Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work (Works)” as Want to Read:
The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work (Works)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work (Works)

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,780 ratings  ·  103 reviews
The author of Hero With a Thousand Faces, The Masks of God series, and The Power of Myth here turns his powers of observation and analysis on his own life's journey and conveys the excitement of his life-long exploration of mythic traditions, which he called "the one great story of mankind." In conversations with poets, anthropologists, and philosophers, Campbell reflects ...more
cloth, 288 pages
Published August 27th 2003 by New World Library (first published May 1990)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,780 ratings  ·  103 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work (Works)
Barnaby Thieme
Jul 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Having listened to dozens of hours of Campbell lectures in addition to reading several of his books, it's clear to me that Campbell is a much more effective speaker than writer. It may not be clear to audiences chiefly familiar with Campbell through the PBS series "The Power of Myth" but he is a prodigious scholar of immense learning and insight.

This book is a delightful and fascinating collection of interview excerpts strung together to tell his biography, illuminated with the occasional digre
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
There are some great bits in this but there is also some appallingly sexist moments.

He did some great work looking at the Hero's journey from the point of view of a man, and what he wrote was seminal, but he just didn't see stories that had women's journeys, maybe because they weren't recorded, maybe because, in the past, it was more important for a woman to remain at home and keep the next generation stable and continuing than go on a journey.

The biggest problem is that now, this is the monomy
Jeffrey Howard
This book is largely a collection of transcribed interviews with Joseph Campbell. This is a benefit given that he is so much more affecting as a speaker than he is as a writer. He gets to the heart of the matter in spoken word while his writing can be a bit opaque and scholastic. This volume attempts to map out Campbells life according the monomyth, or hero's journey, formally dividing the chapters into each major step of the way: the call to adventure, the road of trials, etc. It was a clever t ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, and I wasn't disappointed! True to Campbell's other works, the depth of discussion about various topics that his life's work was involved in - myth, mythologies, stories, roles, rituals, etc. was outstanding.

But the formatting of the book threw me - it's a collection of snippets of conversations between Campbell and the many poets and psychiatrists and even filmmakers who he inspired with his extensive work on the world's mythologies. I'm not
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mythology, biography
Excerpts from interviews have Joseph Campbell in conversation with others inspired by him.
Read in preparation for a course I'm doing in 'spiritual phyto'essencing' based on the theme of the hero's journey.
Will follow up with The Hero with a Thousand Faces, his theory of the archetypal hero in ancient mythology.
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers
More inspiration for writers. Also Star Wars source. Note: I'm pretty sure Asimov's Foundation series was also a huge influence to GL. ...more
Stephen Huntley
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Disjointed and self-congratulatory. Lots of fawning and name dropping. Rambling explanations and poor writing.
Jessica Schad Manuel
Joseph Campbell had a remarkable mind that is evident in every answer he gives in these conversations. I elaborate on this in the following article: ...more
Jul 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf

Sexism can really kill a mood. I used to respect this guy somewhat, but if he couldn't shake the most basic of social constructs, after having clearly stated that he knew otherwise, then I can't help but to doubt the validity of all else he has interpreted. I'm not saying there's nothing of value in there. I'm saying that after a certain number of pages thinking surely they are done with this old-school sexist crap now, only to turn into yet another freaking page of the shite, I was disgusted &

Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful collection of interview with Campbell. Organized by the motif of the hero's journey. Reveals personal history of Campbell, as well as his attitude toward his experiences and his continual mythological understanding of all around him. Additionally, the epilogue contains a priceless tale. ...more
Laline Paull
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Included because I'm a writer, so I need to know everything I can about the meaning, the origin, the potential of story. I was about to say, 'and this is a seminal work', but I realised there is no female parallel. 'This is an ovate work'. Just doesn't work.

OK. It's a seminal work, but I'm not sure I like that phrase.
Judith Ann Kohnen
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another good book I've read a couple of times. It names common structural elements found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams, and movies. The author uses movies to defend his philosophy. A must in a writer's library. ...more
Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Read this in college. It was very inspiring to me at the time. Still is in many ways. The video series by Bill Moyers is fascinating as well.
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: myths-metaphors
I've just re-read this book for the umpteenth time - a real classic that would definitely be on my desert island list. ...more
Susan Reynolds
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I consider Joseph Cambelll one of my "spiritual fathers." I've read or watched everything he wrote or videotaped. ADORE. ...more
Daniel Petra
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sooner or later all of us will have to face and go through our own :Hero' Journey" ... whether we like it or not! We may try to avoid it as long as we can. I did! ...more
Jack Rumery
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An insightful look into the life and work of one of the great minds of the 20th century. A sprawling web of art, history, and the human condition all tied together by the common and underlying thread of mythology. Would recommend this book for anyone interested in the deeper mysteries of the human condition. Campbell's approach to making sense of these mysteries is so creative and insightful, you'll surely come away from this book with some new ideas about your own life to consider. ...more
Jun 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Some parts have not aged well, some parts are gems, some parts repeat themselves since the book is just a collection of short dialogues from different times and places.

Part biography, part wisdom, part rants.
Learn how to think about and recognize myths, use myths that are useful to you, live an authentic life.

