Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Toward a Psychology of Being” as Want to Read:
Toward a Psychology of Being
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Toward a Psychology of Being

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  5,296 ratings  ·  99 reviews
"If we wish to help humans to become more fully human, we must realize not only that they try to realize themselves, but that they are also reluctant or afraid or unable to do so. Only by fully appreciating this dialectic between sickness and health can we help to tip the balance in favor of health." —Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow's theories of self-actualization and the hi

Hardcover, 3rd, 320 pages
Published November 23rd 1998 by Wiley (first published November 30th 1961)
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 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,296 ratings  ·  99 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Toward a Psychology of Being
Most of us have heard of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

But do most of us apply it?

First we need to fulfill our physiological needs. Next we need security (this includes health, employment, family). Thirdly we need love and a sense of belongingness. Fourthly we need respect of/from others for a healthy self-esteem.

The ultimate step is self-actualization: fulfillment of the person's potential. Maslow estimates that less than 1% of the population reach this peak.

The fact that so few achieve this m
Erik Graff
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Maslow fans
Recommended to Erik by: John Morris
Shelves: psychology
I'd been introducted to Abraham Maslow in a Grinnell College seminar on Humanistic Psychology sponsored by the Department of Religion. My interest in psychology had started two years before when draft resistance and threats of prosecution had led to a year's leave from school. Securing a series of undemanding jobs, I had plenty of time to study, beginning with what I thought was the beginning of modern psychotherapeutics, i.e. the depth psychologists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth ce ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I believe I first read Maslow's 'Toward a psychology of being' in the mid sixties, and in the early seventies portions came to mind for my dissertation.

I recommend this book for those with difficulty comprehending their position in life. In the sixth grade I was listening to two boys having an argument. Soon, I realized it was not the argument it seemed, but an attempt by both to seem 'better' than the other, possibly for the benefit of the crowd who was likely to judge them. This opened my eye
Kalle Wescott
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Maslow's hierarchy of needs as theorized in 1943 had five levels of needs, and one can only fulfill the next level up in the pyramid once you've fulfilled the foundation of the need below it.

In order, Maslow's original 5 levels were Physiological, Safety, Social, Esteem, and then the top level, Self-Actualization.

Maslow's later writings added more levels, and this later book builds upon the theories, especially about how to get the most out of your life.

Should be required reading.
Jana Light
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thinking
In _Toward a Psychology of Being_, Maslow addresses two gaps he saw in the behaviorist and psychoanalytic psychologies of his time. He claims psychoanalytic thought erroneously assumes neuroses to be fundamental to humanity, rather than existential "illnesses" that have replaced a priori existential health, and that behaviorism erroneously assumes humans are too much of a blank slate, not allowing for a real, unique, persistent "self." Maslow, creating the field of humanistic or positive psychol ...more
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book presents some good insights on understanding what Maslow considers a “self-actualized” person.

However, one aspect that hit me the most, was the definition of creativity - nicely put by Maslow in this passage:

“ I learned from her, and others like her, that a first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting, and that, generally, cooking or parenthood or making a home could be creative while poetry need not be; it could be uncreative.”

What a refreshing definition!
This was a fascinating book, and I can see why people have discussed it reverently for years. It is more than just a psychology book (and less than one too), and can also be described as a philosophical discourse on what personal qualities make up an ideal human being. Maslow is popular with integral thinkers, and I have been reading a couple of those lately. That is what made me reach for this, althou I have wanted to read something of his for a long time. Probably the integral people like him ...more
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Difficult to get through because of the density of information and involved concepts it dealt with, but extremely rewarding and insightful. I came away with a better understanding of humanistic psychology, myself, and humanity in general. It's a shame that Maslow's often reduced to "the hierarchy of needs guy," because even though that little pyramid is symbolic of his theories, he had a lot more really amazing things to say. ...more
J Ruth
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you're prepared to use your brain while reading this book deserve 5 stars. It's complex and obviously written by a genius. THE Maslow. A greatly affirming, illuminating journey into the heart of being. ...more
Matthew Murphy
This book is absolutely foundational.

"The human being is simultaneously that which he is and that which he yearns to be."

