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David Bell's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books David Bell recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of David Bell's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Learning from Experience

'As the problems raised in this book are fundamental to learning they have a long history of investigation and discussion. In phsycho-analytical practice, particularly with patients displaying symptoms of disorders of thought, it becomes clear that psycho-analysis has added a dimension to problems if not to their solution. 'This book deals with emotional experiences that are directly related both to theories of knowledge and to clinical psycho-analysis, and that in the most practical manner.'- Wilfred R. Bion, from the Introduction less
Recommended by David Bell, and 1 others.

David BellHe is very seminal to my work. There are three elements in Freud’s thought that deal with what promotes development. The first is overcoming repression of sexual and destructive instincts, the second is allowing the life instinct to dominate the death drive and the third is knowledge, that is, knowledge of the self. ‘Where Id was there Ego shall be,’ he said. Crudely speaking, the Id is the... (Source)

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Melanie Klein's writings, particularly on infant development and psychosis, have been crucial both to theoretical work and to clinical practice. Envy and Gratitude collects her writings from 1946 until her death in 1960, including two papers published posthumously.

Klein's major paper, 'Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms', introduces the concept of the paranoid-schizoid position, in which the infant ego splits, projects and introjects its objects - most particularly the mother - during the first few months of life. 'Envy and Gratitude' her last major...
Recommended by David Bell, and 1 others.

David BellMelanie Klein is perhaps the most influential post-Freudian and, where Freud found the child in the adult and saw how all of us carry within us childhood thoughts, feelings and fantasies that have a determining effect on our lives, often unconsciously, Klein found the infant in the child. She developed a form of psychoanalysis that could access the internal life of quite young children. (Source)

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Sigmund Freud

An intellectual biography of the man as well as a thorough analysis of the entire span of his writings and speculative theories is presented in this introduction. A preface on recent critical work updates the reissue. less
Recommended by David Bell, and 1 others.

David BellThe place to start would be to say that Freud was always very keen to point out that he didn’t discover the unconscious. The unconscious was already well-known, particularly in literature, and Freud often quotes Goethe and Shakespeare. The unconscious was also well-known in antiquity as an aspect of the mind that is unknown to us but that affects the way we think, feel and behave. (Source)

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Originally appearing as a series of articles in The New Yorker, Hannah Arendt’s authoritative and stunning report on the trial of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann sparked a flurry of debate upon its publication. This revised edition includes material that came to light after the trial, as well as Arendt’s postscript directly addressing the controversy that arose over her account. A major journalistic triumph by an intellectual of singular influence, Eichmann in Jerusalem is as shocking as it is informative—an unflinching look at one of the most unsettling and unsettled issues of the... more

Dr. Phil Zimbardo[Talks] about Eichmann as illustrating the banality of evil. (Source)

Lucas MoralesI was introduced to the book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt via Ian Shapiro’s Yale Open Courseware course The Moral Foundations of Political Science. This dramatically changed my outlook on the usual career path for graduates from my university that predominantly went into the defence industry. I am now perhaps overly conscious (maybe to a fault) that... (Source)

David BellPolitical philosopher Arendt sees the work of the Nazis as the inevitable result of colonialism and industrialisation. (Source)

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Civilization and Its Discontents

It stands as a brilliant summary of the views on culture from a psychoanalytic perspective that he had been developing since the turn of the century. It is both witness and tribute to the late theory of mind—the so-called structural theory, with its stress on aggression, indeed the death drive, as the pitiless adversary of eros.

Civilization and Its Discontents is one of the last of Freud's books, written in the decade before his death and first published in German in 1929. In it he states his views on the broad question of man's place in the world, a place Freud defines...

John GrayCivilisation, as Freud understands it, begins with the restraint of violence… which means that the civilisational condition is one of discontent. (Source)

Sam FreedmanA rough synopsis of the book is that love is a social construct designed to prevent us from murdering each other, at the expense of creating profound neurosis, so definitely a bold choice for a second date. (Source)

David BellA dispassionate view of the cost of civilisation to the individual. (Source)

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