5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Edward S. Brown
- Published on Amazon.com
Eminent psychologist Alfred Adler's (1870-1937), "Understanding Human Nature" is a ground- breaking book outlining the dynamics, psychology and neurosis of human nature. For me, Adler's salient point in his "Individual Psychology" is that we are all slaves to our motivations. Whatever, driving need within all of us, move us to act in fulfilling that need. Adler says,"...A change of attitude in adult life need not necessarily lead to a change of behavior pattern. The psyche does not change its foundation; the individual retains the same tendencies in childhood and in maturity, leading us to deduce that her goal in life is unaltered." (P.4) He further asserts, "A person's mental life is determined by his goals. No human being can think, feel, wish, or dream without all these activities being determined, continued, modified and directed toward an ever-present objective." (P. 15).
Adler's conceptual framework served me well in constructing my model on charisma. Whether you witness the magnetism of President Barack Obama, the magnanimity of Oprah Winfrey or the altruism of Bono, they are all moved by their compelling drives and motivation, which are all self-serving.
Adler cut through the chase in defining the human psyche that was de-mystifying in ways that eclipsed Sigmund Freud. Although contemporaries, Adler's contribution to psychology seems much more visceral and pragmatic than that of Freud.
I highly recommend "Understanding Human Nature" as a timeless tome more
relevant today than a century ago.
Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a great book -- one of the early attempts to understand human nature in the framework of scientific inquiry rather than philosophy, religion, or metaphysics. I read it in the first Fawcett edition (Fawcett Premier Book). This little paperback is in a small font that I find difficult. But I'm rating the ideas more than the format. The most significant contribution of the book is summarized in this quotation: "No one can lift himself above society, demonstrate his power over his fellows, without simultaneously arousing the opposition of others who want to prevent his success. ... Finally, we come rationally to a thesis which we have felt intuitively: the law of the equality of all human beings. This law may not be broken without immediately producing opposition and discord. it is one of the fundamental laws of human society."
The book was first published in 1927 -- this was the era of the Great Physicists. Adler seems to me much influenced by the classical physics of his day and preceding generations. His aim appears to me to be the establishment of "laws" in the relatively new science of sociology similar to those established by Newton and others for the hard sciences. He doesn't seem to be aware (as many still aren't a century later) that those "laws" had already been transcended by the contemporary physicists of his time.