Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves” as Want to Read:
Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  296 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Working with the Shadow is not working with evil, per se. It is working toward the possibility of greater wholeness. We will never experience healing until we can come to love our unlovable places, for they, too, ask love of us.

How is it that good people do bad things? Why is our personal story and our societal history so bloody, so repetitive, so injurious to self and o
Kindle Edition, 276 pages
Published (first published 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Why Good People Do Bad Things, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Why Good People Do Bad Things

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 731)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 25, 2010 Tina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb book. Definitely one of Hollis' best works. Hollis offers a clarion call to spiritual and psychological maturity. There are no simple, one-dimensional answers here, but instead an invitation to "know thyself" and take the inward path less traveled, where few have the courage or encouragement to trod. Every page offers insights that I could mull over for years, offerings of healing and wholeness to our banished selves.

Quotes that are resonating within me:

"The Shadow is the landfill of the
Jan 11, 2016 Laurie rated it really liked it
I find James Hollis's books very helpful, this one is no exception. It is no small matter to face and claim the darkness inside. It is no easy feat to stop blaming others for failing to do the work we all must do for ourselves. I keep reading these books because I need to hear this message over and over again to keep myself engaged in the work of growth and wholeness.
Dec 04, 2012 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are in mid-life and haven't read James Hollis, I've given you a huge gift. He has many books, each amazing on their own, but as a body of work, truly impressive. I've read all of his books. I've never been disappointed. He is a Jungian analyst who speaks clearly to everyone.

In person, James Hollis is as good as he was on paper. He is an interesting man, from the first page, to the last, he teaches us about who we are and where we might be going.

Understanding our shadow, personal and colle
Jan 18, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, 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 no
I liked the many references to other authors books.

Has some truth in it,but very repetitive, the same points stated over and over again and gets boring. If the book was half its size it's message would still be adequately conveyed.
Feels a bit patronizing, as if one was being lectured to.
Sometimes offers naive generalizations while presenting complex problems then redeems itself by calling things by it's name. Good to know that author it awake and in touch with reality.
Using Germans as perfect
Toni Moore
"Working with the Shadow is not working with evil, per se. It is working toward the possibility of greater wholeness. We will never experience healing until we can come to love our unlovable places, for they, too, ask love of us." That's the theme of this book. Most of it focuses on explaining the Shadow, that part of each of us that we don't want to admit exists. The Shadow is a key part of Carl Jung's psychology; the idea is that you can't become your true self until you become whole, and that ...more
Stephen Reid
For some time, I have been trying to find a good book on Jung's concept of the shadow - one that outlines the underlying idea, but then gives you the apparatus to try and explore the shadow. This was better than any other book I've read so far, but was still not the book. At times I found it to be long-winded and a little rambling. It was erudite, but attempted too much in too short a space of time. I gathered insights, but did not feel I was guided into an intimate connection of working with th ...more
Jun 28, 2007 Robin added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
Great book for understanding the unconscious processes of self and others, as well as, the social collective unconscious.
Mar 10, 2016 Clara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's part of the blurb on the back cover of Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves:
How do we make sense of the discrepancies between who we think we are—or who we show to the outside world—versus our everyday behaviors? Why are otherwise ordinary people driven to addictions and compulsions, whether alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, infidelity, or the Internet? Why are interpersonal relationships so often filled with strife?
I likely would have rated the book more highly ha
Mar 10, 2011 Terhi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miksi hyvät ihmiset tekevät pahaa on todella kiehtova kirja ihmisen pimeämmästä puolesta, kutsuimme sitä sitten Varjoksi Jungin ja Hollisin jalan jäljissä tai Vompatiksi Studio Julmahuvin mukaisesti. Pimeä puoli kiinnostaa minua henkilökohtaisesti kahdesta syystä; ensinnäkin haluan oppia ymmärtämään miksi ihmiset tekevät ja miksi minä teen asioita, jotka tiedämme vääriksi tai haitallisiksi. Toiseksi; tämän tiedon avulla pystyn toivottavasti ymmärtämään muita ja itseäni hieman paremmin, kenties k ...more
This is a really, really good book. I am not ready to pass it on yet so find your own copy!

Hollis says we repress evil. It's in our unconscious, what Jung called our Shadow. But the Shadow is never gone. It's always part of us. If we don't examine our unconscious thoughts and feelings, we'll be loose cannons. That's why, to use the old saying, those who don't remember the past are condemned to repeat it. The path to enlightenment is not to ignore or deny the unconscious darkness that makes us un
Oleg Redko
Feb 06, 2015 Oleg Redko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some very fresh psychology... Can be read by people, who are not professional psychologists. Very recommendable to all!!!!! Great work!
Preface :"Each person is a world peopled by blind creatures in dim revolt against the I the king that rules them"
Oct 09, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a companion guide, a blurry map if you will, for anyone gutsy and stupid enough to honestly try to become a more self-aware, less destructive person.

