The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry
While I wouldn't say it's a good way to learn the theories themselves, it's an indispensible tome for understanding their underlying context. Ellenberger presents depth psychology in its most classic sense. Beginning the chronological narrative with a foray into ancient traditions and shamanism, he ties together distant historical threads into a sharp image of the development of depth psychological perspectives. He provides a refreshingly sober summary and analysis of the life-story of Freud, Adler, and Jung, touching on hundreds of works and authors along the way. His book is a prime example of how "context" can be as valuable as the "content" itself.
Ellenberger, H. F. (1970). The discovery of the unconscious: The history and evolution of dynamic psychiatry.
The Origins and History of Consciousness
A monumental corpus of Analytical Psychology. Following the metaphor that "[psychological] ontogeny is a modified recapitulation of phylogeny," through disorienting stretches of historical, religious and symbolic analysis, Neumann paints a total developmental picture, milestoned with stunning blocks of abstract delineations of robust psychological patterns, which tie together Jung's model "in the way he wished he had managed." A strong knowledge of Analytical Psychology and of history are necessary to follow critically, and much of the book is, for most people, "inaccessibly Jungian" in its terminology, but if one is willing to translate Jungianism into modern, atheoretical psychological terminology, it contains many singular paragraphs of unmatched summation of the dynamics of the psyche.
Neumann, E. (1949). The origins and history of consciousness. Princeton University Press.
A Hunter-gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life
I was greatly frustrated by this book. I have followed their work for over a year and found that when I took a critical view of their book, I remained completely unconvinced by their arguments, and unimpressed with the way they are laid out, even though I knew from the time I'd spent following them that: (1) they were "right" (held the primary hypotheses with the best predictive power and transtheoretical concilliation), and (2) were capable of seriously in-depth critical research analysis and powerfully insightful argumentation. I'm not sure why the book didn't convey all that to me. I think part of it is due to already knowing everything they were going to say, and part of it is because it was written, apparently, to much more lay audiences than their usual content is. Given these being my reasons for not enjoying the book, I still would highly recommend the book to anyone interested in understanding the implications of evolutionary theory, which are manifold, and relevant to everyone. In that regard, there's almost nothing that competes. As an accessible walkthrough of the evolutionary effects of our current modes of behavior on health and wellbeing, it is great for the uninducted. For those who have already investigated the topic, you'll find that most, not all, but most, of the recommendations are ones you've already heard of, e.g. avoid blue light in the evening, don't eat in a manner your ancestors never could have dreamed of, etc. The book does present a few easily grippable novel evolutionary concepts for one's "evolutionary toolkit," and applies evolutionary recommendations at more abstract levels as well. Should you know what's in this book? Absolutely without a doubt, if you don't, you're missing a key portion of the picture. Should this book be precisely where you learn it? Not if you have a better option.
Heying, H., & Weinstein, B. (2021). A Hunter-gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life. Penguin.
Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief
There is no better way of understanding Jungian psychology, or perhaps clinical psychology itself, than to understand this book. I have never seen any other paragraph written in the manner this entire book is written: double embedded parentheticals, frequent em-dash interjections, and the most painstakingly, relentlessly, hearteningly precise phrasing at all times. It is not an easy book. It is neither easy to understand, nor pleasant at all times when you've done so. A first portion of the book details the neurophysiology underlying his model, it then transitions into further expanding upon the model and revealing it within historical religious perspectives, and finally shades into philosophical, psychological takeaways of the model, and its implication for personal and societal ethics, religion, psychological development, and existence as a species. The author said it took him 15 years to write, and another 15 just to figure out how to explain it – which is both evident and justifiable to anyone who has read it. Within a few years of "figuring out how to explain it," he exploded into global fame. As a model, Maps of Meaning trumps any of the classic pillars of clinical theory alone, and as a unificationist model it incorporates evolutionary theory, neuroscience, humanism, thorough existentialism, and depth psychological theory across the board, and buttresses and develops beyond the fundamental cognitive-behavioral approaches we see researched today. Bursting at the seams with citations in neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, religion, and classical literature in its over 500 pages of small print, large page writing—interspersed with a progressively complexifying and refining visual schematic model of the psyche—this book ought to have sparked a new generation of psychotherapy, and perhaps it has done so – just, outside the therapy office.
Peterson, J. B. (1999). Maps of meaning: The architecture of belief.
A Clinical Introduction to Freud
Many presentations of Freud's ideas look and sound so unlike what Freud actually wrote that it can be quite confusing where they got that understanding of him from. This book is not like that. It is evident from the outset that Fink has collected a heavy-weight summary of Freudian ideas, emphasizing, for instance, "tracing the story of a symptom to its origins" as a primary dictum of Freudian analysis, not misbegotten (whether Freud's fault or not) interpretations of the Oedipus Complex. Freud, despite his genius and insight, is not easy to read. His ideas are provocative, and his presentation squirrely and inconsistent (beyond what should be expected of a lifelong thinker). Fink's presentation effectively clears away the deciduous aspects of Freud's presentation of his ideas, and offers an impressive synopsis of Freud's most useful ideas, as much as his most presumptively misled.
