Timothy Leary biography, quotes and books

Timothy Leary - toolshero

Timothy Leary (1920-1996) was a well-known psychologist, researcher and an advocate of drugs such as LSD both for therapeutic and spiritual improvement. One of the famous slogans of Timothy Leary was ‘turn on, tune in and drop out’ which is often used in music as a music sample. He is also the founder of the the famous Rose of Leary theory, a behavior analysis tool.

Who was Timothy Leary? His biography

Timothy Leary had obtained his Bachelor’s degree (B.Sc.) in psychology from the University of Alabama in 1943. He obtained his doctorate (Ph.D.) from the Berkeley University in 1950.

Subsequently, Leary started his career as a research psychologist at the Kaiser Foundation in Oakland. In addition to his many publications, including a best-selling book, he also developed a standard personality test for the prison system to help classify prisoners according to their potential escape profile.

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Another well-known communication model is Rose of Leary which is based on types of behavior. Leary ’s theories about existential transactions became increasingly popular when he was working for the Kaiser Foundation.

This is why Harvard University asked him to develop his ideas.

For years Leary secretly tested LSD on students for the CIA. It would be many years before he started taking these drugs himself.

In the early 1960s Timothy started taking LSD himself and he was very impressed with the effects of these drugs. The focus of his research shifted as a consequence and this did not sit well with many colleagues at Harvard University.

In the end Timothy Leary was dismissed and his scientific career ended in 1963. After his dismissal Leary led an extraordinary life (from fugitive to lecturer). He wrote more than 27 books and 250 articles and was interviewed over 100 times.

He died from prostate cancer at the age of 76.

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Famous quotes

  1. “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.”
  2. “The universe is an intelligence test.”
  3. “Science is all metaphor.”
  4. “You’re only as young as the last time you changed your mind.”
  5. “Think for yourself and question authority.”
  6. “Learning how to operate a soul figures to take time.”
  7. “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out.”
  8. “If you don’t like what you’re doing, you can always pick up your needle and move to another groove.”
  9. “Civilization is unbearable, but it is less unbearable at the top.”
  10. “We are dealing with the best-educated generation in history. But they’ve got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go.”
  11. “If you listen to neurologists and psychiatrists, you’d never fall in love.”
  12. “Grow with the flow”
  13. “LSD is a psychedelic drug which occasionally causes psychotic behavior in people who have NOT taken it.”

Books and publications by Timothy Leary

  • 2013, 1977. Exo-Psychology: A Manual on the Use of the Human Nervous System According to the Instructions of the Manufacturers. HardPress Publishing.
  • 2004, 1957. Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality: A Functional Theory and Methodology for Personality Evaluation. Resource Publications.
  • 1999. Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out. Ronin Publishing.
  • 1998. The politics of ecstasy. Ronin Publishing.
  • 1995. The psychedelic experience: A manual based on the Tibetan book of the dead. Citadel Press.
  • 1995. High Priest. Ronin Publishing.
  • 1995. Scarring of Florida’s seagrasses: assessment and management options.
  • 1989. Neuropolitique: A New Vision of Neuropolitics. New Falcon Publications.
  • 1988. Change Your Brain. Ronin Publishing.
  • 1988. Your Brain is God. Ronin Publishing.
  • 1988. The Cyber-punk: The individual as reality pilot. Mississippi Review, 16(2/3), 252-265.
  • 1987. Info-Psychology. New Falcon Publications.
  • 1982. Changing my mind, among others: lifetime writings. Prentice Hall.
  • 1979. The Intelligence Agents. New Falcon Publications.
  • 1968. The religious experience: Its production and interpretation. Journal of Psychedelic Drugs, 1(2), 3-23.
  • 1966. Psychedelic Prayers after the Tao Te Ching. Poets Press.
  • 1958. Interpersonal diagnosis of personality. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 37(6), 331.
  • 1955. Changes in psychoneurotic patients with and without psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 19(4), 239.
  • 1955. The theory and measurement methodology of interpersonal communication. Psychiatry, 18(2), 147-161.
  • 1951. The Interpersonal Dimension of Personality. Journal of Personality 20: 143–161.
  • 1950. The social dimensions of personality: groups structure and dynamics. Ph.D. Dissertation.

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Van Vliet, V. (2012). Timothy Leary. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/toolsheroes/timothy-leary/

Original publication date: 07/21/2012 | Last update: 12/09/2023

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Vincent van Vliet
Article by:

Vincent van Vliet

Vincent van Vliet is co-founder and responsible for the content and release management. Together with the team Vincent sets the strategy and manages the content planning, go-to-market, customer experience and corporate development aspects of the company.


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