Feet Of Clay

Feet Of Clay

by Anthony Storr


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An eye-opening investigation of charismatic "gurus" from Jesus to Freud to David Koresh, by the author of "Solitude: A Return to the Self". In "Feet of Clay", eminent psychologist Anthony Storr uncovers the personality traits that link these men and explores the incredible power they have wielded over their fanatical followers. 11 photos.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780684834955
Publisher: Free Press
Publication date: 08/19/1997
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 776,592
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Anthony Storr was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and an Emeritus Fellow of Green College, Oxford. He was the author of numerous books, including The Integrity of the Personality, The Dynamics of Creation, The Essential Jung, and The Art of Psychotherapy. Dr. Storr died in 2001.

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Feet Of Clay 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous 10 days ago
Although gurus may be difficult to unmask, Dr. Storr offers a litmus test for cinfrontimg such imposters: Gurus are almost always narcissitic and almost always insist they are right. It is this certitude that should tip off the skeptic that the messianic individual in question is a fraud.
bobbieharv on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Too many gurus were included (Gurdjieff, Jesus, Freud, Jung, Koresh, just to name a few) to do any of them justice, which resulted in highly superficial analyses and in some cases unjustified dismissals of their work; and also no space for the in-depth psychological analysis I was expecting from a psychiatrist.
aulsmith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think in some ways this book is mislabeled. While the author does seem to be addressing the problem of identifying and avoiding bad gurus, in the course of his research into gurus, he delved into questions of "abnormal" and "normal" psychology, the psychological similarity among religious conversion, creativity and scientific discovery, as well as the nature of human psychological needs and why "gurus" are appealing. As a formerly religious person who has now embraced creativity as a life-affirming activity, I found a world of useful information in this book. Storr's broad ranging definition of guru (he includes Freud and Jung, for instance), his ability to look past the surface of behavior to root out comparisons and differences, and his acceptance of people's positive experiences even with destructive gurus really helped me appreciate the role of flawed, charismatic people's contributions to various fields.If you are a skeptic interested in religious phenomenon or someone who wants a deeper insight into the continuum of psychological processes, I think you will find much of value here.Two small caveats: This book was written (1996) before many of the discoveries that have shaped current neurophysiology. So if you're interested in the psychology, you might also want to read some more current studies of creativity and "abnormal" psychology that include some of the neuroscience. Also, towards the end Storr gets just a tad repetitive. I don't know if it's because he anticipated people not reading the book straight through or because he got a little lost himself in some of his side tracks. It's just a tad annoying and worth reading through, since the final conclusions of the book are very insightful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great Britain based Anthony Storr writes eloquently about gurus be they saints, sinners or madmen. And as I imagined he would, Jesus Christ, is analyzed (most respectfully) but, Muhammmad, other than a brief mention in the introduction, never makes it to the couch. Go figure. I burned through the chapter on David Koresh (aka: Vernon Howell) but every American's favorite, Charlie Manson, is left back in his California prison cell scratching swastikas in the linoleum with an incisor he ripped from his own jaw. After biographies about the reverend Jim Jones, of Jamestown fame, to televangelist Pat Robertson, and the unknown Paul Brunton, author Storr goes on to explain why Man searches for answers, god and redemption. And then continues with the why and how individuals become gurus and the techniques these powerful mentor's utilize, sometimes unconsciously, to attract and then retain disciples. While the first few chapters containing the real whack jobs, including the already mentioned, James Jones and David Koresh, and adding the Bhagwan Shree Rajaneesh, left me eager to read on, the book too quickly ran out of steam as I chugged through Carl Justuv Jung and Sigmund Freud, then began picking up energy through the section on Ignatius of Loyola and then finally settling down to a steady read of never being either boring or exciting until the final page. As if to put an exclamation mark on his work, the last black and white photo displayed is that of India-based moustached Mother Meera who speaks not at all, but simply holds the heads of her supplicants while they kneel before her! While, of course, not agreeing with everything put forward, I learned so much in this 244 paged book (that includes 14 pages of undisturbed footnotes) that it is difficult to be brief. So I will simply end my review here.