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Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves Paperback – April 17, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham; Reprint edition (April 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592403417
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592403417
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Jungian psychologist Hollis turns the whole why-bad-things-happen-to-good-people question around and asks, instead, why good people often do such horrible things. Exploring the notion of the Shadow, Jung's term to describe the hidden aspects of ourselves--the parts that contradict the self we show the rest of the world, the dark side of our personality--Hollis suggests that we can only become whole (and good) by acknowledging our Shadow and accepting that it's OK to have a dark side, as long as we never let it take control of who we are. The prose is a little stodgy, and some readers might find the book feels a little too similar to others in the psychological self-help genre, but finally the similarities are only superficial. The difference between this book and most of the slick self-helpers is that Hollis has some genuinely important, meaningful things to say. A thoughtful book, well worth the concentration involved in reading it. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Everyone seems to be obsessing about the monetary cost of the graying of the American population, but there’s very little talk of the soul. James Hollis...has plenty to say about the soul …erudite and cultured but also accessible. -- The Portland Tribune

Nourishing. . . . Like a master chef, James Hollis knows that good food for the soul cannot be ordered to go. -- The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

[Hollis] speaks to and teaches from the heart. A combination of genuine vision and genuine humanity is a rare and valuable gift... -- Clarissa Pinkola Estés, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves

[James Hollis] is one of our great teachers and healers. -- Stephen Dunn, Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

James Hollis has a private analytic practice and is the executive director of the Jung Educational Center.

Customer Reviews

Very well written and easy to read.
A. Lazare
I tried to read this book at the same time as the book "Why Good People Do Bad Things" by Debbie Ford and I didn't like it at all.
O. Popoola
This is one of the most powerful and life-altering books I have ever read.
Steve

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 113 people found the following review helpful By William Timothy Lukeman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The title might lead a casual reader to dismiss this as just one more lightweight self-help book -- but that's not the case, not in the least! As with Hollis' earlier books, it's a psychologically & philosophically rich examination of the human soul, offering no easy answers, no magic solutions, no simplistic aphorisms in place of real insight. If you truly want to understand your life & its choices, then you have to be willing to do some difficult & often painful emotional work. And that's something few of us are eager to do.

Which leads us to the question: do you want to grow, to become more fully conscious, to strive towards wholeness? If so, you'll have to discard protective illusions, stop expecting someone else to solve everything for you, and apply an almost ruthless honesty to yourself. You won't like a lot of what you see in that dark mirror, and you'll try to fend it off, explain it away ... but that's our mistake. If we can acknowledge the part we unconsciously play in our own suffering, we may well learn how to alleviate some of it & live with what remains.

Mind you, Hollis never promises an end to suffering, a wondrous makeover that does away with every ugly scar & thought! He has too much respect for the tragic view of human life to hold up an illusion of perfect happiness, no matter how golden & comforting. He's very clear on this: what we need isn't happiness, but meaning. And to find it, we have to be willing to grapple with the Shadow, all that we fear & despise about ourselves, all that we reject & often project onto others.

I feel that this is one of Hollis' finest books, in that it possesses an extra depth & richness of insight.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Steve VINE VOICE on November 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most powerful and life-altering books I have ever read. There are insights on practically every page and the depth of understanding of the human mind that Dr. Hollis brings is extraordinary.
During a period of difficulty in my life which I am still working through, I stumbled upon this book. The title caught my eye but I was anticipating a Dr. Phil-ish over-simplification of human behavior full of soft answers and plenty of upbeat self-affirmations. I was stunned to find how wrong I was. Dr. Hollis examines not only the individual but how the individual creates the society that begets the evils mankind has brought upon himself over the millennia. I found myself stopping and re-reading passages constantly and because of the profundity on nearly every page, it took me quite a while to finish. Reading a chapter was an exhausting endeavor that challenged me with hours of thought-provoking reflection time just to try and wrap my head around the myriad observations that Hollis provides. In my cynicism, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop - the point at which the author wraps up all of these conundrums with one universal solution, naturally his solution that you have to buy the book to discover. Thankfully, there was no such moment. As anyone knows who has taken the time to really look deep into the darkness within, there are no easy answers in life and no slate cleaning cure-alls that make life better and wipe away the misery. Life is hard. Knowing who you are and why you do what you do just might allow you to avoid the mistakes we all seem determined to re-visit. Still, it remains in our hands to decide and throughout each day we are faced with choices. That is the struggle of our life.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer (female) on December 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I cannot write that this is the finest book of Dr. Hollis, because having read all but two of his books during the last year, I can only write that every single word, which I have read so far from this man, is fine.
I feel blessed and very grateful for having discovered his writings.
His words are like a balm on many of my wounds.
Through the reading of Dr. Hollis' books, I have learned to go beyond mere acceptance of difficult situations in life to a place of forgiveness, which I had not known before.
This and all the other books of Dr. Hollis can help people to transform and to become more gentle-hearted, because they offer explanations for many questions. Not solutions, though. But - at least for me - explanations were what I had been looking for for many years.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Richard William Ray on March 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hollis always tackles the hard stuff. He offers you the opportunity of awareness without easy standard "self-help" answers. All of his books are worth reading. This one is outstanding.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mary Jane Hurley Brant on November 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
In his book, Dr. Hollis shows us ourselves in this powerful book for unless we find the beam in our own eye we will project it onto another. This insightful book, Why Good People Do Bad Things, teaches us many things. I particularly appreciated his line that says, "...feeling is not a choice. Feeling arises from the soul, autonomously; ours is the choice to acknowledge and honor that feeling, or not, without literalizing its meaning." It validated something inside of me.

The author of this book explains the gut searching work that the conscious seeking person must do, therefore, I highly recommend this book for those seeking to become conscious.

Mary Jane Hurley Brant, Author When Every Day Matters
[...]
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