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A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  2,242 ratings  ·  169 reviews
Celebrated scholar Joseph Campbell shares his intimate and inspiring reflections on the art of living in this beautifully packaged book, part of a new series to be based on his unpublished writings.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 12th 1995 by Harper Perennial (first published 1991)
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
“As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm.
It is not as wide as you think.” [p. 298]

Jun 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
Campbell is the first voice I've heard that reconciles what I've been taught about God (religion) and what I feel about God (spirituality). Campbell and his views are a revelation to me that made me feel both justified for my doubts, and confident in where I'm going with my relationship with God. And on top of that, a lot of the typcial guilt associated with not being a by-the-book Catholic disspated.
This collection of Joe Campbell writings, quotes and lectures is a bit chaotic and disorganized.
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After reading two of his books already, I am sad that I did not start reading them so much earlier in my life. I have used what I have learned so far to go through a Vision Quest of who I am and where I am going and who and what I want in my life. I now have a much clearer picture of who I really am and it has been through a great deal of pain and sacrifice that I am coming out on the other side knowing what I want to truly fight for and how the studies of Myths would have shown me a better path ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Absolutely perfect for when you are going through a big transition in your life. It eases your nerves and puts things in perspective. You don't have to be all stressed out about making the right decision, just follow your bliss, participate in the joyful sorrows of the world, and everything you want or need will come to you.
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ugh. This book. I love Joseph Campbell. I want to be Joseph Campbell when I grow up.

This book is amazing, but I fear the majority of people won't get it, as they are too caught up in the material, competitive Western complex to really let it resonate within them, down to their subconscious where their brain can start to grasp at it, embrace it. Even in saying that, I am sure some people will grow annoyed at me or label me pretentious, but it's true. All we care about is how we appear, all we nu
Tammy Sadorus
Dec 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who tend to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders
This book changed my life. Joseph Campbell has a gift for de-mystifying the hidden meanings in mythological stories. I would kill for another book like this.
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was given to me by the dearest of friends and I am so grateful for its significance it has in my life.

“The goal of the hero trip
down to the jewel point
is to find those levels in the psyche
that open, open, open,
and finally open to the mystery
of your Self
being Buddha consciousness
or the Christ.

That's the journey.”

Campbell illuminates Christian/Buddhist/Hindu myths in a way that makes so much sense in terms of life, the journey, and spirituality. His motifs of the inner journey and the on
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Joseph Campbell's books (the power of myth, hero of a thousand faces, the champion) got me through a couple of dark periods in my life. Opened my eyes to things I had already thought to be true and at times felt he was talking directly to me through his books. Crazy, I know!! To this day, when something is bothering me and I can't shake it, I pick up one of the 3 listed above and open to any page and randomly pick a spot and starting reading. Within a few pages my mind is at ease and somehow my ...more
Jun 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
As a fan of Joseph Campbell's writings I was excited to see a book titled "A Joseph Campbell Companion", especially prefixed by the words "Reflections on the Art of Living". It sounded like something right up my alley. How could you possibly go wrong with a title like that?

The short answer is that this book is not organized in a helpful way. I was expecting something akin to Anne Charter's "Portable Beat Reader" where each section is well organized and documented and each entry is titled and da
5th read:
A book meant for becoming. As Rilke would say, a book to help you live in widening rings.

"You've got to use the advantages that you have cultivated. As you go from threshold to threshold, it must be the same you that makes the jump. You don't go down again, you start from where you are. From that, more and more will blossom." (Joseph Campbell)

Each time I reread this book the layers open further and further. I can think of no higher praise.

"The return is seeing the radiance everywher
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This might be a great starting point for reading Campbell. His writing can be very dense, but this presents his big ideas in wonderful and bite-sized chunks.
Brian Johnson
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
“So that’s what destiny is: simply the fulfillment of the potentialites of the energies in your own system.”

“People say that what we are seeking is a meaning of life. I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.”

“Follow your bliss. The heroic life is living the individual adventure.”

~ Joseph Campbell from A Joseph Campbell Companion

Joseph Campbell is awesome.

He sits in the grandpa slot in my spiritual family tree and he’s one of t
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Rarely does one come across a book as important as this one. A Joseph Campbell Companion is the perfect book to live by. I chose this book because it was recommended to me by my uncle. I am extremely glad that I read it. This book provided answers to all questions I had about life. It put me on the right track on the way to finding my place in the world. I found myself underlining and taking notes on almost every page because Campbell is so insightful. Although almost every line in this book is ...more
Nov 28, 2009 rated it liked it
In 1984, Joseph Campbell and ten students gathered for thirty days in Big Sur, California at the Esalen Institute to immerse themselves in an intensive exploration of the "mythological dimension". Poet Diane Osbon was one of those students, and as a result of that experience she was inspired to write this book. It's a collection of quotations, excerpts, and her own musings, rather loosely strung together in a stream-of-consciousness manner; more of a diary of random thoughts than a narrative or ...more
Billie Pritchett
Joseph Campbell's Art of Living book is quite similar to his Myths to Live By. I liked Myths to Live By better, though. If Campbell's writings were jazz, Myths to Live By would be traditional but Art of Living would be acid. My feelings otherwise are the same for this book as Myths to Live By. Basically, Campbell advocates a kind of religious ideal that blends certain universal features from other world religions and belief systems, with the heaviest blends being from Buddhism and what looks lik ...more
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic view of Joseph Campbell in how he integrated his experience in mythology with building his own personal life. It's more than an autobiography and more than a self-help book, it's his journey and there are lessons that can be found by reading it. Finding a way to put aside the "Thou Shalt"'s is something I can use in my own life; especially in today's world where it can seem that one aspect of life takes over every other element.

