Who is Abraham Maslow? His biography, theory and quotes

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Abraham Maslow (1908 – 1970) was a famous American clinical psychologist. Abraham Maslow was particularly specialized in the area of humanistic psychology and became famous with his ground breaking theory on the Hierarchy of Needs. This model is known as Maslow’s pyramid.

This article highlights besides his biography, his quality management contributions and theories also some of his famous quotes, books and publications. Enjoy reading!

Who is Abraham Maslow? His biography

Abraham Maslow obtained a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1930. After a lot fuss, he obtained his Master’s degree (MSc.) in psychology in 1931.

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He was not satisfied with his thesis ‘learning, retention, and reproduction of verbal material’ but his supervisor, Professor Carson, was. This lead to two publications by Abraham Maslow. In 1934, Abraham Maslow obtained his doctorate (Ph.D.) in the same field of study.

Abraham Maslow continued his academic career at the Columbia University. Together with his mentor Alfred Adler, he started working out his psychological ideas.

After the Second World War, he developed a new scientific discipline, ‘humanistic psychology’, which was based on his own ideas and research. Together with two mentors, namely Ruth Benedict and Max Wertheimer, he started developing this discipline.

The key areas were mental health and human potential. This provided the basis of the theories: the hierarchy of needs, meta needs, meta motivation, self-development and peak experiences.

Abraham Maslow was a pioneer in this area and this led to worldwide fame. Abraham Maslow was a professor at several universities in the United States.

He died of a fatal heart attack at the age of 62.

Abraham Maslow quotes

  1. “To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.”
  2. “It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.”
  3. “What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”
  4. “One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”
  5. “Be independent of the good opinion of other people.”
  6. “Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth). Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.”
  7. “If the essential core of the person is denied or suppressed, he gets sick sometimes in obvious ways, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes immediately, sometimes later.”
  8. “The most stable, and therefore, the most healthy self-esteem is based on deserved respect from others rather than on external fame or celebrity and unwarranted adulation.”
  9. “False optimism sooner or later means disillusionment, anger and hopelessness.”
  10. “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.”
  11. “If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”
  12. “If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”
  13. “What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.”

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Books and publications

  • 2013, 1962. Toward a psychology of being. Start Publishing LLC.
  • 2000. The Maslow business reader. John Wiley & Sons.
  • 1998. Maslow on management. John Wiley.
  • 1994, 1964. Religions, values, and peak-experiences. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.
  • 1993, 1972. The farther reaches of human nature. Maurice Bassett.
  • 1973. On dominance, self-esteem, and self-actualization. Maurice Bassett.
  • 1970. Motivation and personality. Harper & Row.
  • 1969. The farther reaches of human nature. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1(1), 1.
  • 1968. Music Education and Peak Experience. Journal: Music Educators Journal, vol. 54, no. 6.
  • 1968. Some educational implications of the humanistic psychologies. Harvard Educational Review, 38(4), 685-696.
  • 1967. A Theory of Metamotivation: the Biological Rooting of the Value-Life. Journal: Journal of Humanistic Psychology – J HUM PSYCHOL , vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 93-127.
  • 1966. The psychological aspect desacralization. Journal: The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 148-157.
  • 1966. The Psychology of Science a Reconnaissance.
  • 1965. Art judgment and the judgment of others: A preliminary study. Journal: Journal of Clinical Psychology – J CLIN PSYCHOL, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 389-391.
  • 1965. Humanistic Science and Transcendent Experiences. Journal of Humanistic Psychology – J HUM PSYCHOL, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 219-227.
  • 1965. Self-actualization and beyond.
  • 1964. The superior person. Journal: Society, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 10-13.
  • 1963. Fusions of facts and values. Journal: The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 117-131.
  • 1962. Lessons from the Peak-Experiences 1. Journal of humanistic psychology, 2(1), 9-18.
  • 1962. Some basic propositions of a growth and self-actualization psychology. Perceiving, behaving, becoming: A new focus for education, 34-49.
  • 1961. Peak experiences as acute identity experiences. Journal: The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 254-262.
  • 1959. New knowledge in human values.
  • 1959. Cognition of being in the peak experiences. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 94(1), 43-66.
  • 1958. A Dynamic Theory of Human Motivation.
  • 1956. Effects of esthetic surroundings: I. Initial effects of three esthetic conditions upon perceiving “energy” and “well-being” in faces. The Journal of Psychology, 41(2), 247-254.
  • 1950. Self-actualizing people: a study of psychological health. Personality.
  • 1943. A theory of human motivation [Kindle Edition].
  • 1943. Conflict, frustration, and the theory of threat. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 81-86.
  • 1943. Preface to motivation theory. Psychosomatic medicine, 5(1), 85-92.
  • 1942. Self-esteem (dominance-feeling) and sexuality in women. The Journal of Social Psychology, 16(2), 259-294.
  • 1941. Principles of Abnormal Psychology, the Dynamics of Psychic Illness. Harper & Bros.
  • 1937. Dominance-feeling, behavior, and status. Journal: Psychological Review – PSYCHOL REV , vol. 44, no. 5, pp. 404-429.

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Published on: 01/19/2013 | Last update: 11/02/2022

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