I will have to read The Hero with a Thousand Faces soon.
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If like me you are not familiar with the work of Joseph Campbell, this is a great way to dive right in. It's not only a look at this contributions to the world but also his life story that led to all those contributions. Through reading this I am much more closely connected to mythology and am assured that the work I've been doing over the past few years of looking inward is not for nothing and is core to my experience as a human. The sad thing is that I don't recall who handed me this book, sti ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good intro to Joseph. Now I need more
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Joseph Campell is darn good in making me understand Mythology. Fascinating, brilliant in comparative religion and comparing mythology. He is pure love.
Lucio Mellace
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Hero's Journey is a 1990 book written by Joseph Campbell and it is about two things: Mythology and Campbell's history/career.
"When people say they're looking for the meaning of life, what they're really looking for is a deep experience of it." (p. xxiv) On page xxiv, it is quoted that when people ask/look for in regards to the meaning of life, what they really are searching is the experience of it. I agree. People don't necessarily want a satisfying answer from some guru, scientist, or phil
John Fredrickson
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual, mythology
One has to love Campbell. This book informs about his personal life, not as a biography, but more about what has mattered to him in his own journey. The book consists of a lot of interview segments with a wide variety of interviewers.

I definitely enjoyed getting a sense for "the man behind the curtain", as it were, but overall the book felt a bit too meandering for me. I prefer his other books, which are much more focused.
Czarny Pies
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Campbell Fans
Shelves: mythology, criticism
I bought this extremely handsome volume at the Salvation Army for $4.00 which is slightly over priced. At $2.00 it would have been a true bargain.

The book is a compilation of transcripts of interviews done for a PBS documentary on Joseph Campbell that aired in 1988. In other words it is a gift item rather than a true book. As such, however, it is very well done. The photographs of Campbell taken at various stages in his life will please any Campbell. The selection of illustrations showing art ob
Brian Eshleman
Oct 17, 2015 rated it liked it
So close, but yet so far. CS Lewis looks at myth and, by the grace of God, has his heart prepared for the Gospel by some of its patterns. Joseph Campbell is just as intrigued and perceptive but expresses himself throughout his post-Catholic life as an adversary of the Gospel's exclusive claims. As Elton Trueblood wrote, the same sun that softens the wax hardens the clay.

As much of this work takes place before the end of Joseph Campbell's life after he has experienced much acclaim for his viewpoi
Ward Hammond
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible
I was reading a recent Brain Pickings by Maria Popova email and she was discussing Joseph Campbell's 5 years of reading in a cabin in the woods. I remembered seeing him in a PBS special and even had a couple of books by or about him but this new really grabbed me. I wanted to know more about HIM. That's why I read this book. And it was wonderful. I feel validated. Follow your bliss, he says. I haven't always done that. But when I have, wow. Like now. For most of this decade, I have been reading, ...more
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book has been recommended to me several times, mostly at writing conferences, so I was expecting something different. I was totally unprepared for the format. I listened to 9 hours of televised panel interviews with Joseph Campbell that were then transcribed into a book, which was then re-enacted by voice actors for the audio book. There are certainly beautiful, perfect little gems of wisdom throughout that I paused the audiobook to write down, but there’s also a lot of less useful conversa ...more
Ryan Denson
This is a truly magnificent work that blends an overarching biographical format with a wide range insightful content. It is primarily a series of interview excerpts with Joseph Campbell and does a good job of maintaining a lively, conversational tone to the deep and meaningful topics being discussed. For those unfamiliar with Campbell's major works, this book will be useful as a powerful introduction to who he was and his ideas. It is an immensely enjoyable read that will teach the reader much a ...more
Companion to the movie The Hero's Journey: The World of Joseph Campbell. It's a collection of transcripts and outtakes from that movie. Interesting stuff. Overly intellectual at times- at least for me. If you haven't studied mythology- religion- philosophy- and if you don't know the works of the big people in these fields- you get lost sometimes. ...more
This book is a series interview transcripts taken from Campbell's last lecture tour. A fascinating look at his work, his influences and general remininces. There is a lot of insight into the man and what influenced him. The book provides much food for thought, as well as providing a starting point for more exploration. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need
  • Tao of Jeet Kune Do
  • Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It
  • Modern Man in Search of a Soul
  • The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
  • Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius
  • Self-Reliance and Other Essays
  • How to Train Your Mind: Exploring the Productivity Benefits of Meditation
  • Joan of Arc: A Life From Beginning to End
  • The Infinite Game
  • Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day
  • The Mirror & the Light
  • Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It
  • The Unheard Cry for Meaning
  • Secrets of Top Selling Agents: The Keys to Real Estate Success Revealed
  • Money Honey: A Simple 7-Step Guide for Getting Your Financial $hit Together
  • 101 House Flipping Tips: Insider's Guide to Maximizing Profits and Avoiding Costly Mistakes
  • Ask: The Counterintuitive Online Formula to Discover Exactly What Your Customers Want to Buy...Create a Mass of Raving Fans...and Take Any Business to the Next Level
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Joseph Campbell was an American author and teacher best known for his work in the field of comparative mythology. He was born in New York City in 1904, and from early childhood he became interested in mythology. He loved to read books about American Indian cultures, and frequently visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he was fascinated by the museum's collection of tote ...more

News & Interviews

Oh hey, we're nearly halfway through 2021! We can't really believe it either... Traditionally, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial...
53 likes · 9 comments
“You enter the forest
at the darkest point,
where there is no path.

Where there is a way or path,
it is someone else's path.

You are not on your own path.

If you follow someone else's way,
you are not going to realize
your potential.”
“Just as anyone who listens to the muse will hear, you can write out of your own intention or out of inspiration. There is such a thing. It comes up and talks. And those who have heard deeply the rhythms and hymns of the gods, can recite those hymns in such a way that the gods will be attracted.” 98 likes
More quotes…