-Contributed by Jodi Kearns
Many of you learned about Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in your basic Psych 101 course. But did you know Maslow was also an avid leisure reader?
The Center for the History of Psychology holds in its collection Maslow’s diaries where he made daily entries documenting his days, especially while he was a teen and an undergraduate student in New York. His 1926 diary lists, in Maslow’s own handwriting, all of the novels, nonfiction, and other literature he read from January through December of this year. He read 136 books in 1926 by his own count.
This image of the first page of his list shows the dates he completed reading, whether he owned the book or borrowed it, and his personal assessment of the book.
Here are some highlights.
In January 1926, for example, he completed the borrowed book “Wife of the Centaur” by Cyril Hume, and described it as “An absorbing story of a man in whom sex is predominant. Wonderfully interesting style.”
In March, he read a book he owned “Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert and commented: “Famous but I can’t see why. no story, but a style. Written in absolute detail.”
About “Jurgen” by James Cabell, also finished in March, Maslow wrote “Couldn’t understand it at all. Way over my head. Some kind of an allegory. An erudite work. Babyishly smutty and filthy in some places.”
In May, he completed his 55th book of 1926, Mark Twain’s “The Mysterious Stranger,” which he describes as “a glorified fairy story in which M. T. displays his dangerously socialistic philosophy. Easy and very interesting reading.”
An impressive list! Take this survey to see how many of Maslow’s 1926 reads are on your list of books read!
[The numbers don’t add up! Maslow frequently listed individual items in an anthology. We treat each title as a separate “book” in this list. For a few entries, incomplete or vague information is given that we cannot decode. We exclude these titles from this list. Books reread are listed once.]