PSYCHOLOGY FOR EVERYMAN (and woman) by A.E Mander (The Thinker’s Library, Watts & Co. 1935)

psychologyI picked this book up for 50p in a second-hand bookshop many moons ago. I was particularly drawn to the bracketed ‘and woman’ of the title (in a smaller font!) as if the fairer sex was something of an afterthought and tagged on by the publishers to ward off accusations of sexism.

Aussie thinker, Alfred Earnest Mander works on the basis that most people (i.e. men and women) don’t know what they need to make them happy and are psychologically moulded at an early age. This somewhat bleak summation of human existence is tempered by the reckless claim that, after finishing this 100 page book,  the reader will be in a position to “judge what want is at the back of any given person’s feelings and conduct”. 

Later, he takes a reality check implying that, since “we are bundles of conflicting personalities”. this slim volume can only hope to scratch the surface of a huge and complex topic.

Mander finds solace in platitudes, observing that “much unhappiness is caused by ‘inner conflict” and that cravings for romance, love, wealth, power, excitement and adventure are met in novels and movies but all too rarely in real life.

The only advice he offers is to train ourselves to cultivate what he calls ‘Master habits’  like never putting off a difficult or disagreeable task and “doing everything with a conscious effort to do it as well as possible ……..sparing no pains to make it perfect”. 

As a cure-all for our multi-faceted cravings, this common sense advice is seriously limited but I suppose we all have to start somewhere!