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Masters of the Mind: Exploring the Story of Mental Illness from Ancient Times to the New Millennium Hardcover – Aug 6 2004

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Current theories and known facts about personality and behavior are the product of a long and continuing history of human curiosity and achievement (Millon, 1969). Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Awesome one-of-a-kind history of psychology! Aug. 22 2004
By Doctor Robert - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a true lifelong student of psychology and the mind, you have got to read this book. It truly is the most comprehensive, interesting, and honest history of clinical psychology available today.

Among the best features of the book is its honest and inspiring look at the multiple perspectives which abound in today's psychology and how they can be traced to ancient times. The ancient/sacred, neuroscience, psychoanalytic, cognitive, behavioral, gestalt, humanistic and socio-cultural perspectives are all traced and detailed. Millon avoids disparaging each perspective. Instead, he shares the strengths and weaknesses in the words and actions of the scientists and philosophers whose works represent the critical thoughts in each area.

While it is difficult to read more than one chapter at a time (it is that comprehensive and detailed), a chapter a day will certainly make for an excellent review of psychology for a good two weeks. In fact, the last two weeks have been remarkably educational. (I decided to read this book during a two week break from graduate classes).

For each perspective, Millon follows a three stage process of detailing its hisory. First, he offers a summary and review of the major historical movements within the perspective. Then, a detailed history (person by person, country by country) is proffered. Finally, Millon offers his own unique and insightful commentary. Millon and his daughter's own artwork (portraits of key scientists and philosophers) provide helpful context. In addition, each scientist's contributions are shared in concert with a brief biography. Finally, in those cases where Millon actually met or worked with one of the psychologists, he shares his own observations. For example, Beck truly does appear to be a nice guy, while Ellis appears truly narcissistic and arrogant.

I'll admit that the average reader may find Millon's style, at times, difficult. He loves to use big words and assumes some level of prior understanding of psychological constructs. However, as a psychology instructor and student, I found his book enlightening, interesting, at times funny, and many times educational. The book offered incredible food for my college lectures and inspired me to continue to hold on to a multi-perspective, eclectic view of the cause of mental illness. It truly appears likely from history that a multi-perspective view is most consistent with a view of humans as complex with behaviors that could result from the interaction of numerous causes.

That's just my opinion...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Masters of the Mind: Exploring the Story of Mental Illness from Ancient Times to the New Millenium Oct. 20 2013
By Dawn B. - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite books. I typically write about psych topics for college, so it has become an invaluable part of my growing collection. This book is fascinating, informative, comprehensive--a truly magnificent work. I would love to see a newer edition to include the past decade.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent & insightful May 11 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a significant contribution to the field of psychology. The skillful weaving together of so many diverse, conflicting, but interdependent views is a daunting task that I think is well executed. However - when Millon discusses Millon in the third person, there is something quite peculiar going on. Then, in the section on Marsha Linehan, when Millon, for no logical reason that I can deduce, continues his commentary on Millon . . . You don't need to be a psychologist to appreciate the foible on display for all to see, but it helps. It also makes me feel much better about my own foibles.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
To keep handy Nov. 1 2011
By Old_doc - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a great book to follow the time line of thoughts about Mental Illness. It is a great book for academics/ researchers in the field. It is not an easy reading, but all in all it is a "must have" for people in the mental health field and also interested in history.