Fink, B. (). A clinical introduction to Freud.
On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy
The first word that comes to mind with Rogers' writing is "refreshing." Any of Rogers' books are freeing, humanizing, deep, and highly informative on emotional expression and meek, clear, helpful perception of oneself and others. Neither Rogers' model nor his writing is overly complex, and throughout is accessible. However, what Rogers' attempts in his writing is no simple task. He attempts a deceptively difficult abstractive feat: to boil a humanistic person-centered therapy approach into just three basic concepts. Obviously, this is something he worked on for a long time, but it appears that his formulation was founded on an imperfect parsing of concepts, which led to a misleading presentation of his third principle "acceptance." Psychoanalytically, we can deduce this from the fact that his verbal descriptions of the principle buckle down into metaphor far more than for the other two principles, indicating difficulty to nail the concept down to something concrete. I suspect the problem is that, f kontsé kontsóf ("in the end of ends"), the third principle is, as he has said at times, really more of a humanist philosophy distillation or catchall, than a bare, unitary attitude like the other two. As a result, one's humanist philosophy, and the process they use to distill that philosophy, produces variance in the interpretation, emphasis, and boundaries of the third concept. Despite this, I feel confident that this book, and many of his others, serves as an excellent introduction to clinical psychology theory and practice, is accessible to all interested audiences, and benefits the lay reader quickly and deeply. As a result, either this book or his very similar other, A Way of Being, is my go-to first book recommendation.
Rogers, C. R. (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist's view of psychotherapy.
An Outline of Psycho-analysis
Freud, S. (1938). An outline of psycho-analysis.
Jung, C. G. (2010). Dreams:(From Volumes 4, 8, 12, and 16 of the Collected Works of CG Jung)(New in Paper). Princeton University Press.
Man and His Symbols
Jung, C. G. (1964). Man and his symbols.
Two Essays on Analytical Psychology
Contains "Relations between the Ego and the Unconscious," a difficult treatise which is essentially incomprehensible without a confident understanding of the practical meaning of abstract Jungian terms. When I say incomprehensible, I'm referring to inability to form actual understanding. Jungian texts allow a great deal of ingestion without digestion, whereby the reader incorporates (which is the wrong term, because it implies being made part of the body, when here I mean merely made part of the mind), visuo-poetic abstractions into a dynamic conceptual model whose relationship to the phyiscal, practical, and "common-sense" becomes anything but guaranteed.
The section appears, in my estimation, to address the difficulty in balancing one's identity between the adoption of a grand narrative, a project of great importance, an adventure of one's life, such that life is existentially justified at an affective level, and safe-guarding oneself from the skewing of perspective, the delusions of grandeur, the human-disconnect, that this can entail. This is just one of multiple disparate discussions occuring in an undisambiguated manner due to the messy over-encapsulation of "archetypes" as a conceptual and linguistic term.
Jung, C. G. (2014). Two essays on analytical psychology.
Modern Man in Search of a Soul
Jung, C. G. (1931). Modern man in search of a soul.
The Interpretation of Dreams
Freud, S. (1899). The interpretation of dreams. (A. A. Brill, Trans.).
The Undiscovered Self: With Symbols and the Interpretation of Dreams (Vol. 37)
Jung, C. G. (1961). The undiscovered self: With symbols and the interpretation of dreams (Vol. 37).
Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego
Freud, S. (1989). Group psychology and the analysis of the ego.
Carl Rogers on Encounter Groups
Rogers, C. R. (1970). Carl Rogers on encounter groups.
A Way of Being
Rogers, C. R. (1995). A way of being.
Depth Psychology and a New Ethic
Neumann, E., & Rolfe, E. (1969). Depth psychology and a new ethic.
Sex and Fantasy: Patterns of Male and Female Development
May, R. (1980). Sex and fantasy: Patterns of male and female development.
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
Peterson, J. B. (2018). 12 rules for life: An antidote to chaos.


