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The Hero Within

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  514 ratings  ·  40 reviews
In this newly revised edition of the bestselling classic The Hero Within, Carol S. Pearson gives us a unique vocabulary to explore the link between ancient archetypes and our contemporary lives.

Works like Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces have introduced readers to the significance of myth and archetype in our lives. Carol Pearson's bestselling The Hero With

Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 3rd 1989 by HarperOne (first published 1986)
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I found this book to be pretty profound - not just blow your mind - novel thinking type of profound, but "Holy crap this is deep stuff, and it seems like it could really be true be really true. It isn't empty intellectual exercise. It is based on Jung's archetypes, and I love Jung, but Pearson puts his ideas into everyday language and makes them more accessible. The archetypes are like a catalogue of possible personalities one can have. It is a way of conceiving of the world. It is like a road m ...more
An enlightening read for personal growth. The Hero Within goes over six hero archetypes that we all live/have lived by, the innocent, orphan, martyr, wanderer, warrior, and magician, and how the progression happens between them, and the (potentialy) 'good and the bad', among other things. I found myself to be primarily magician with a mix of wanderer and martyr with a little warrior and hints of orphan.
The Hero Within is a fascinating book. The orphan and warrior were my two that I really looked too as a actor. They use myths and legends to get the point across. Excellent for your self esteem. This uplifting book tackles issues of your childhood and how you were raised. Find your inner hero and read this book!
Cathy Proses
Explains people without pigeon-holeing.
Jesse Winslow
This book spends 80% of the time explaining 6 heroic archetypes that we all live by and the journey we must all take to complete the cycle. The last 20% of the book has a quiz to identify the archetypes roles in your current life and lists exercises on how to maximize your potential through each role. The two issues I have with this book are that it's descriptions of the archetypes seem to ramble on and on;I've said it before, why say in 500
Roslyn Ross
This book is great for writers! It is fantastic when read about our stories--the ones we write and the ones we tell ourselves about our lives.

But as a psychology book... Read Non Violent Communication and everything by Nathaniel Branden instead.
Vickie Conner
I have to be honest. I only read a little of this book. Pearson divides people into six hero types: the orphan, the martyr, the wanderer, the warrior, and the magician. She claims that Joseph Campbell's hero archetype really applies mainly to white males in the Western culture, not really addressing the hero journeys of women and African Americans. The problem with reading the book is that Pearson writes about all six types at once. Even though she breaks the book into chapters, within each chap ...more
This is a great book that takes a structuralist stand point on characters. Be weary though. Used to identify characters and hero archetypes is one thing, but to apply this to actual humans is quite another. Do not take this book as literal psychoanalysis, but as literary psychoanalysis. Yes, we identify with heroes, but even the author says to not pigeon hole one's self into an archetype. Overall, this book is a lot more thorough in its exploration of archetypes than many other reads of its kind ...more
Jennifer Nicole
Interesting read. I feel like she could've condensed her explanations some. Once I took the assessment at the end, I found myself having to reread the sections that pertained to my dominant archetype. I would've been nice to include lists of characteristics along with the quiz. Glad to have read this, but this is probably not a book I'd read again.
Greg K
Interesting exploration of the archetypes we embody as we move through different times in our lives. Goes into detail about when one either owns or disowns these archetypes and the function/dysfunction that causes. I did find it particularly illuminating for myself and the people in my life, though the author makes it very clear that someone on the outside can never judge another's archetype or where they're at. Didn't mean I didn't try.
Victor Sianghio
The book has a very intriguing title. I was compelled to buy it the moment I saw it on the shelf.

Somehow, in the middle, I felt it didn't show much promise as its title did. I admire Carol Pearson's observation of how humans interact and behave in society.

The question is: "How different or similar are the archetypes she talks about from the characters we already know from mythology, the Bible, or etcetera?"

Re-readable? Sadly, no. :(

I am reading this book again after several years. This book describes 6 archetypes we all journey through on our life path towards becoming a hero. The book uses typically western archetypes, but is very sensitive to all cultures and people in all aspects of their personal journey. The book reccomends tools/exercises for coping with each step of the way and is thoughtful. It is written by a PhD in phsychology.
Katie Robinson
It was an interesting read about how we as humans develop. We go through archetypes and we don't even know it! Some bits of advice/info were a bit out there for me, but for the most part it was an enlightening read on archetypes and life. Learning more about archetypes, really helps you understand more about life. Oh, and I took the quiz at the end and it looks like I'm a Warrior/Magician hybrid.
Very useful concepts for categorizing life stages that are accompanied by universal perceptions and challenges. Another reviewer was right in saying that this book was longer and more feminist than necessary. That said, her many stories definitely illustrate the concepts, although I would have like cleaner synopses as well.

Memorable and thought-provoking.
David Leroy
Excellent resource, with unique and useful ideas about crafting various characters and relationships. This is a "tool box" must have in my opinion for writers, yet sort of an unknown book. I bought it from a used book store and it surprised me. Even though the book is written in the early 90's, I think the most of the content is timeless.
Lynn Wilson
This is a good addition to the library of anyone who is interested in mythology. She narrows the list of archetypes to six rather than the usual, larger pantheon of gods. I found her description of the Orphan particularly helpful in understanding a particular personality.
read this back in 90's...and recently came across it in a box of books. Pretty interesting read, esp. if you're familiar with Jungian theory. I found it a nice change from some of the mystery and vampire novels I've been reading, since the vampire one's scare me silly!
Iif you are interested in mythology and psychology, check out this book. She puts a new slant on Joseph Campbell's ideas about the heroic journey and talks about the commom archetypes we all get stuck in.

It's nonfiction but well written.

Hmm… this book is more useful as a way of thinking than for practical application. It's definitely worth the read, although the second half takes on the tone of a self-help book. However the insights of both halves still have merit.
I kept thinking I would do the exercises in the book, but I never did get around to it, and finally I had to take it back to the library. I enjoyed what I did read, though, and might come back to this book in the future.
I read this as part of my senior honors thesis. I used the archetypes in this book and Pearson's other book in my essay. This book is meant to be a self-help book though, but I would never use it that way personally.
Ruby Hollyberry
Extremely useful to me as a young Wiccan girl. I read it to pieces. It was a good preparation for starting to work with the Gods. I recommend it for anyone who wants to begin seeing themselves in a magical light.
examines the 6 hero archetypes in all of us- the Innocent, the Orphan, the Wanderer, the Warrior, the Martyr, and the Magician, how we identify w/ these archetypes and how to balance them for a more fulfilling life.
Very insightful. If you are looking for some insights into the archetypes of Jungian Psychology, and the Hero's Journey, this is the book for you. Applicable to any major hero in myth, literature, or real life!
Benu Chauhan
This is the kind of book that will shift a gear in your mind. The kind of gear needed to switch between different phases in ever changing life.
I admire this author's "system" of life tools.
I think if I had read this before reading Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul I'd have liked it better. For more:
Lyam Thomas Christopher
I love it, despite the word "hero" in the title. Clearly, the archetypal perspectives presented here go well beyond those of the traditional heroic oaf of the epics.
Kevin Shoop
Transformative book. Integrates Jungian concepts of myth, archetypes, and individuation with more modern concepts of spirituality (including Christianity) and feminism.
cool stuff -- archetypes applied to human development (love to explore links between lit and human development; myth and spirituality; Jung; and so on)
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