Cover: The Wisdom of the Ego, from Harvard University PressCover: The Wisdom of the Ego in PAPERBACK

The Wisdom of the Ego

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Product Details

PAPERBACK

$36.00 • £28.95 • €32.50

ISBN 9780674953734

Publication Date: 07/21/1998

Short

408 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

17 tables, 5 figures

World

Vaillant tells us that ego defenses are not pathological formations or symptoms of mental illness. They are ingenious self-deceptions that serve adaptation… He is to be commended for bringing certain unconscious processes into focus and for illuminating the various ways in which ego defenses contribute to a person’s adaptation to life.—Louise J. Kaplan, The Boston Sunday Globe

The thesis of The Wisdom of the Ego is most persuasively developed by the use of life histories, some of which derive from subjects in Vaillant’s study groups but many of which are derived from life histories of famous individuals. The reader gets delicious insights into the way that life experiences shaped the ego’s defensive repertoire and how these defenses then shaped the careers of characters as diverse as Beethoven and Emily Dickinson, Tolstoy and Henry Ford, and Gandhi and Josef Mengele… The illustrations offered by these famous lives result in a book that is entertaining and memorable.—John G. Gunderson, M.D., American Journal of Psychiatry

The rumor of the death of Ego Psychology is greatly exaggerated. As long as George Vaillant writes his engaging books extolling the wisdom of ego psychology it is destined to remain part of our theoretical landscape… The Wisdom of the Ego is written with the author’s vivid, sometimes witty and consistently clear style, happily interspersed with numerous examples both from his longitudinal studies, as well as from biographies of well-known people… One need not agree with all of Vaillant’s premises to appreciate and enjoy this colorful and many-faceted book. I cannot think of a better, more absorbing book to introduce clinical graduate students and clinicians in general to an updated version of the best ideas of ego psychology.—Sophie Freud, American Journal of Psychotherapy

Mental health, social fitness, creativity, self-deception, success and failure are documented with uplifting humor and nobility. Medical and psychiatric understanding is eruditely conveyed with the good taste of a fine after-dinner story.Canadian Medical Association Journal

A stimulating presentation of theory and research on ego development.Choice

This is a remarkable synthesis of the best current thinking on ego psychology as well as a many-faceted picture of what Robert White would call ‘lives in progress.’ It makes on its own not only a highly innovative contribution to ego psychology but an equally original and impressive contribution to longitudinal research. A remarkable and many-faceted work.—George W. Goethals, Harvard University

A richly textured, elegantly written, and humane book by the person who is becoming the Anna Freud of his day. Vaillant’s sympathetic treatment of the defenses is itself wise and creative.—Robert Kegan, Harvard University and the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology

This is a brilliant, not to say unique, book. It brings to the study of the ego the same clarifying empiricism, animating passion, and illuminating insight that so strikingly characterized the pioneering investigations of the dynamic unconcious a hundred years ago. Behind The Wisdom of the Ego lies the wonderful wisdom of George Vaillant.—John C. Nemiah, Darmouth Medical School

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