1. We have, each one of us, an essential inner nature.
2. These are potentialities, not final actualizations.
3. This inner core is weak in certain senses rather than strong. It is easily repressed.
4. Many aspects of this inner, deeper nature are either actively or passively repressed, creating sickness.
5. No psychological health is possible unless this essential core of the pe
Naomi Sirmans
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Jonathan Hockey
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maslow offers a future enabling, rather than just a past repressing (as in Freud), psychology of human Being. He focuses on the psychologically healthy, rather than the psychologically ill, and delves into the experiences that healthy people have. His purpose is to show how healthy behavior is not just about adaptation to normal standards, it is about internalising these standards as well as going beyond these standards in a future oriented life. Self-actualisation is the term he uses for this. ...more
Jai Preston
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A classic in the world of Psychology, this is one of the best books on the topic I've ever read. Maslow is one of the forefathers of modern Psychology and is best known for his 'Hierarchy of needs pyramid,' and his deep fascination with self-actualization. Both of these ideas are covered in this book, but it's the latter that gets the most attention.

Maslow does a great job in explaining, in almost poetic terms, exactly what is going on in that little head of ours: why we think the way we do, wha
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
I remember being realy impressed with Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" when discovering it for the first time.

Here it is:

1. Physiological
-breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homoestasis, excretion

2. Safety
-security of body, of employment, of resources, of morality, of the family, of health, of property

3. Love/Belonging
-friendship, family, sexual intimacy

4. Esteem
-self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others

5. Self-actualization
-morality, creativity, spontaneity, proble
Oct 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
One of the most well known psychologists presented his writings and revised them into a book. His key idea? That we are born to reach our full potential and psychology should expand its scope of study to cover the positive side of psyche. All very well, but you probably just need to read the preface and chapter 14 as the rest is very much the same thing , sometimes with the same sentences appearing in consecutive chapters...
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
It is amazing how at the core of my job, Maslow's hierarchy of human needs serve as the framework for which I do any other therapy. This book is one that I reference often in my own practice today as I serve many clients who do not have their basic needs met. I have learned that if I do not address these needs first, my clients are unable to progress any further in therapy. ...more
Michael Beaton
Details later. A seminal Book. This is the sort of book I read, and reread on a continual basis.

Started a new shelf just for this class of book : Seminal : Those books that are part of the substructure of my paradigm.
Leti Calderon
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of my top five books. I am intrigued with the concept of self-actualization, be your unique best.
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Much more than the hierarchy of needs.

After hearing a lot about Maslow's hierarchy, I wanted to get a better sense of what he was thinking. I read Motivation and Personality where he explains the hierarchy but wanted to get a better sense of how it fits into his broader vision.

Not surprisingly, the hierarchy is really only a small part of his thought. Ultimately, Maslow set out to provide a testable scientific theory for psychology of healthy individuals. It sounds kind of trivial but what this
Teo 2050


Maslow AH (1961) (07:26) Toward a Psychology of Being

• Acknowledgments

Part I: A Larger Jurisdiction for Psychology

01. Introduction: Toward a Psychology of Health

02. What Psychology Can Learn from the Existentialists
• conclusion

Part II: Growth and Motivation

03. Deficiency Motivation and Growth
• 01. attitude toward impulse: impulse-rejection and impulse-acceptance
• 02. differential effects of gratification
• 03. clinical effects of gratification
• 04. different ki
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a dense, academic, psychology text. It's no beach read, and it took me a while to get through. I think that's good to know going into it and if you're thinking about reading it.

I learned so much from this book about humanness, about psychology, about neurosis, about peak-experiences. There was SO MUCH. I can't even begin to summarize what I learned or what this book was going for, which is probably why Maslow ended up with such a long and confusing title in the first place. There ar
Alex Petkus
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had what I was looking for about self-actualization, or similarly associated "Individuation," or "Becoming and Being," etc.

I very much recomend reading this book if you are on an Ontological journey to find meaning, or you are what Nietzsche may have labelled an "active nihilist." I feel I am closer to whatever this is that I am seeking.

