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The Hero Within

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,081 Ratings  ·  61 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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Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Apr 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jeffrey Howard
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 50 pages of this book stirred within me a new hope for navigating life. Pearson introduces us to 6 archetypes--in the tradition of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell--that have universal staying power. These archetypes are constantly at play in our daily lives, transcending cultures, religions, science, and any other dogmas. By familiarizing ourselves with these 6 archetypes we find contextualized truths that shape to individual temperaments and circumstances. Ignoring the power of these ar ...more
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Katie Robinson
Jun 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Cathy Proses
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Explains people without pigeon-holeing.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"The belief that we have to compromise critical parts of ourselves to fit in makes visible and real to us both our need for love and our equally strong need to explore who we are. The tension between these incredibly strong and apparently conflicting impulses leads us first to give up important pieces of ourselves in order to fit in, and in that way to learn how much love and belonging means to us, and finally, radically, to choose ourselves and our journeys as even more important to us than car
MiCaela Chagnon
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lifestyle, self
I stopped reading this book fairly quickly after I started; not because I didn't enjoy it but because life is often chaotic and I was attempting to navigate through many things. I recently found it as I was researching for my blog and I got so excited! This is book is everything that I want to teach the world, the very kind of thing I'm hoping to get across in my blog. I could identify with the voice of the author as well as the archetypes she describes, in innumberable ways.

I stumbled upon thi
Mathew Vondersaar
TLDR: Gave me an interesting lens to view life, people, and progress. Written by a feminist religious psychologist, themes of that nature arose in as a bit of a welcome surprise. Too self-help and motivational for my taste, as I picked it up looking for a book on psychology and was only somewhat disappointed.

However, the last "stage" and largely most important steps are all related to spirituality, with a massive swath of Cristian examples. Other religions are used, but by far and above capital
Erin Moxam
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I am a huge fan of Joseph Campbell, so when I saw this book I picked it up right away. This was a really excellent read, an extremely interesting examination of some of the archetypes that play roles in our lives. I liked how this book was broken up and enjoyed the writing style. Sometimes I get bogged down in the drudgery of nonfiction, but I flew through this book. Very much in the Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell school, this book looks at both the good and bad sides of some familiar archetypes ...more
Ms. Stephens
Not hugely readable... that and/or I just wasn't all that interested. Maybe useful for more careful study, or for study with a therapist... not so much for independent study. I read the beginning, then found myself skimming and skipping through the rest.
Arturius escalante
Reading now... 😜😁
Ashley Doutt
Jun 10, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shekhar Ruparelia
Disappointed with this book. I had to let go of it little less than halfway. Generalisations, dated examples and a lifestyles from a different era. I did find some useful ideas, but they were too far and few in between.

A slightly lengthier review on my blog: https://adventuresofatraveller.wordpr...
Ksenia Anske
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We're all heroes on a journey. And to understand how to write your characters you first have to understand YOU, because of course every character comes out of us writers, and is part of us. This book will show you the archetypes (based on Jungian psychology) that are within all of us, and within all our stories, and one diagram in particular, the circle (of course), will add to what you know already: every story has three acts, and every middle act can be broken in two, and it's all a circle, an ...more
Jesse Winslow
Jul 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Vickie Conner
Dec 06, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Greg K
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. :(

Alegra Loewenstein
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.
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
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.
Mar 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
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.
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Carol S. Pearson, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized scholar and well-known author of numerous books, among them the bestselling The Hero Within, Awakening the Heroes Within, The Hero and the Outlaw, and Magic at Work. Her new book, Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within, was published in October 2015.

Dr. Pearson previous book, The Transforming Leader, is an edited collection of cutt
“No matter how much people want to feel loved, appreciated, and a part of things, they will be lonely until they make a commitment to themselves, a commitment that is so total that they will give up community and love, if necessary, to be fully who they are.” 2 likes
“Abandonment actually is quite facilitative at this stage. When Wanderers do not let another in, whether it is parent, lover, therapist, analyst, or teacher, it is important for that helper to pull away so that Wanderers can experience fully the aloneness they have created for their own growth. Otherwise, they will be diverted from recognizing their loneliness by fighting off the assaults of others against their walls.” 1 likes
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