This is a book I will read again and again.
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
A selection of 2 to 3 page excerpts from Joseph Campbell's lectures. Super good. He has a way of looking at tired old worn out concepts in fresh ways that really suck me in. This is a pretty good intro to Joe Campbell. If you take myths and religions as the symbols and psychological archetypes that they are, you can transcend them. If you take them literally, there you will stay as a slave to the rules.

"Ideals are dangerous. Don't take them seriously. You can get by on a few."
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
As I tend to discuss forbidden subjects such as politics and religion with people, a friend at work highly recommended me Campbell's writings on the latter.

I guess myth, mythologies, fortune cookies and Bazooka Joes were never my strong suit, and I found this book to be somewhat boring; needless to say I was not spiritually inspired as I guess I was meant to.
Adam Fleming
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Is it fair to rate a book you haven't finished? I found it jumbled and disjointed. I got just far enough to find out that Campbell hung around with Steinbeck. Not sure it makes much difference. I couldn't get into this guy's guru-ship or whatever you call it.
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My Bible.
A collection of the insight and wisdom of Joseph Campbell edited by a poet. What could be better?!
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
To me, this one deserves six stars.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, 2017
This books is a collection pulled from Campbell's unpublished writings and talks. As usual, he manages to find relevance in nearly all major religious traditions and offers a lot of good advice for living joyfully in a sorrowful world. The structure of the book doesn't really have an overarching topic, but is just kind of chunked out into different musings on major life stages, art, and finding meaning. It makes it easy to pick up, read a little, and reflect -- I'd imagine not unlike reading a B ...more
Serin Silva
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Aligns to my personal philosophy and way of being. If you're a fan of Campbell, pick this up;-)
SJ Loria
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reflections on the Art of Living
“Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world”

Some of his ideas on gender roles didn’t quite age well, but aside from that simple point, this book is fascinating and resonates spiritually. I never got into any Campbell aside from Power of Myth until this book.
It may seem a bit funny to combine Nietzsche and spirituality, but that’s mainly because Nietzsche is presented as an evil postcard, not at all the right idea or reflection of him. His three stages of
John Jacob
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Joseph Campbell has been a major revelation and a guru every since I first saw and heard him on the Bill Moyers special on Mythology. Campbell was a world famous scholar of mythology, but his works on mythology are not what you should read (unless you too are a mythologist). It is the wisdom that Campbell picked up as a mythologist that is what needs to be read. He wrote several “wisdom” books, but some of his best stuff was his verbal teachings, and the compilations of his sayings that abound i ...more
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Well, hello, Joseph Campbell. Where have you been all my life? I should have started with this book rather than The Hero with a Thousand Faces because although I am enjoying reading it, Hero is a straight-up, bourbon on the rocks, serious, grown up mental exercise in reading and this is more like the kegger version of JC which, sadly, is where I need to start right now. The book is comprised of short, 1-3 page distillations of Campbell's other works. Every. single. time I picked this up, I felt ...more
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Grandpa being as you studied mythology your whollle life... sit down and tell us what you think matters most in the living of it."

All over the map... joyously broad... probably the closest you could get to having a very personal conversation with one of the foremost scholars of mythology. Campbell seems to have done more than merely study mythology in the cold clinical way I had always assumed... he "bought in" and drew deep life lessons from his studies that he applied to his own life. There
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the integration of Western, Eastern & Aboriginal philosophies. Having just finished a Bhuddist book, I felt like this book was stuck in the duality, and could not give it more than 4 stars. In terms of morality, duality is the second stage, and quite basic. There is right and wrong, but there is also grey. I was also stuck on the fact that Campbell placed so much emphasis on the differences between men and women.

Women have life thrust upon them, and men must s
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
I've read a number of books by Joseph Campbell, including some interview books (The Power of Myth, An Open Life). This is a good distillation of much of his thought (religion/myth as metaphor for the psychological/existential challenges of life). I like to read a few pages and then put it aside. There's certainly enough interesting ideas to ponder, such that I feel no need to try to finish a particular chapter or chunk in one sitting. The book mixes quotes from his writings (or others' writings) ...more
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
i read parts of this book all. the time. it was given to me for my b-day maybe 10 years ago and it's been one of the most interesting thought provoking books ever. i love Joseph Campbell's book and this author takes his lectures on comparative mythology and organizes them to reflect our everyday lives. i especially LOVE the chapter about marriage it contains one of my favorite quotes of all time- "marriage is not a love affair. it's an ordeal." sounds bad, right? WRONG! this one chapter has been ...more
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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

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