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Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  730 ratings  ·  90 reviews
A bold reimagining of Maslow's famous hierarchy of needs--and new insights for realizing your full potential and living your most creative, fulfilled, and connected life.

When psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman first discovered Maslow's unfinished theory of transcendence, sprinkled throughout a cache of unpublished journals, lectures, and essays, he felt a deep resonance with
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published April 7th 2020 by Tarcherperigee (first published 2020)
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Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Bought this for a deep dive into self-actualization, and it’s so much wider than I expected. Yes, the book primarily updates Maslow, but also synthesizes insights from Karen Horney, Viktor Frankl, Irvin Yalom, Rollo May, and many other psychological and philosophical thinkers.

Kaufman helped me understand the social instinct more deeply, included strong sections on vulnerable narcissism and whole love, posits that beyond self-actualization is a drive towards transcendence (that some have this an
Gleb Tsipursky
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In his groundbreaking book, Dr. Kaufman transcends the traditional vision of Maslow's hierarchy of needs to present a new vision of the good life that's so needed in our current time of troubles and tribulations.

Informed by the latest research (including some of his own) in positive psychology, social psychology, evolutionary psychology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, personality psychology, organizational psychology, sociology, cybernetics, and neuroscience, this book redefines
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fav-psychology
Very interesting book, definitely a re-read and to make notes

Striving to become the best version of ourselves, or what Maslow called self-actualization.

Maslov's Self Actualization Needs: Explore (Curiosity, curiosity, openness, understanding), Love, Purpose. These needs help us grow and transcend

If only Maslov hadn't died earlier than expected then he would have been able to finish or continue his work. What is written in textbooks about the needs pyramid isn't exactly what he finally realized.
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an avid listener of Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman's (SBK) podcast titled 'The Psychology Podcast', I was really excited to delve into this book. Kaufman's curiosity and eagerness to learn is very inspiring.

Most psychology courses (including my own psychology university experience) includes the hierarchy of needs as the pinnacle of humanistic psychology and the culmination of Maslow's work. However, this could not be further than what Maslow envisioned his work to represent.

SBK alters the hierarch
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In 2020––a year painfully riddled with death, loss, and uncertainty––cultivating our capacities for compassion, love, and flourishing seems both harder and more necessary than ever. In this crucial project, I can think of no better text to guide us than Scott Barry Kaufman's Transcend. This enlightening and joyous voyage into humanity’s psychological history, present, and possible futures arrived at exactly the right moment––not just for me personally, but for all of us.

First and foremost, Kaufm
Oct 12, 2020 rated it liked it
The best parts of this book were the parts that were Maslow biography--the self-help parts seemed pretty shallow and derivative--humans need meaning, connections, etc. The Maslow bit was fascinating because it seems as though we've misinterpreted the pyramid of needs. ...more
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Scott Barry Kaufman Ph.d. reviews and extrapolates on the famous work of Abraham Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs." Everyone who has taken a psychology course certainly encountered Maslow's work as it was a major work of what we might deem modern psychology. But many years have passed since this epic writing appeared and how has it held up and why or why not is it relevant in today's environment? These are the themes and topics spun off by Kaufman as he takes us through an in-depth look at the compo ...more
Sandeep Gautam
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ve-psych
Breathtaking and spellbinding read: detailed review at ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: influential
The subject matter here is ambitious and dense, serving as a kind of encyclopedia for human growth and development. It reads like a text book, and given the ambitious subject matter, the danger is to read too much too quickly, and be overwhelmed, never to return, or never finding ways to implement some small bit of wisdom. That being said having read it through once completely is also helpful to get an overall idea of what a transcendant life can be.

One cannot practically integrate all the know
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, an underwhelming read. Given the four pages of fanfare and accolades in Praise for Transcend, I should've known better. I can feel Mark Twain chuckling at me.

Now, I did like the Maslow-biography approach. But that in itself was not a winning strategy because as the mini-highlight, it was limited. Chapter 6, Purpose, was fine. And Live More in the B-Realm had some practical, parting reflection tasks.

Other than that, inconsistency in style. Psycho-babble interspersed with normal prose. P
Mark Broadhead
May 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Very self-helpy, unfortunately.
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Scott Barry Kaufman aims to make the growth perspective of humanistic psychologists in the 50s relevant today. He has developed a scientific basis to Maslow’s theory of self-actualisation – developing a 10-dimensional scale. He has also reformulated Maslow’s pyramid (which Maslow never mentioned!) into a security and growth model. Great potential for helping clients who want to build growth capabilities.

The key themes (and a link to the scale) can be picked up in this Scientific American article
Katrina Gomez Starr
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Required reading for humans. The world would be a better place if everyone read this book. I did the audible which I recommend
Tõnu Vahtra
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a quite detailed journey to Maslow's motivation theory and early references to peak experiences (AKA FLOW) with snippets about Maslow's own life. I got slightly lost with the last sections about transcendence (same happened with Maslow himself when nobody wanted to publish his thoughts on this) and I would not say that he got me convinced about the importance of this topic (maybe it's also connected to the fact that I'm not a big fan of positive psychology as a whole as it feels a bit n ...more
Michael Huang
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
Does not live up to the expectation. Billed as “the new science of self-actualization”, the book is perhaps more appropriately described as “notes tracing the thought of Maslow”.

The book starts promisingly, telling you that the Maslow pyramid of human need was never a product of Maslow, but that of a management consultant. The human needs are much more nuanced and complex. The simplification to the pyramid’s hierarchical, one-directional progression is precisely what you’d expect a management co
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a great book to hunker down with!

Transcend is a masterful synthesis of the latest research in human psychology from a star researcher, professor and psychologist.

Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman carefully takes the baton from Titan Abraham Maslow, illuminating new revelations in Maslow's as-yet-unfinished works from his final days.

Transcend is chalk full of scientific research, insights that can be applied, and a cogent theory for why it's high time we begin using a new, more precise metaphor to rep
Cain S.
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it

A couple of significant issues which make this book solidly *good*, rather than *great*, or *excellent*.

i. The author maintains “[Y]ou may not be entitled to shine, but you have the right to shine, because you are a worthy human being” (p.111)

The distinction between rights and entitlements is spurious.
To have the right to shine just is what it is to be entitled to shine. Exercising the right to shine, minimally, requires others to attribute shiny qualities to the bearer of the right. Put di
Jon Douglas
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
This was a wonderful overview of Maslow's work & where it naturally would have led to. I loved the sailboat metaphor & how it aligns with one of my favorite quotes:

"A Ship in Harbor Is Safe, but That Is Not What Ships Are Built For" - John A. Shedd

There's a delicate balance of growth & security that we all must have to meet transcendence, and this is slowly becoming one of my favorite books that covers what "self-actualization" really means.
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It took me a while to read this book as there were many points in it in which I had to stop, reread, and reflect on... my existence in this world, values, meaning, evolving, learning, purpose, love, and even death, among all the topics contained in its pages.
Francis Bezooyen
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I think the best way I can praise this book is to recount its effect on me. I found that a session of reading from this book had a distinctly positive influence on my thinking, leading me to be more patient and forgiving, to be more happy and hopeful - all by leading me to ponder the ideas and subjects found herein and to reflect on my own life and experiences. It's on my list of books that I should read again. ...more
Chris Boutté
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was awaiting this book for months after many other psychologist authors cited Kaufman’s work, and it didn’t disappoint. This book dives deep into the methods and ideas of Abraham Mazlo while also expanding upon many of his ideas for self-actualization. I’m definitely going to read this book again at some point.
Ann Hidayat
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came across this book when I was reading an article (or a book, I can't recall at this moment) mentioning why people are joining a cult or having such a tremendous awe experience, and the author of the other article put this book as a reference. I haven't take any psychology classes and wasn't familiar with Maslow's hierarchy (which turned out that it is a famous hierarchy diagram on self-actualization).

I enjoy this book, a lot, and learn more about how people perceive the Maslow's hierarchy
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
I think perhaps this book should have had the subtitle: In the Footsteps of Maslow. Kaufman is a huge fan, and much of his subject matter is Maslow's, with quotes galore. As a study of Maslow—if you're interested in the humanist psychologist—it's interesting, if a little rambling at times. But who wouldn't want to be all that they can be (creativity is one of the major pay-offs, apparently, if you make it to transcendence), and so we plough on. I've marked many passages and quotes, so there's go ...more
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it
If you are interested, there are several interesting online quizzes to take at that can compare and contract where you stand on elements of these theories. For me, I remember learning about self actualization and hoping to get there one day; this book actually takes you past that into a transcendent level which resonates with me, and gives me hope we are truly evolving. Fifty years ago, self actualization was not a given, but maybe it is more so now, and that is why we ...more
May 04, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Uninspired read

This book was more of a self help book than I expected. It was a rehash of old ideas. It read like a dissertation and was, at times, too academic.
Why are many people attracted to such endeavors as training to be a terrorist, joining a cult or becoming a gang member? Is it due to some innate neurological abnormality or a personality disorder? Might it be the way they were raised? One may be surprised to learn that much of the motivation one has to join these organized groups is all too familiar and is actually virtually universal.

Violent extremism, cults and gangs are all examples of many individuals’ desire for transcendence. Like us, the
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021, psychology
This was a book I read slowly over 6 months, pondering and absorbing. First of all, I love the school of positive or humanist psychology, which doesn't just focus on what goes wrong in human functioning but also on what goes right, on what it means to live well. Kaufman's approach is to update the ideas and approach of Maslow in particular, while also making liberal use of Frankl, Rogers, Fromm, etc. Kaufman validates positive psychology with modern experimental data, while also updating the con ...more
JY Tan
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
The scope and richness of this book is incredible, synthesizing findings across multiple fields of mainstream psychology into an overarching theory of self-transcendence. Might have been single-handedly the most ambitious psychology book I have had the pleasure of reading and largely lives up to its promises, and it actually still happens to be a great self-help title as well. The snippets of SBK's pursuits of Maslow's original documents and retelling of his biography also adds an unprecedented ...more
Vanessa Princessa
I read this book thanks to Blinkist.

Turns out that I am a transcender, lol

“ The paradox is that transcenders are not necessarily happy. They may often feel frustrated when they can’t realize their vision, or feel sadness about things like human cruelty. But they’re also better able to integrate the good and the bad sides of life, and to feel less regret.

In short, they integrate all aspects of human existence. They have the ability to look at the multiplicity of human needs in a nonjudgmental way
Mario Sailer
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
I started to read it because of an recommendation and because I am interested in the theories of Abraham Maslow. So I was keen to get to know the newest scientific findings in psychology about what he came up to many decades ago. But I stopped reading at about page 150 (of 260 if you do not count the Appendix and all the rest). Why? While content of the first half of the book was not really new for me, it nevertheless was good as a reminder and it provided for a few new insights. What I missed h ...more
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Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., is a humanistic psychologist exploring the depths of human potential. He has taught courses on intelligence, creativity, and well-being at Columbia University, NYU, the University of Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. In addition to writing the column Beautiful Minds for Scientific American, he also hosts The Psychology Podcast, and is author and/or editor of 9 books, includi ...more

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