Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Power of Myth” as Want to Read:
The Power of Myth
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Power of Myth (Joseph Campbell and Power of Myth)

4.3  ·  Rating Details ·  33,450 Ratings  ·  1,265 Reviews
The national bestseller, now available in a non-illustrated, standard format paperback edition
The Power of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people--including Star Wars creator George Lucas. To Campbell, mythology was the “song of
ebook, 320 pages
Published May 18th 2011 by Anchor (first published 1988)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 25, 2007 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone- though you have to be a bit idealistic
I really do think that this should be required reading in high school, everywhere. Or beyond. Just in general. I read it in preperation for my AP year, and it really helps you to open your eyes quite a bit. Does Joe Campbell like to stretch his points? Yes. Are some of his ideas and allusions a little far fetched? Absolutely. Will you roll your eyes a few times? Of course! Unless you are more starry eyed than even I was.

However. What he says on the subject of myth and our current culture is so t
Jason Koivu
The Power of Myth explores so much more than myth. It delves into the essence of life itself.

Joseph Campbell was mythologist, professor, writer, lecturer, historian...he was so much. His wealth of knowledge on faith, philosophy and humanity was astounding. He has left us, but he has left behind a body of work, a legacy of compassion and understanding for us and future generations. Thanks to this interview, conducted by journalist Bill Moyers, we have an encapsulated version of his teachings from
Jul 04, 2007 Colie! rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone remotely human
Joseph Campbell is seriously incredible. Read this, listen to the PBS audio tapes, read anything he writes... he's just brilliant, erudite, illuminating, fascinating, lovable, enlightening... he reveals things articulately that you always sensed in the shadowy regions of your instinct, and having them so clearly identified has a revelatory and refreshing effect. It makes you pensive and hopeful. It makes you feel good about being human, part of this thing we do called life. I don't know, I think ...more
Roy Lotz
I have bought this wonderful machine—a computer. Now I am rather an authority on gods, so I identified the machine—it seems to me to be an Old Testament god with a lot of rules and no mercy.

Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces is a book that, for better or worse, will forever change how you see the world. Once you read his analysis of the monomyth, the basic outline of mythological stories, you find it everywhere. It’s maddening sometimes. Now I can’t watch certain movies without analy
James Williams
This is my first first-person experience with Campbell. And I find it an incredibly frustrating book.

There are parts that are wonderful: when Campbell takes a few moments to tell some of the myths that have been floating around for years. Or when he compares the motifs in multiple myths from different cultures in different parts of the world. Campbell was clearly a master story-teller, and even in just a couple of sentences, he really makes these ancient stories come alive.

Similarly, the compa
چگونه اسطوره بسازيم؟
آموزش گام به گام

جوزف كمبل (مثل عده زيادى از متفكران معاصر) مدعيه كه اسطوره بيان استعارى تجربيات انسانى طبقه نخبه اجتماع بوده. اما گذر زمان و سطح درك پايين طبقه فرو دست اجتماع باعث شده رفته رفته مردم به صورت تحت اللفظى به مفاد اساطير باور پيدا كنن، هر چند، همين برداشت تحت اللفظى از اسطوره هم كاركرد خودش رو داشته (كمك به سالك در استفاده از تجربيات انسانى پيشينيان، براى بالا رفتن در سلوكش).

اما "بيان استعارى تجربيات انسانى" امروزه هم هست. اشعار و داستان ها و فيلم ها. ولى جوزف كمب
Malynda Alice
Dec 25, 2007 Malynda Alice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how he does it, but every time I read/hear/stumble upon some vague quotation of Joseph Campbell's work, my day gets better. The sensation I get when reading his work is of relief, that all the seemingly static and infallible truths of the world stem from very simple needs. Somehow knowing that frees me to pursue the quenching of the needs, rather than the physical trappings we have set up around that need. It is very interesting.
This book is a sort of revised and embellished versio
Oct 03, 2015 Safat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is something very fishy about our existence. We are unaware of it most of the time, but it tickles us all from time to time.

Suddenly we realize we 'are', we actually exist. That's a weird thing. One day we open our eyes, and there’s a world outside.

These things trouble me. Since when do I exist? How come I wasn’t here, then I suddenly came out of nowhere? How’s it possible that something as concrete as ‘I’ actually came out of nowhere? And exactly at what time did I come into being? At my
Re-read this one after several years, and it was even more powerful this time. I think the time and the age between helped in my understanding and comprehension. Very accessible text, and I am sure I will revisit this one again someday - maybe I can finally watch the PBS special too.
brian tanabe
Jul 08, 2008 brian tanabe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading the hardcover version of this and immediately realized it is a companion to a PBS series between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell. So I decided to switch to the audio version – highly, highly recommended over the book.