I'm almost done and love this book. I went searching to see why it only has 3.6 stars and realized that several of the 1 and 2 stars were from people who hadn't actually read the book. What I can surmise is that this book isn't for the average American douchbag who's looking to throw away a few more hours of their life pretending they
Michelle Vivienne
I got to page 17 and had to put it down. About 75% of what I read was composed of rhetorical questions and hypothetical scenarios. Interesting topic, Freud and Jung's concept of the shadow, but I really disliked the lack information provided on the actual topic. In peaking through the rest of the book I saw that nothing was going to change so I have to give it two thumbs down.
Mar 31, 2010 Betseyneely1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hollis describes discrepancies that exist between our professed values and the way we sometimes behave. He extrapolates from individual foibles to show destructive behaviors which effect religious institutions, organizations, corporations and cultural events. Although the read may be humbling, it promotes presonal growth and provides much material for personal reflection.
Oct 12, 2010 Maryjoamani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maryjoamani by: Michaele in Guatemala
Excellent book using Jungian philosophy to look at why individuals and society as a whole stays rutted in the same old problems--and suggests that to grow we must come to love our darker (shadow) selves. By repressing or denying the shadows, we continue to spin in circles, never achieving the kind of self-understanding necessary to become whole.
Nov 12, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, jungian
I love Dr. Hollis. First, even though he is Jungian, he doesn't feel the need to insult Freud or his ideas, and even cites Freud at times. I found that attitude refreshing. Second, Dr. Hollis takes the concept of the Shadow and makes it clear and understandable. I am definitely ready to encounter and embrace the ideas in this book.
What I really loved about this book was the fact that it pointed out that bad things are done by all kinds of people for all sorts of reasons. That's important to remember, especially in a society when opinion radio and tv is all the rave. We have a tendency to get beside ourselves about what we'd never do. Bad things are bad things.

Great topic with occasional helpful points but poorly written. Way too many quotations and sideline references. Not organized well or presented in an accessible tone. I felt like I was reading a bad novel part of the time.
Nov 24, 2008 Shawna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
so far i'm picking through the book. very interesting... especially for those who like to think about the unconscious part of our mind "the shadow", in which the author refers to it, and how it influences our behaviors.
Mano Chil
The best part of the book was the section called "Hidden Agendas."

That section finally said what I always thought was there. It confirmed that we all have a shadow that we need to deal with and not suppress.

Apr 30, 2014 Jerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book, it brought me many fascinating insights, and has left me filled with many thoughts and ideas....I guess all that's left to say is, "Let the Shadow work begin!"
clearly presented Jungian view of the "shadow" self by this erudite literature professor turned analyst, now Director of the Jung Institute in Houston
Aug 15, 2008 Sheri marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sheri by: Nick
I have put this book on hold for now. It is very dark, and with all of the house stress I have, it isn't a good time for this type of work.
Feb 03, 2008 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty interesting discussion of the complexity of human behavior. I liked it enough to want to read more by James Hollis.
Apr 18, 2009 Anders rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
So far so good. Seems like one of those books more folks should read. Doing shadow work is not a popular thing in our culture.
Oct 30, 2007 Tanya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the "depth psychology" is kind of common-sense, but it still made me really reflect on my life and my subconscious.
Jun 01, 2008 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little stuffy and wordy, but nontheless some practical jewels of wisdom for us flawed, hypocritical people =) Great insights!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 24 25 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth
  • Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature (New Consciousness Reader)
  • Suicide and the Soul
  • Why Good Things Happen to Good People: The Exciting New Research that Proves the Link Between Doing Good and Living a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life
  • Shadow Dance
  • Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness
  • Jung to Live by
  • Serial Killers: Being and Killing
  • Healing Words
  • Keeping the Love You Find
  • The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life
  • The Power of Your Other Hand: A Course in Channeling the Inner Wisdom of the Right Brain
  • Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement
  • How Can I Get Through to You?: Closing the Intimacy Gap Between Men and Women
  • From Age-ing to Sage-ing: A Revolutionary Approach to Growing Older
  • Lucid Dreamer: A Waking Guide for the Traveler Between Worlds
  • Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal
  • A Little Book on the Human Shadow
James Hollis, Ph. D. is Executive Director of the Jung Center of Houston, TX, a practicing Jungian Analyst (psychotherapy developed by C.G. Jung - the eminent Swiss psychiatrist), and author of eleven books.
More about James Hollis...

Share This Book

“Today, as we have seen, fascism and communism are discredited, but are replaced by a paraphilic consumer culture driven by fantasy, desperately in search of distractions and escalating sensations, and a fundamentalist culture wherein the rigors of a private journey are shunned in favor of an ideology that, at the expense of the paradoxes and complexities of truth, favors one-sided resolutions, black-and-white values, and a privileging of one's own complexes as the norm for others. ” 16 likes
“Как утверждает основной закон психологии, все те задачи развития, которые не поставил перед собой родитель, непременно достанутся ребенку.” 0 likes
More quotes…