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The Story of Psychology

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  461 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Socrates, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Mesmer, William James, Pavlov, Freud, Piaget, Erikson, and Skinner. Each of these thinkers recognized that human beings could examine, comprehend, and eventually guide or influence their own thought processes, emotions, and resulting behavior. The lives and accomplishments of these pillars of psychology, expertly assembled by Morton Hun ...more
Paperback, 784 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Anchor (first published 1993)
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John M.
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really like the way that this book was constructed. It is basically a history of psychology and doesn't get bogged down in any single topic for too long. Contrary to some other readers, I enjoyed the chapters concerned with early philosophical speculation about the origin and nature of mental processes. It greatly added to my knowledge in this area which previously consisted of what I learned in an Intro to Philosophy course. The section on the "proto-psychologists" was highly enlightening ins ...more
Lily
May 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is like an extended spark notes on the history of psychology. I would recommend reading one or two of the later chapters first and then going back to the beginning. That way the book goes faster. It's slower reading in Part I because one is less familiar with the concepts (although it's much easier than reading the primary sources!). It was very enjoyable to review some previously considered material while filling in gaps in my knowledge. It begins with Greek philosophers, who obviousl ...more
Erin
Feb 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Erin by: boyfriend #1
This book solidified my desire to be a psychologist.
Pam Severini
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extensive and through history of psychology. Very long but flows well.
Ryan
Tom picked up this 900-page monster for me at one of his book festivals, and I set it aside thinking I would probably never get to it. Even when I started it, I thought I'd read a few chapters, take a break, read something else, and come back to it several times before I finished it. But to my delight once I started it I sped through it pretty quickly. Despite the potentially dry subject matter, the book isn't written dryly at all, actually, and I appreciate the author's reluctance to get too bo ...more
Kirsten
Aug 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: psychology majors, minors
Ok, this is a history book so it's quite dry. But if you've read or heard about Edward G. Boring's (not kidding about that name) tome on the history of psychology, Hunt's book is a delightful read.

If you are a psychology major or thinking about heading in to grad school, you might find this book helpful / interesting because it shows the progression of schools of psychological perspectives (how/why did neo-Freudians break from true Freudians?) and evolution of other perspectives (how/why did exi
...more
Blue Caeruleus
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: psychologists, psychiatrists
Shelves: psychology, favorites
By far my favorite work of non-fiction. Most psychology books these days are either too vague or only provide information on one specific area of study. (After reading this book, I can see why.) This book, unlike all the others I've looked at, aswered nearly all of the questions that I had about psychology and provided information that I hadn't iquired after but found most enjoyable to learn. This book should be required reading!
SK CintaZeni
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still reading but enjoying it MUCH.

Much was said about Imam Ghazali r.a. and the philosophers for his 20-point refutations but (someday, I will expound on this!), Imam Ghazali r.a. actually extended their views on mental processes via Qalb, Nafs, Ruh and Aql.
Let me give you an example from the book -

(On Plato)
Yet he was a sensible man with wide experience of the world, and some of his psychological conjectures about the soul are down-to-earth and sound almost contemporary. In some of the middle
...more
Shalyce
Nov 19, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
This is a pretty interesting book if you want to read all you ever could in one book on psychology. The background of the psychologist themselves are pretty interesting and their basic theories and contributions are reviewed, which isn't super exciting. Of course, I read this for one of my classes, but I might actually have picked it up to read parts of it out of curiousity as well.
James
Interesting, and useful as a reference on the people who developed various theories and methods in the field; limited, because it says little about how to apply those theories and methods, but I guess that wasn't the author's aim. This would come in handy for anyone studying for the kind of licensing exam that focuses on this category of information, i.e. psychological trivial pursuit.
Jasenka
Jan 12, 2009 added it
Shelves: psychology
Having a hard time not skipping right to the modern psychology part. Oh Freud - I shake my tiny fist at you!
Broodingferret
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, history
Extensive and detailed, The Story of Psychology is a must read for any student of psychology. While quite lengthy and a bit dry, the writing is easily accessible and moves along at a good pace. Hunt also does an admirable job of giving the various movements and schools of thought within the discipline their proper dues as regards their influence over the years, though there are a few glaring and frankly inexplicable omissions of important individuals. Ramón y Cajal, for example was never mention ...more
Tim Petersik
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a well written survey of Western psychology. It's long, but nonetheless not too much time is spent on any single person or topic. It's largely a "great person" analysis of this history. Though I would also enjoy a cultural or more zeitgeist-oriented approach, it IS still fun to look at the personalities who shaped the field.
Diana
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
A good, basic history of Psychology. Published in 1994, the "current" research, especially on neurology, is quite dated, and a good deal of the research you learned in Psych 101, but i really enjoyed the broad contextualization of the movements, ideas and big questions in psychology. Grounded a lot of the bits and pieces I already knew in a more coherent cloth.
Miklos
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a 600+ page magnum opus on the history and development of psychology, from the days of mysticism to a more respectable science/art. If you have any interest in psychology or want to pursue a related field, reading this from first page to last (as I did) or even reading it as a reference, I would highly recommend this book.
Cindy
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
So far it is very interesting especially since I love stories. It tells you all about the great psychologists.
Bruce Lerro
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: An educated lay audience who wants psychology free of academic jargon
I first found this book browsing in a Barnes and Noble bookstore about 20 years ago. Barnes and Noble used to have sensitivity of stocking books that were not overly academic, yet based on good science. It was only fitting that I found The Story of Psychology there. It is the best book on the history of psychology for an intelligent lay reader I have ever seen. It is geared for people who may have no aspirations to be in the field, yet are curious. Hunt is a friendly warm writer who is able to c ...more
Virginia
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, history
A must-read for any psychology teacher. Covers the history and trends in this "young" discipline with impressive breadth. I was able to scoop up many tidbits of psych history that I could use effectively in class to humanize the historical figures that appear in student textbooks. Only left this at 4 stars simply because I doubt this would be described as a "page-turner," especially to those without a pre-existing interest in the history of psychology.
Lucy
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
If it wasn't for this book, I wouldn't pass my exams. It's written in such an entertaining way that makes you feel like you're not studying but simply exploring.
SassieFrassie
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
It's a pleasure to learn about the giants in the field of psychology. Morton makes at least one apology for his focus on "great men in history." While he admits that the times in which these men lived contributed to their ideas and work, Hunt is much more concerned about how individual pioneers shaped psychology in particular and popular thought in general. I had little use for the early chapters about the Greek and European thinkerss whose ideas anticipated psychology. Things became much more i ...more
Dave Comerford
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
A book has to be special to merit 5 stars. This book is not special, it's just really, really good at doing what it claims to do. The theories are well explained, the biographies are entertainingly presented and the two are woven together in such a way that a story emerges that is well worth listening to. I like that Morton Hunt is largely absent from the text. Speculation in this book is rare and reserved for how biographical events might have served as moments of inspiration, which I enjoy thi ...more
Fouad Jaber
Apr 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Of all the subjects I am interested in, psychology is by far the most absurd. I can't get myself to consider it a science because it is, in simple terms, the aspiration of the human brain to understand its complexity, but equally unavoidable are the scientific traits and applications of such a field. In this book several things have been discussed in this book:

1. The philosophical background of psychology.
2. The birth of psychology as a separate science.
3. Psychoanalysis and Freud.
4. Behaviori
...more
Mo
Feb 25, 2014 rated it liked it
A good lay introduction to the history of psychology. Hunt has done his work for the most part, so no faults there. However, there is an element of drama/gossip to the narrative that is somewhat unnecessary. I realize this is probably great for non-psychology people; it's a bit grating for psychologists to read. With that in mind, though, if you are interested in how the discipline of psychology came to be, this is a decent place to start.
Karyad
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 100 pages blitz through the beginning of identifiably psychological / psuedopsychological ideas all the way up to the 19th century...phew! A very skilled retelling too, which I enjoyed very much. That alone was worth checking it from the library; I got what I needed out of it and felt no further motivation to continue. Now I can talk about Socrates and Plato with my friends and actually have an inkling of what's what!
Jeff Bush
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great overview of the field of psychology. It can be a little tedious at times, because Hunt paints psychology with such a broad brush (there are entire chapters which seem like they are in the wrong book). However, when the book stays within the confines of psychology it's a oretty interesting read, with good information.
Kevin J. Rogers
Nov 17, 2008 marked it as to-read
This was proving to be highly informative, but not terribly useful in terms of my purposes. I'm going to lay it aside for the moment and wait until I have more time for it. Really it's a history of the development of psychology as a discipline, and thus better suited to casual reading. Definitely on my list for the summer.
Selina Mahmood
Mar 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book would be better named a Eurocentric Story of Psychology. In the long history of the human mind this book has presented a series of white men after white men, with a token Turkish man and a few women towards the end.
Margy Levine Young
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The first part is skippable, since it’s really about philosophy, before psychology was invented. The rest is a fascinating history of the field and its various branches and researchers. Thank goodness our obsession with behaviorism is over.
Michael Mendoza
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Splendid

Enjoyed how the author put psychological issues, like the mind-body question, in historical perspective and showed how most of the ancient questions have been answered by modern research.
Chelsey
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star-books
I read this for my history of Psychology class and I loved it! The information was presented in a light manner and was actually fun and interesting to read! I'd love to reread this again on my own time.
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Date of Birth: 1920

Morton Hunt is an award winning science writer who has writen for The New Yorker,The New York Times Magazine and Harper's among many other publications. He is the author of "The Natural History of Love", and "The Universe Within". He lives in Gladwyne, PA.
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“Historians are wont to name technological advances as the great milestones of culture, among them the development of the plow, the discovery of smelting and metalworking, the invention of the clock, printing press, steam power, electric engine, lightbulb, semiconductor, and computer. But possibly even more transforming than any of these was the recognition by Greek philosophers and their intellectual descendants that human beings could examine, comprehend, and eventually even guide or control their own thought process, emotions, and resulting behavior.

With that realization we became something new and different on earth: the only animal that, by examining its own cerebration and behavior, could alter them. This, surely, was a giant step in evolution. Although we are physically little different from the people of three thousand years ago, we are culturally a different species. We are the psychologizing animal.”
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