The hero within : six archetypes we live by

by Carol Pearson

Book, 1989



Call number


Call number



San Francisco : Harper & Row, Ã1989.

Original publication date

1986 (original edition)
1989 (expanded edition)

Physical description

xxviii, 210 p.; 21 cm

Local notes

A modern classic of Jungian psychology, The Hero Within has helped hundreds of thousands of people enrich their lives by revealing how to tap the power of the archetypes that exist within. Drawing from literature, anthropology, and psychology, author Carol S. Pearson clearly defines six heroic archetypes—the Innocent, the Orphan, the Wanderer, the Warrior, the Altruist, and the Magician—and shows how we can use these powerful guides to discover our own hidden gifts, solve difficult problems, and transform our lives with rich sources of inner strength.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Airycat
This is a book I purchased with the idea of gaining an understanding of character types for writing stories. It provides those insights and much more.

Pearson descripes the six archetype and also shows how all the archetypes are part each person. We don't go through them in any set order, though a
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couple of paths are most common, based on our society. Even more, though, she makes it clear that we may seem to be in one particular archetype mode, and as we grow and learn, move into another and another until we've covered all six, (or get stuck in one) we actually are processing all six all the time. She clarifies what each archetype is and contrasts it to stagnant societal understanding or stereotype.

Although my copy of the book was written in1989, it does not seem at all dated. In fact, I see more of the changes she believes our society is going through. You can see what archetype was and is dominant in our society. I think it can help make change less scary to those who identify more with the outgoing archetype and more hopeful for those who don't identify. She addresses this particularly with the stereotypes for male and female roles.

This isn't a book you can use to make people change (probably not even yourself), but it offers understanding of where others, and you, are. It helps answer the question 'Why do people do what they do?' This understanding can be what you need to help you make a change, if you are ready, but no one will change until it is time for them to change.

The book is a lot of psychology, but Pearson treats religion with respect. I appreciate this. I didn't find it at odds with my own beliefs as I have sometimes found with some psychology books.

As someone who occasionally writes stories, I find it gives background and understanding that will help me flesh out my characters when I need to figure out things like motivation. Mostly, though it's been a book that helps me see who I am and maybe where I'm going.
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LibraryThing member Diwanna
INNOCENT, ORPHAN, MARTYR, WANDERER, WARRIOR, MAGICIAN.This book spends 80% of the time explaining 6 heroic archetypes that we all live by and the journey we must all take to complete the cycle. The last 20% of the book has a quiz to identify the archetypes roles in your current life and lists
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exercises on how to maximize your potential through each role. The two issues I have with this book are that it's descriptions of the archetypes seem to ramble on and on;I've said it before, why say in 500 pages what you can say in 100 pages. Secondly, unbeknownst to be the book has a strong feminine bent. I have no problem with that per say, but I may have gleaned more information if I was a female. If it wasn't for these issues, it definitely would have been a 4 star book.
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LibraryThing member raizel
This book was recommended to me by an unemployment counselor in the 90s. What I remember 20 years later is that the archetypes can be seen as stages that you go through and that there is hope that you will go from the negative powerless one to the positive powerful one.

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