From The New England Journal of Medicine
This book is a comprehensive survey of theories about the workings of our minds. Theodore Millon, a well-respected psychologist and prolific writer, has divided his enterprise into seven kinds of "stories": philosophical, humanitarian, neuroscientific, psychoanalytic, psychoscientific, sociocultural, and "personologic." He covers the history of each subject area, often beginning with ancient Greece or Egypt, and writes with an encyclopedic knowledge of all subsequent time periods. These histories are followed by his commentary and reflections. A striking feature of the book, as suggested by the title, is the inclusion of capsule biographies of the many people who have contributed to this field. Nearly 90 portraits, drawn by Millon or his daughter, accompany the biographies. Millon knows many contemporary experts in psychology, and his descriptions of most of them are often personal and highly complimentary. These descriptions, along with the portraits, make the book pleasant and accessible. Millon's steadily cheerful tone is tempered by his gloom in the last few pages, which concern the post-9/11 world. Millon's professional interests lie in the area of the taxonomy of personality disorders, and studies of personality take up a fair amount of this book. He also describes multiple schools of psychotherapy. Readers with a medical background may be disappointed that there is relatively little information about the disorders of the mind that occupy so much clinical time, such as substance abuse and dementia. Perhaps this lack reflects the relative youth of these fields. Readers familiar with the fields covered in this survey will not find anything particularly controversial or provocative. The breadth of the book does not allow Millon to go into detail on any topic, and he is too generous and appreciative a scholar to stir up controversy by deriding anyone's theories. His division of the subject into seven rather arbitrarily defined areas and his historical coverage of each topic mean that there is a certain amount of repetition. Who are the "masters of the mind"? At the risk of being invidious, but to help clarify the scope of this book and Millon's interests, here is a rough count of who merits the most pages or references in the index: Sigmund Freud is far ahead of the pack; following him, in chronological order, are Hippocrates, Philippe Pinel, Charles Darwin, Ivan Pavlov, Emil Kraepelin, Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, and Carl Rogers. Are we making much progress in understanding ourselves? What determines our behavior -- genetics, learning, or experience? How do these various factors interact? People interested in a warm and remarkably well informed historical discussion of these questions will enjoy this book. Frances R. Frankenburg, M.D.
Copyright © 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved. The New England Journal of Medicine is a registered trademark of the MMS.
A magnificent work from an author who is, himself, a master of the mind. — Raymond D. Fowler, Ph.D. (Past President and former CEO of the American Psychological Association)
Sweeping in scope and truly impressive in its scholarship, Millon’s text traces historical developments and identifies the thinkers and scientists who from antiquity to the present time have shaped contemporary understanding of how the mind works. This captivating and informative volume will be appreciated and valued by all readers interested in the history of ideas. —Irving B. Weiner, Ph.D. (University of South Florida)
Wide ranging, cohesive and imminently readable, Theodore Millon’s Masters of the Mind is a tour de force from one of the world’s leading psychologists....a major touchstone for all those interested in these fascinating stories of mental disorders and the search for systems to understand and treat [them]. —Jeffrey J. Magnavita, Ph.D. (Connecticut Center for Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy)
A fascinating, informative, comprehensive, broad-minded, brilliant and perceptive tour of the universe of views of mental function and dysfunction, this book helps the reader understand contributions from nearly every conceivably relevant discipline throughout history. Himself, a long time advocate and practitioner of creative and integrative theory supported by data (as well as measurement techniques designed to generate such data), Millon provides enlightening commentary at the end of each chapter as well as in an epilogue at the end of the book. After reviewing a breathtaking array of perspectives, he offers a simple but profound suggestion for how to put it together. "Intrinsic unity cannot be invented.. by arbitrary efforts to synthesize disparate and disjunctive theoretical schemas... The natural sythesis.. inheres within patients themselves." In this wisdom, he urges all of us - clinicians, theorists and researchers alike – to stay close to the data offered !by real persons- whole human beings seen in the broad array of contexts marked by Millon in this amazing and wonderful book I shall ask that all of my trainees read and re-read it, whether they are still in professional schools, or returning for continuing education. — Lorna Smith Benjamin, Ph.D.(University of Utah)