How To Read Carl Jung

Carl Jung is often introduced as a twentieth century psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, who was a student of Sigmund Freud but then the two men went their own ways. However, Jung was much more than that. Because of his wide range of interests – history, mythology, religion, philosophy, architecture and psychology (of course) – he could safely be considered a polymath.

After rejecting some of Freud’s ideas (unlike Freud , Jung believed that libido was not the only factor in the development of an individual’s personality), Jung continued to work on the psychology of the unconscious and founded Analytical Psychology, which sometimes is also referred as Jungian Psychology. This approach works on individual psyche but always includes the idea of wholeness i.e., how the unconscious gets affected by all what goes around us and what has already happened in human history.

If you want to understand Jung’s approach and the ideas that he developed, watch the videos below:

Now, let’s get to the point. How should one go about exploring Jungian Psychology which is going to be a long project for any reader. But here’s what you can do to make things easier for yourself.

  1. It is a good idea to start with his last work Man and His Symbols. Note that only one segment of the book was written by Jung, but it really captures the heart of Jung’s earlier works. The book was published in 1961, two years after his famous interview on BBC; it was during this time did he feel the need to take his works to the wider public and hence wrote the book. Here’s the interview that aired in 1959:  
  2. You can then go on to read his memoir Memories, Dreams and Reflections. Some people even like to start with this book. Here Jung himself explains his ideas and how he came to develop them. He began to work on this book in 1957, after a series of conversations with his colleague and friend, Aniela Jaffe, which he used as the basis for the text. The book familiarises you with the Jungian world.
  3. Life becomes slightly easier after reading these two books. This is because of two reasons: a) A lot of publishers have put his other works in chronological order b) By now, you have understood what Jung is talking about.
  4. Read his collected works in chronological order. This has twenty volumes; so, good luck!
  5. While reading the collected works, you may go to some of his other works such as The Red Book and Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. But this depends on the reader – which topic they would like to explore while reading Jung’s writings.

Go ahead and start reading today. Life is too short to finish all Jungian Psychology, especially if you would like to read other stuff too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s