This could’ve been great if Campbell had just been able to say what he wanted to say. But instead of doing that, he decided that he knew the landscape of every potential reader’s mind and proceeded to terraform those minds, then landscape them, then construct a proper nursery where his ideas would have a chance to take root and grow.
I have never read a book where an author talks so much about what he’s going to tell you, and does so little actual telling.
If you decide to read this, I recommend starting on chapter 2. The introduction, and preface are 12% of the book. That’s the first time he tells you about what he’s going to tell you. After the very fascinating background story that begins in chapter two, he goes off track again until about the 60% mark.
I just kept skipping pages, looking for when he was going to get to his actual Theory of Everything. Finally, I saw a sentence where he said, “Now let’s get back to the theory.” And then he proceeded to ramble off-track again until he said the same thing again. Then he rambled more and more and I kept skipping pages until I saw at the end of a paragraph that he said, Now you’ve been properly primed and initiated, or something to that effect, “So let us begin!” And then there was a few more pages where he builds up to what he’s about to finally tell you about his theory and then…. here it comes…. almost there… getting really, really close now…. any sentence now…. and….
…And it’s over. That’s the end of the first book.
If you’re looking for a theory of everything that explains life in the physical and non-physical realms, and is scientifically sound, I do not recommend this book.
Save your money, time, and aggravation and consider reading Our Ultimate Reality – Life, The Universe, & the Destiny of Mankind. (You can find a free PDF online. The paperback is a whopping $33.)
You’ll come to essentially the same conclusion as you would if you read all three of Campbell’s books, but without beating every square inch of every acre surrounding the bush.
Campbell needs to try reading his own book to discover what a tedious and unsatisfying experience it is. He needs to redo it, starting from where his background story ended, and pick it up from there, making it a personal story of his experiences, and inserting what he learned along the way, how he learned it, and how he confirmed that what he learned was valid and scientific.
I would only recommend that you read this if you’re a scientist and you want to learn of Campbell’s theory not in directly spoken language, but with everything reduced to an abstract model with acronyms you’ll need to memorize to make sense of anything the further and further you find yourself out on a thinning semantic branch.
If you’re interested in Campbell’s theory, his video lectures on YouTube are far more interesting than this book, and they include Q&A from the audience so he’s frequently willing and able step outside of his own thought process and address things real people want to hear about.