The drive for self: Alfred Adler and the founding of individual psychology
As the founding father of Individual Psychology, ranked alongside Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as one of the world's most inspired social thinkers, Alfred Adler fashioned a new understanding of personality that took the search for self out of the shadows of Freudian gloom and placed it firmly in the hands of the individual. Here at last is the first major biography of a man who has had a profound influence not only on modern and popular psychology but on the very way we think about ourselves. From Adler's early life in fin de siecle Vienna, to his break with psychoanalysis and later life in America, The Drive for Self offers a compelling portrait of both the man and his times. An early intimate of Freud and his inner circle, Adler was one of the original four participants in the Wednesday Psychological Society that became the nucleus for worldwide psychoanalysis. Impressed with Adler's brilliance, Freud referred many patients to him, including his own brother-in-law and by 1910 Adler was appointed president of their psychoanalytic group and editor of their professional journal. Yet slowly and steadily, the relationship between the two brilliant men deteriorated into bitter and lifelong enmity, as Adler refused to toe the psychoanalytic line. When Adler directly challenged basic psychoanalytic dogma about unconscious motivation and childhood sexuality, an outraged Freud removed him from his presidential and editorial posts. Hoffman throws new light on Freud by examining in depth the intense and often venomous relationship that existed between the two men - revealing both Freud's misuse of power and Adler's courage in defying both Freud and his powerful circle to begin his own school ofthought. Individual Psychology ultimately reflects the life of its founder. Optimistic at its core, it focuses on the uniqueness of each person, describing us as primarily social, not biological beings. Far from being driven by forces we cannot see or control, we actively direct and create our own growth, our own future. Such is the way Adler lived: From his middle-class Jewish boyhood as a small sickly child in Vienna and an early encounter with death, to his pledge to become a healer and eventual achievement of international recognition, Adler overcame feelings of inferiority and strove for a sense of accomplishment, or what he called superiority. Here in Adler's life is the basis for so many of his theories and terms, including such popular phrases as the inferiority complex, over-compensation, and life-style, that now permeate modern psychology, education, psychotherapy, consulting, and social work, as well as our very perceptions of our own lives. With a cast of characters that includes Trotsky and Nijinsky, and set in a time of great social upheaval and change in both Europe and America, The Drive for Self is a fascinating read. Pulling from hitherto unpublished archival materials as well as extensive interviews with Adler's two surviving children, Dr. Hoffman has given us an intense and compelling portrait of a man whose impassioned life's work has proven beneficial to the world.
What people are saying - Write a review
The drive for self: Alfred Adler and the founding of individual psychologyUser Review - Book Verdict
The earliest of Freud's adherents to break away and form his own system of psychological theory, Adler is responsible for such common concepts as the inferiority complex, the importance of birth order, and the "spoiled" child. Despite the fact that his central notion-that we humans develop from an innate desire to interact with others-is far more central to contemporary psychology than is Freud's idea of libidinal drives, no major biography of Adler has been written, perhaps because he did not establish a cohesive school of followers. Unfortunately, this book does not completely fill this gap. Perhaps because Adler was a talker, not a writer, Hoffman's study does not convey much sense of the man, nor does it systematically describe his theories. Josef Rattner's Alfred Adler (LJ 5/1/83) and Manes Soerber's Masks of Loneliness: Alfred Adler in Perspective (Macmillan, 1974) both offer more complete expositions of Adler's "individual psychology" accompanied by some biographical information. Not an essential purchase.-Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, Wash.
Review: Drive for Self: Alfred Adler and the Founding of Individual PsychologyUser Review - Frank Spencer - Goodreads
This book has a good chronology of Adler's life and a good summary of his work. I didn't realize that he was as popular as he was in the 1920s in the USA. It is interesting that others did so much of ... Read full review