I found myself connecting with a lot of the passages, but one passage in particular definitely stands out, tackling the meaning of life. While I have a great amount of respect for Moyers, I was slightly annoyed at times with his attempts to assert his equanimity to
Nov 04, 2009 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My 100th book for goodreads should be a memorable one.

TRUE STORY: I was facing one of those milestone birthdays where you find yourself asking the big questions like, “What the heck am I doing?” “Am I on the right course?” "Who am I?"

I wandered into a local bookstore thinking “Surely there’s a book in here with some answers for me.” I walked out with “The Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, the companion book for their PBS series of the same name.

A few pages into their dialog, I
Arun Divakar
Apr 27, 2010 Arun Divakar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
In my part of the world, the gods live everywhere. Every automobile you get into has an image of an elephant headed god or a crucified christ & if the owner is a very fervent believer you will have incense burning inside the vehicle. Such beliefs according to them keeps mishaps at bay. Calendars & walls are adorned with such images and even movies begin with chants evoking the celestial ones.Growing up in such a society my mind kept wavering between comfort & confusion on what it all ...more
Austin Kleon
Jan 06, 2010 Austin Kleon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A series of interview with Campbell, accompanied by lots of images.

My notes:

Oct 17, 2011 Parvathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophy & Comapritive Mythology lovers
Recommended to Parvathy by: goodreads
Myths are often stories that explain how the world and human kind came to be in their present form. I have always been inexplicable drawn to these stories and often felt that they have a quality beyond what they seem to be. The undeniable pull of myths have in the human psyche and the society that surrounds them are often met with scrutiny and criticism. When you say that you are interested in mythology the question naturally comes as to why this particular subject is of interest? What role does ...more
Paula Cappa
Aug 24, 2013 Paula Cappa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is full of wisdom. I read it slowly, kept it on my night table and read a page or two a night. Of course, Joseph Campbell is brilliant. I ended up underlining because so much is profound and so much goes deep into not only the world we live in but the personal soul. He talks a lot about going inward and finding your own harmony. The Great Silence! The silence beyond sound. Myth and storytellers, the hero's adventures, gift of the goddess, and the female principle all lead up to, not so ...more
May 05, 2009 Katerina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Apparently everyone loves this book, which shocks me. I found a lot of his references very interesting but I really despised a lot of the author's commentary on them (as well as the hundreds of times the author contradicts himself). Yes, he did come up with some pretty deep conclusions, but at other times I found his ideas to be so infuriatingly ridiculous that I, in fact, threw the book at the car window at one point when I read a particularly infuriating nugget of absurdity (I believe it was s ...more
Oct 09, 2010 Jafar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It can be joy to read this book which is entirely a conversation between the mythologist Joseph Campbell and the PBS journalist Bill Moyers – both being uber-erudite. Whether the joy turns into boredom and annoyance or continues to the end depends on your mindset. For Campbell myths are what we humans conceive to make sense of the world and our lives and our relation with the world. All stories and rites and traditions should be looked at in this perspective. Myth are not things of the antiquity ...more
Bill Bowyer
Dec 17, 2015 Bill Bowyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great tool for any writer or aspiring novelist in the fundamental knowledge of myth and its interaction with religion and history. Joseph Campbell proves here that he is the master of mythology, and his wisdom oozes from the pages like honey. As a writer, the gift of such wisdom far exceeds most other resources that you have at your disposal.

Perhaps the most important teaching from Campbell is his insisting that constant reading is the prime path for one to acquire great amounts of knowledge.
May 19, 2016 tJacksonrichards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just as 'Public Communicators' like Cousteau, Sagan and deGrasse Tyson have translated sprawling, complex phenomena of the natural sciences into digestible, imperative docutainment, so did Joseph Campbell—with socratic cheerleading from interviewer Bill Moyers—distill leading mythological scholarship of the humanities and social sciences, including his own substantial work, into a kind of cultural and ecological advocacy intended for a late 1980s american television audience.

CAMPBELL: I think of
Jan 22, 2011 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Power of Myth" by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers is one of the most amazing books you will ever read or experience. Campbell, the late professor of Comparative Mythology at Sarah Lawrence University, wrote on ideas touching upon every facet of life and his ideas have inspired all types of artistic and creative expression. It would be impossible to write about every idea that Campbell discusses in this book but it suffices to say that his work touches upon many profound aspects of what it ...more
Mischa Van Loder
Jul 14, 2012 Mischa Van Loder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
After reading Joseph Campbell's work 'The Power of Myth' and 'The Hero's Journey', I'm now noticing the symbols of mythology and legends in nearly every movie I see and every book I read; even in the non-fiction, true articles of my favourite newspaper, 'The Age', the are apparent. I can't believe how Campbell's philosophies touch on everything we believe about our earth, religion, marriage, births--absolutely everything!

