The Psychopathology of Everyday Life by Sigmund Freud

I think one book by Freud is probably enough, unless you are into the detail. His theories are incredibly interesting but they do boil down to one big idea: that the activities of the human mind are interconnected by many layers of meaning and consciousness. So even the most trivial mental event has ramifications and causes.

I confess I did not read all of this book, as the detail of his cases did not interest me sufficiently, fascinating though they are, especially for psychologists and psychiatrists. So much of Freud has soaked into our everyday language – ‘Freudian slips’ and quips about penis envy – that it is easy to forget what an amazing and revolutionary thinker he was.

I suspect true followers of Freud must spend a good part of each day analysing the smaller part of the day during which they did something else. Almost everything is susceptible to analysis, almost without limit. Which is as daunting as it is exciting.

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