The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got It All Wrong—and How Eating More Might Save Your Life
Dr. DiNicolantonio, like some of the other authors in this list, has appeared on podcasts and demonstrated his knowledge in conversation. There, his formidability on the topic is apparent. While the book's argument structure leaves elegance to be a bit desired, it does a practical job of demonstrating a very large amount of research. The book spans the necessary topics to grasp the full picture, and even provides practical prescriptions for taking advantage of the implications of his conclusions, such as taking doses of 1/2 teaspoon of salt before a workout, or even, on a hotter day, a full teaspoon. While I don't find his presentation of the arguments wildly convincing, I do believe the arguments themselves and their core conclusions are the reigning hypotheses by a large margin, and as such, have been following his recommendations for years. Information from outside his book further supports his prescriptions. While no ultimate model of hydration, salt, and water is pristinely clear from this presentation, he does outline a better model than the "salt dehydrates you, water hydrates you" model that many people are running, a model which is at least in some contexts recognized to be not only false, but dangerous, such as in extreme heat, where chugging pure freshwater is not enough. It's evident from the current spread of medical opinion that the majority of people, even in professional positions, are essentially making up their model based on poor or no information, and coming to conclusions that are face-invalid when cross referenced with other theoretical contexts (e.g. evolutionary theory). For instance, prevalent health recommendations for hydration do not mention electrolytes much more than those in sports drinks (which have, across the board, with the exception of LiquidIV style packets, less than a tenth of a substantive amount of electrolytes in them), whereas the treatment for severe dehydration involves the use of IV fluids, composed of a saline solution: water and bona fide sodium chloride—salt. Medical professionals in the ambulance appear to hold understanding directly at odds with that of the medical professionals in the primary physician's office. DiNicolantonio, however, brings this context into scope, and provides an important evolutionary history that solidifies high salt intake as the current primary hypothesis for optimal health and functioning.
DiNicolantonio, J. (2020). The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got It All Wrong—and How Eating More Might Save Your Life.


Goethe (1994). Faust I & II (Vol. 2). Princeton University Press.
Orwell, G. (1948). 1984.
Animal Farm
Orwell, G. (2021). Animal farm. Oxford University Press.
Brave New World
Huxley, A. (). Brave new world.
Пикник на обочине
Аркадий и Борис Стругацкие (1972). Пикник на обочине.

History & Atrocity

The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine
Fitzharris, L. (2017). The Butchering Art.
Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland
I recommend this book to understand the details of what leads a person to becoming a Nazi executioner. One thing worth knowing is that the soldiers were given the choice to opt out of the early directives to execute certain portions of a captured city. Few did, out of shame for the idea of "leaving their compatriots to have to do the dirty work." Camaraderie. Dutifulness. Civic concern. Not hatred, at least not at first. Hatred became useful to shield themselves from the affective alarms to their own actions, but at first they were deeply remorseful—horrified—but trying not to "shirk their responsibility." It turns out it's actually not that easy to execute someone in cold blood—you have to practice and learn how to do it right. What does this teach us about the character necessary to prevent such atrocities? Perhaps that character has less a flavor of kindness and selflessness, and more of brutalistic, personal honesty, at odds with "the community."
Browning, C. (1992). Ordinary men: Reserve police battalion 101 and the final solution in Poland.
The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II
This book is recommended as a right of passage. Its contents are horrifying enough to make one nauseous.
Chang, I. (1997). The rape of nanking: The forgotten holocaust of world war II.
Panzram: A Journal of Murder
An autobiographical daily journal written by a serial rapist, murderer, arsonist etc. As a psychological education, few pieces of writing could possibly be better for grounding an existentialist theory. Evil lies in bed with resentment. The stronger the resentment, the more the personality is pulled towards identification with Satan, rather than some hypothetical good. This is not a metaphor. If you read the writings of mass murderers, they are frequently highly religious. They just feel that they ought to be on the side of Evil. Panzram's personality was possessed of a spirit (a psychophysiological organizing principality, a subpersonality), so to speak, a spirit which comes with its own feelings, actions, and explicit philosophy, which advocated such ideas as "Humans are fundamentally evil, even me; it would be better if no one [survived from me]" or describing his travels, "I've been all over the world and seen it all, and I don't like what I've seen of it" or his first murder "I pointed the gun at him right between the horns and pulled the trigger." or describing his, by this point, well-established identity as "190 pounds of rotten hell-wrought steel imbued with all manner of satanic meanness possible." Panzram felt he had "the good beaten out of him" in his repeatedly sexually-abused childhood, and those beatings came from a variety of sources, from parents, to authority figures, to strangers. There is much to learn from this book about what it means to be a good person, given that the roots of such "spiritual" warping are present in all of us. One thing to point out is that, although he was deeply untrusting, he reported having glimpses (as if yearning to have a revelation of his opposite) where someone's earnest, kind treatment, would bend him a bit, even just months before his execution. The severity of his "condition", unfortunately, led any slight breach in that budding relation to result in total dismissal of the person, the relationship, and any hope in good that had been gestating within it. He placed himself as judge of Being, and tortured and killed in the name of "Justice."
Gaddis, T. E. (2002). Panzram: A journal of murder.
The Road to Wigan Pier
A great insight into the day to day life of people living in an industrializing nation, the contrast between that life and today. It ends with an essay on what some takeaways might be about that poverty, and how the political movements of the time should react.
Orwell, G. (1937). The road to wigan pier.