Using the example of religion and the stories of the bible, Joseph Campbel
Erika Schoeps
Aug 04, 2015 Erika Schoeps rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I actually never thought I'd be writing a review and typing out the sentence, "this book changed my life." But I can't really get around it. It feels dramatic and sweeping and ridiculous, but this book really changed my life. It was also a matter of good timing, and I was also given some thoughts from watching "The Wind Rises" at the same time as I was reading.

Joseph Campbell speaks about his knowledge as if it is unequivocal, unarguable truth. I was charmed and yet annoyed. I was firmly rooted
Ramona P.
Jun 08, 2008 Ramona P. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book changed my life. Joseph Campbell opened the world of Mythology to me and introduced a new way for me to relate to my life journey. His insights and ideas about the power of myth help us understand how important it is to be aware of the traditions inherent in our cultures and how they play out personally and collectively.

I am able to look for the "soul-story" resonating in diverse cultures and know that I am looking at the myth that is informing their values, ideas, ideals, religion, e
Heidi The Hippie Reader
Though a bit rambling at times, The Power of Myth is a great introductory text on archetypes found within all world mythologies from almost every time period. Campbell explains why the underlying stories are the same from all over the world and what they mean in both cultural, personal, and world contexts.

He breaks down some of the major archetypes like the sacrificed god and resurrection, virgin births, goddesses, trees, snakes, and more. As someone who has studied tarot and The Tree of Life ex
Jun 24, 2007 Huling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who want to be challenged and provoked to view their world a little differently
Joseph Campbell was the foremost authority on comparative religious studies in America. Though he is no longer with us in body his legacy lives on with the profound books he left behind and a series of interviews with Bill Moyer that aired on PBS in the late 80's. Campbell's contribution to the world of myths and rituals is incomparable. And in the Power of Myth (which is basically a transcript of the fascinating interviews with Moyer) Campbell essentially summarizes his life's work and provokes ...more
Feb 08, 2017 Lanko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, rc2017n-e, 2017

It's an interview with various themes of human life centering around mythology. It's not about stories, books, movies... just the myths, how and why they appeared, how and why they shaped and still shape lives and society, how they adapt (or we adapt them) and so on.

He also tackles on issues that even almost 30 years after the book's publishing are still rampant, or even more rampant than before, like violence, issues in love, maturing too late, fanaticism and so on and I think he doe
Pamela Lloyd
Feb 18, 2010 Pamela Lloyd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book. Despite the obvious level of intelligence and knowledge demonstrated by Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, it's very readable and made me feel that I was witness to a conversation--as, in many ways, I was, since the book is based upon their taped interviews.

While there were points that I felt Campbell spoke with too much certainty, it's difficult to criticize him due to the extraordinary breadth and depth of his knowledge, which certainly outstrips mine. Far more often, however, m
Miss Ravi
دربارهی این کتاب خیلی چیزها میشه نوشت اما ممکنه هیچکدومش توصیف دقیق اون نباشه. بنابراین فقط میتونم بگم یه کتاب دربارهی راهنمای زیستن. کشف دوباره هستی. غرق شدن در کائنات. ...more
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2016: Read a book originally published in the decade you were born. This is a stellar book for anyone seeking a larger perspective in difficult times. This was my final book for the 2016 Read Harder Challenge, and it was indeed a challenge! I knew I would love it, since I already watched the miniseries, but I was surprised by how long it took me to read. Many of Campbell's ideas resonated with me or made me think: how life lives on other life (plants count); the p ...more
Daniel Villines
Oct 08, 2012 Daniel Villines rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been struggling with this review for some time and yet I keep going back to it time and time again. There is no physical science associated with Campbell’s assertions but they are based on an understanding of multiple cultures spanning millennia. And his conclusions are based on points in common between humans that lived in relative isolation from one another in terms of both time and geography.

The result of Campbell's approach is a book filled with lessons of life that speak to some sort o
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Age of Chivalry (Bulfinch's Medieval Mythology)
  • American Indian Myths and Legends (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
  • A Short History of Myth
  • Parallel Myths
  • Gods and Myths of Northern Europe
  • The Portable Jung (Portable Library)
  • The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By
  • The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth, Amended and Enlarged Edition
  • The Gnostic Gospels
  • Egyptian Religion: Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life
  • The Language of the Goddess
  • The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion
  • The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets
  • The Golden Bough
  • Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti
  • The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions
  • The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft
Joseph John Campbell was an American mythology professor, writer, and orator best known for his work in the fields of comparative mythology and comparative religion.
More about Joseph Campbell...

Other Books in the Series

Joseph Campbell and Power of Myth (6 books)
  • The Hero's Adventure: Power of Myth 1
  • The Message of the Myth: Power of Myth 2
  • The First Storytellers: Power of Myth 3
  • Sacrifice and Bliss: Power of Myth 4
  • Love and the Goddess: Power of Myth 5
  • Masks of Eternity: Power of Myth 6

Share This Book

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” 700 likes
“Sit in a room and read--and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time.” 528 likes
More quotes…