My "list" I created early on in my "journey" to find me, a list of my most meaningful experiences that gave me some glimmer or hope of meaning, of wh
Ivaylo Durmonski
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
I will be honest. I did not understand some of the words used by the author. I’m not ashamed. After all, Abraham H. Maslow was named Chair of Psychology in 1951. Or simply put, he was a smart man. Theorist, psychologist, and keen observer of human behavior.

I’m saying this to warn you – the book is a mixture of profound revelations about our psychological needs and academic language that’s oftentimes hard to grasp and contextualize.

Still, this shouldn’t stop you from getting your hands on the boo
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps moronically, and definitely chaotically, I seem to be making my way through Maslow's works reverse-chronologically, which is why this is the second of Maslow's books that I have read after The Farther Reaches of Human Nature.

Much like that work, this is an easy 5 stars for me. It's quite fascinating indeed to read Maslow's work in the 21st century and I can't help but ask myself: What happened?

Pretty much everybody has heard of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which I personally first learn
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
"This inner nature, as much as we know of it so far, seems not to be intrinsically evil, but rather either neutral or positively 'good.' What we call evil behavior appears most often to be a secondary reaction to frustration of this intrinsic nature." 

"If we wish to help humans to become more fully human, we must realize not only that they try to realize themselves, but that they are also reluctant or afraid or unable to do so. Only by fully appreciating this dialectic between sickness and healt
Nicklas Karlsson
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
Rather stocky for an non-psychologist to read. Not difficult just a bit sporadic?
The point most valued by me in this book is the notion (which today is even more relevant) that there is very little research being done on when people are just content. The happiness industry seem to focus on progression above all else, where are there might be just normal contentment for many people which might just as well be regarded as happiness. It has led me onto the Book "You must change your life" by philos
Yana Shevkirova
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Surely it was way ahead of its time and since it was deemed to be a "classic", it probably made some groundbreaking revelations. However, a lot of what Maslow discusses is common sense and after finishing the book, I kept wondering if he really needed to go on with so many chapters before getting to the point (which happens literally at the very last one). Otherwise, it's surely a must-read for anyone who wants to get at least the basics of psychology. ...more
Sep 14, 2018 marked it as to-keep-reference
The psychologist who took such secular experiences seriously was Abraham Maslow, Harry Harlow’s first graduate student and a founder of humanistic psychology.

The Happiness Hypothesis Pág.205
Paul Beaulieu
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Every copy of this book comes with a free set of rosy-coloured glasses. So sit down, put em on, and get ready to have it revealed to you that there exists a special set of human beings who, their more basic needs being sated, reach a level of independence, self-determination, and creativity which practically makes them gods. Yes, the book makes some valid points regarding human needs but the Idealistic flavour sprinkled with airy reverence for the ephemeral Tao is definitely not for everyone.
Chris Marks
This is an historically important book by the man who did the work, and the included questions and speculations reveal much of Maslow's thoughts and state of mind. It is certainly thought provoking. However, it's a bunch of previously published talks and papers thrown together, which leads to redundancy and a less than compelling read. There must be better, and updated, overviews of Maslow's work for the lay reader. ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Memories, Dreams, Reflections
  • The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil
  • On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR
  • The Interpretation of Dreams
  • The Undiscovered Self
  • The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy
  • The Ego and the Id
  • On Death and Dying
  • Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
  • The Psychology of Intelligence
  • The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy
  • Existential Psychotherapy
  • Radical Honesty : How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth
  • Modern Man in Search of a Soul
  • The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness
  • The Art of Loving
  • Man and His Symbols
See similar books…
In 1908, Abraham H. Maslow was born, the first of seven children, to immigrant Russian Jewish parents, in New York City. He received his BA in 1930, his MA in 1931 and his Ph.D in 1934, all in psychology, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Maslow taught full time at Brooklyn College, then at Brandeis, where he was named Chair of Psychology in 1951. Maslow, a humanist-based psychologist, is ...more

Related Articles

Thirty-four years after the publication of her dystopian classic, The Handmaid's Tale, Atwood returns to continue the story of Offred. We talked...
367 likes · 59 comments
“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” 941 likes
“False optimism sooner or later means disillusionment, anger and hopelessness.” 37 likes
More quotes…