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The Ego and the Id (Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud) Paperback – 1 Apr 1962


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The Ego and the Id (Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud) + The Interpretation of Dreams (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature) + A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (1 April 1962)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393001423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393001426
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13.4 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 390,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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In this introductory chapter there is nothing new to be said and it will not be possible to avoid repeating what has often been said before. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By B. Kelly on 15 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Complicated read but interesting, leaves of plenty food for thought! Would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy or psychoanalysis!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D on 29 May 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everything anyone who is inetersted in psychology particularly this area that you would need. Not an easy read but great to referance and to understand the area more clearly.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Antonis on 28 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Most of Freud's work has been discredited for being unscientific, untestable, and many times simply wrong. Freud's Ego and the Id, analyses the mind from the Freudian perspective, and is an essential read for anyone interested in understanding Freudian theory and the history of psychology.
Reading this book, I've only now realized that the Oedipus complex plays a central role in Freud's theories. The Oedipus complex is unscientific, and in my opinion plain nonsense, making Freud's analysis more or less worthless. The most significant part of this book, is probably his analysis of the unconscious mind, Freud's real contribution to psychology which revolutionized the field.

Although I tend to dislike Freud, I admit that the Ego and the Id was a fun and very interesting read. Freud is a great writer, and his analysis makes the reader, above all, think for himself.

If you are looking for a realistic analysis of human psychology, look elsewhere. Sigmund Freud hardly has anything to do with modern psychology anymore. However, his books are always interesting, and can be read for their historical significance and their philosophical approach on human nature.

I give this book 3 stars, because of the historical significance of the book. I feel that I cannot give the book a higher rating due to its unscientific approach.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 29 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A new terminology for things already known 30 April 2003
By Roberto P. De Ferraz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Despite being a very small book, with good introduction and preface, this is not an easy book to read and in my opinion the more the reader is well acquainted with the evolution of Freud's terminology the better. In this regard The Interpretation of Dreams is a prior reading which will give substance for the later reading of The Ego and the Id.

