche Reader
Are You Confused by Paavo Airola: OK, this book predates my “past 25 years” criteria because I read it 35 years ago, when I was roughly 16 years old; with a few exceptions and errors, this is probably one of the most important and insightful health books ever written. MegaNutrients for Your Nerves by HL Newbold also impressed me greatly when I read it in 1992 at the start of my graduate studies.
The Social Animal by Elliot Aronson: I first read this in 1992 and then repurchased a newer edition in 2019; this is a classic must-read book for insights into social psychology and psychosociology, for understanding how people behave within the context of groups, eg, why people become more violent when they have access to the means for violence (ie, guns). I read part of White Racism: A Psychohistory by Joel Kovel for a sociology course around this same time and was so repulsed by it that I needed another 25 years before I realized how right he was and then purchased a personal copy of the book.
The Naive Male by Robert Bly: Insightful, poetic, and breathtaking. Listening to this audio-cassette was like reading my own (auto)biography when I was in my early 20s. Links: betterlisten.com/products/the-naive-male-by-robert-bly and scribd.com/audiobook/396432998/The-Naive-Male
The Sibling Society (book) and Where have all the Parents Gone? (audio-cassette) by Robert Bly: In his characteristic mythopoetic style, Bly describes the collapse of adulthood—which he foreshadowed in his Iron John—forecasted our current situation of “living in a world of half-adults” and how we could have avoided the infantilization of adulthood that has left us too weak and disconnected to steward our own communities. As he said in Men and the Life of Desire, “No-one wants to be a great artist. No-one wants to be a leader anymore, which is why anyone with the mind of a nitwit can take control over the entire nation.” I will also give honorable mention to The Wounded Male by Steven Farmer which is the most memorable book that I never read; I recall clearly reading only the first section of the book which I was highlighting and underlining with such consistency that entire pages were marked and yellow. The audio-cassette version of John Bradshaw’s Healing the Shame that Binds You and other works by James Hillman, Michael Meade, Malidoma Some, and John Lee would also fit in this era and genre.
*BOOM LIFE-CHANGING* Giants of Philosophy: Nietzsche by Professor Richard Schacht: Written by Professor Richard Schacht and narrated by Charleton Heston, this is the most illuminating brilliant clear (albeit with some hyperbole) Mozart-effecting audio presentation I’ve ever heard, at least at the time, but probably in my entire life. I purchased this audio-cassette while biking along the Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle in 1999, and I’ve probably listened to it hundreds of times in various formats. NOTE: The audio-cassette is the complete version and has more information and details than do the digital/CD/mp3 versions. Professor Schacht actually sent me a personal copy of the typed manuscript. Link: learnoutloud.com/Catalog/Philosophy/Philosophers/Friedrich-Nietzsche/20525
Friedrich Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" read by Alex Jennings with Jon Cartwright: Among the most brilliant (albeit abridged) productions I’ve ever encountered: naxosaudiobooks.com/thus-spoke-zarathustra-abridged
Creating the Work You Love by Rick Jarow: Excellent encouragement to create a life that feels right and functions for you/me rather than creating a life that is merely “successful” or impressive; I think he says in the book something to the effect, “Instead of asking yourself what you want to do with your life, ask yourself how you want to be in your life—how you want to feel.”
Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Brandon: I bought this “just for the heck of it” to listen to while I was doing chores at home, and found it to be absolutely clear and brilliant (with minor exception of a few of his vignettes). His Psychology of Self-Esteem is also very good.
In Sheep's Clothing by George Simon: I bought the book twice and the audio version 2-3 times; excellent book that taught me how to identify and escape from manipulative people in my personal life and professional career: See them and leave them because you cannot change them!
Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: Let’s face it: Rand’s Fountainhead is a modernization of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and her bitterness about her intellectual plagiarism is probably why she insulted Nietzsche in the preface. Nonetheless, Rand’s Fountainhead is brilliantly written and amazingly insightful, even if selectively read and interpreted by many people to simply be a justification for soulless capitalism, which it obviously is not. Most people who read it are 1) exposed to it in high school, ie, too young, and 2) read only the first sections and then determine that the book is about being independently wealthy before they actually read the entire book wherein at the end of the book she condemns both power-seeking and money-seeking.
Links and Samples
Here are some links and samples to some of the works mentioned above; all of these were readily found on social media and are posted/hosted by other parties so are subject to change/removal, etc. You can search the internet for samples and sources for the books/tapes mentioned above. In several cases, the authors are now dead and/or the audio-cassette versions are no longer available.
Dr Alex Kennerly Vasquez (introduction; brief Bio-CV) writes and teaches for an international audience on various topics ranging from leadership to nutrition to functional inflammology. Major books include Inflammation Mastery, 4th Edition (full-color printing, 1182 pages, equivalent to 25 typical books [averaging 60,000 words each]), which was also published in two separate volumes as Textbook of Clinical Nutrition and Functional Medicine (Volume 1: Chapters 1-4; Volume 2: Chapter 5—Clinical Protocols for Diabetes, Hypertension, Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Vasculitis, Dermatomyositis and most other major inflammatory/autoimmune disorders); several sections have been excerpted including Antiviral Strategies and Immune Nutrition (ISBN 1502894890) (aka, Antiviral Nutrition [available as PDF download] and Brain Inflammation in Chronic Pain, Migraine, and Fibromyalgia. Dr Vasquez’s books are available internationally via bookstores such as BookDepository, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, ThriftBooks, AbeBooks, BetterWorldBooks, WaterStonesBooks and his new Telegram channel is https://t.me/DrAlexVasquez.