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The Informed Heart

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  15 reviews
In 1938-39, Bruno Bettelheim was imprisoned in the concentration camps of Dachau and Buchenwald. In order to keep alive and remain human, he began to analyze his own behaviour and that of everyone around him. This book is a record of those years.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 31st 1991 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1960)
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This is an incredibly difficult book to rate and review. Bruno Bettelheim was another one of those crazy-Austrian-pyschologist-types like Siggy Freud, but Bettelheim's focus was primarily on child psychology. There's a lot of debate about his early theories on autism - his belief was that autism is not organic but actually occurs due to a mother's coldness towards the child, "refrigerator mother". That's hard for me to stomach and I want to throw really large objects on Bettelheim's corpse, but ...more
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book had some really interesting reflections on the concentration camps. It is difficult - and you need to read carefully to pick out the gems amongst the psychoanalytical stuff. Something that he said struck me with a cold force when I was re-reading it recently. He wrote about how people forget what the concentration camps were really about. They weren't about sadism gone mad. They were cold blooded experiments to calculate what the state could get away with - how far you could rob people ...more
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this as we are in lockdown.

Key thoughts from the book:

Government overreach may have long term negative ramifications much as Bettelheim observed as long term ramifications from the experiment with prohibition.

Barring individuals from decision making in matters vital to them - e.g. work, worship, seeing loved ones - is extremely harmful. This is informative of the current resistance to lockdowns that are perceived as too draconian, or not rational in scope or application.

Persons who al
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A super powerful book. The Book didn't go into the details some of the atrocities that happened in the concentration camps in Buchenwald and Birkenau and Auschwitz. It did however look at the psychology of how individuals reacted to certain situations and dilemmas they were put into. The book had thousands of insights which the author was able to capture during couple of years of incarceration in those concentration camps. He had to memorize a lot of the things because of course he couldn't writ ...more
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not a memoir, but an analysis.
How to deal with the anxieties new technology gives us? What on earth are Trump's voters thinking or feeling? How to cope with a fast-changing world? The book talks about all this and much more.
So, don't be seduced into passivity. Read. Think. For yourself.
mega them
Oct 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Found myself absolutely enthralled by this... then I looked up the author online and found out he was totally discredited. He was an abuser who may have fabricated large parts of this book. So now I'm just confused about what I should and should not believe in it. ...more
Feb 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cell, dropped
Lots of obsolete opinions without any proofs.
There are some good ideas, but it just doesn't worth digging and analysing if the advice is based on good ideas.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
touching yet still really incisive. i get a special thrill from reading books if they somehow bleed into other things for e.g. n without wishing to sound facetious when i was reading this a couple of years back i was watching celebrity big brother n whilst obviously a more benign variation on group dynamics the psychological parallels were breath taking.
Ilya Cherkasov
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Круто, по хардкорному круто. Обыденно, без эмоций, о том, как умирают люди -- сначала ментально, а потом уже физически.
Matthew Giobbi
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Bettelheim enriches me in surprising ways every time.
Chris Brûl
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lecture difficile mais très pertinente pour la compréhension psychique des martyrs juifs. L'humain est une bête qui n'attend que les bonnes circonstances pour se manifester. ...more
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Bruno Bettelheim was an Austrian-born American child psychologist and writer. He gained an international reputation for his views on autism and for his claimed success in treating emotionally disturbed children.

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