Some concepts already presented in earlier books are developed more soundly in this opus, despite some confusion between the terminology, a situation acknowledge by the editor and even by the author.
The Ego and the Id was written in 1924 and, contrary to some earlier books by Freud which could be read by the lay person (" The Interpretation of Dreams" , "The Psychopathology of Every Day Life" , "Jokes and Their Relations with the Unconscious" , " Totem and Taboo" and many others), this one was not written for the non-scientific person, due to a lot of psychanalitical lingo he uses in the text and the difficulty faced in the conceptualization.
Despite all this, I think it is an useful reading to everyone interested in the history and theory of psychanalisys. The figth between the Id (which equals the Unconscious plus some conscious departments), the Ego (mainly inputed by senses perception) and the Ideal Ego (or Super-ego), who represents a kind of moral agency who reviews and criticizes all the actions by the Ego, is of special beauty and are quintessential Freudian. A pretty much intereting reading for anyone interested in the history of psychanalisys and in concepts already of working value.
49 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Language Barrier 31 Jan 2002
By rareoopdvds - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sigmund Freud is not known for his easy-to-read writing style. Those that translated Freud's works have recently been under fire for being misleading or inaccurate. When I set out to read this book, I felt it neccessary to make as many notes neccesary and to dig beneath and between to bring out what Freud really meant by "ego" and "id." To my conclusion, the reason Freud is argued against so much is because of the confusion that surrounds his theories.
The words "ego" and "id" are Greek, and we have carried them into the English language and then nominalized. By doing this our consciousness solidifies them as things within our brains. The word "ego" means "I" or "self". The word "id" means "non-I" or "non-self", or "it." We dont say "the I" when we refer to ourselves. But so often we say "the ego" as if to refer to a specific part or thing of our minds.
The other confusion that adds to nominalization is then believing the rest of the book is about things in space. Yet, Freud specifically says, "The state of things which we have been describing can be respresented diagramatically, though it must be remarked that the form chosen has no pretensions to any special applicability, but is mere intended to serve for purposes of exposition (p. 18)." What Freud is saying is that in order to communicate clearly what is happening in ones psyche, or mind, there needs to be a working model of the psyche.That is to say, a model meaning a diagram with its parts that do not act as the psyche itself (or of reality), but shows what the psyche consists of. He does this by discerning that which is "descriptive," and that which is "dynamic." The descriptive only describes through language or imaginative use, while dynamic is more at the process that actually occurs.
Now the model Freud eventually used as a diagram is not a very good model. In fact it is a bit unwieldy and clumsy and in the end served little purpose (later in he updated the model in 'New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis', 1933). Because Freud is the first to devise the model, it is primitive and modifications would be neccessary. Actually Freud seemed to have modeled what looks to be an ill-defined organ giving way to the idea that it functions like a heart would. While reading the book, I chose not to use the model he drew, but rather found it useful to create my own based on his descriptions of where things are in relation to each other. This does not mean I believe the model is a literal drawing of my mind or anyone elses, but rather a means in which we understand how one part of the psyche works with another. Similarly is Neil Bohr's model of the atom. He did not draw what he actually saw, he created a model only for communication purposes. When a group understands the parts, and the relationship of those parts, then you create a vernacular, or as Freud called it, a "shibboleth of psycho-analysis." Then we can clearly understand what we are talking about when referring to these parts.
The book is only psychological in language, where Freud describes his theories of ego and id. He raises other aspects of the psyche that one may need to already understand, such as cathexis, the Oedipal complex, displacement, reaction formation and so forth. He sets out essentially how ego is created in relation to id, and by creating our ego we also create repression. It is sometimes misconstrued that ego is associated with egotistical, or egotism, or even conceit, however, Freud is aware that our ego is as much benevalent as malevalent.
"The Ego and the Id" was written in 1923, so the language is sometimes archaic, even in the translated form. Its more popular to be adverse with Freud, usually due to the claims Freud made regarding childhood sexuality, and that all of his theories are based upon sexual experiences in our youth. I believe if one set that opinion aside and read as if you never heard of Freud, you might think differently. I found it useful while reading not only to understand the times Freud wrote in, but to also update the language in more modern terms. If ego does not suit you, choose another word, as long as the relationships and understanding of their functions remain constant. But what you call them may reveal that Freud really hit the mark in describing the functions and processes of our minds. When you observe as he did, you will discover how memories are repressed, what your consciousness holds, what you observe in your consciousness and what you are holding out on in your unconscious. How our ego's and super-ego's (ego-ideal) serve and protect, yet hinder potential. For me, updating the language allowed me to understand Freuds work much better than if I kept his work in the past and attempted to apply it to today. I dont feel that works for any author. It would be like knowing how to fix an Apple IIe and expecting to be able to fix a Macintosh G3 computer.
Freud's "Ego and the Id" is a great book to begin to understand his theories. Its a small book (62 pages) and will create the foundation of understanding for any of his other works. Having a good working knowledge of this book will also aid you in reading other authors who discuss ego functions as well as your ability to discern how the word is used in relation to Freud's understanding.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
An intro into ones self 20 Nov 2002
By M. A. ZAIDI - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Id- Unconscious part of the mind which consists of natural instincts, urges, and drives that are repressed. It includes "internal events" which stem from the influence of heredity. Although the id is the cause of all activity, the thoughts are often unconscious and repressed. The id represents biological forces. It is also a constant in the personality as it is always present. The id is governed by the "pleasure principle", or the notion of hedonism (the seeking of pleasure).
Ego- A defense mechanism that is partly conscious and contains the capacities to calculate, reason, and plan. As the Id relates to internal events, the Ego is occupied with the external world. Its task is to regulate and control the instincts provided by the id. However, in times of sleep, the ego detaches itself from the outside world and changes, its organization. The prime function of the ego is determined by the individuals experiences. The ego is the surface of the personality, the part you show the world. The ego is governed by the "reality principle ," or a pragmatic approach to the world. For example, a child may want to snitch a cookie from the kitchen, but will not if a parent is present. Id desires are still present, but the ego realizes the consequences of brazen cookie theft.
Super-ego- the connection between the id and ego. The super ego is the minds link to reality and society. It contains the influence of what is learned from other people. The super-ego, unlike the id, is not intuitive from birth, but acquired from childhood. Once established, one begins to feel guilt. The superego consists of two parts, the conscience and the ego-ideal. The conscience is the familiar metaphor of angel and devil on each shoulder. The conscience decides what course of action one should take. The ego-ideal is an idealized view of one's self. Comparisons are made between the ego-ideal and one's actual behavior. Both parts of the super-ego develop with experience with others, or via social interactions. According to Freud, a strong super-ego serves to inhibit the biological instincts of the id, while a weak super-ego gives in to the id's urgings. Further, the levels of guilt in the two cases above will be high and low, respectively.
The ID strives for the needs, wants desires; as the ID strives for pleasure it encounters experiences of frustration. The desires and needs of the ID do not get responded to as soon as the individual would like; in essence the reality of life; this results in the development of personality that governs orientation to reality. During early development of a person there are other influences as moral and ethical expectations of family and society. As the ID strives for gratification it encounters these moral and ethical expectations that tend to frustrate the ID; as a result of this the SUPER-EGO develops which represents the individuals moral orientation. Also known as the conscience. Family and society play an important role in defining for a person what these moral and ethical expectations include. Unresolved conflicts between ID-EGO-SUPER EGO can lead to fixation or blockage in development and can result in excessive dependence in manipulation. The resolution of each crisis depends on the interaction of the individual's characteristics and the support provided by the social environment.
Quote from Dr Freud:
"...the ego seeks to bring the influence of the external world to bear upon the id and its tendencies, and endeavours to substitute the reality principle for the pleasure principle which reigns unrestrictedly in the id. For the ego, perception plays the part which in the id falls to instinct. The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the id, which contains the passions. "
37 of 47 people found the following review helpful
The begining for something new 27 Mar 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am only a college student and read this book for my own enlightenment. I loved reading Freud's theories about the ego and the id. This book consists of a brief introduction of Frued and his life, then goes on to present his work. The terms are also explained very well throughout the book. I definitly recomend this to anyone who is trying to enlighten themselves, or anyone who is interested in Frued's work or psychology at all.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
One of Freud's major models 11 Jan 2005
By Shalom Freedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This work presents one of Freud's major theoretical models for understanding human personality. The three- fold division into ego- id- super-ego in some sense parallels the three fold division in Plato's thought. For Freud the Id is the unconscious instinctual animal element in us. It is our ' drives our hungers our lusts, our sexual lust centrally. The ego is the social self, the construct with which we meet the world. It is our rational self, our self as we present ourselves to the world through. The superego is the conscience, the what we should be. For Freud it is the voice of others, and especially of our parents telling and teaching us the difference between right and wrong. As Freud understood these three aspects of self are in constant interaction, and the kind of personality we are is determined by which of these faculties is predominant.

It is possible to regard this theory as insight and useful and draw conclusions from it.Or it is possible to simply put it aside as one more human construction aimed at understanding what must be understood in many different ways.

The book is small but not easy to read. A great mind is at work making order out of the minds of all of us. Whether he succeeds for you , you alone must judge.
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