Transcend by Scott Barry Kaufman [Book Summary – Review]


If you’ve by any chance attended a psychology 101 class or check a health blogger on social media platforms such as Instagram, actually, you’re presumably accustomed to Maslow’s popular hierarchy of needs.

You’ve most probably come across with a drawing of a pyramid split into five individual parts. The first level, the foundation of the pyramid, symbolizes humankind’s most fundamental necessity: safety. The last level, the pyramid’s top, symbolizes our most non-tangible need: self-actualization. That image let us have it easier for thinking that moving through our lives is like going through the stages of a video game: when you’re finished with the safety you might not concern about it and advance to the next step, by, ultimately, you get to the last stage self-actualization. 

This comprehension of it is a little simplistic. Additionally, Abraham Maslow himself was studying a profound way to comprehend every tiny bit of human presence as he died in 1970. This summary enlarges his studies and rethinks it, demonstrating how self-actualization is about infiltrating all your necessities into a healthy whole which lets you flourish. They describe how comprehending your complete human potential could link you not solely to your greatest possible self yet to the people surrounding you, as well. Through the journey, you are going to see that transcendence, not even being close to being mystical, is indeed a thing we all are able to aim for in our daily lives.


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Chapter 1 – The necessity for safety is the foundation of all other necessities.


Have you ever experienced being hangry? If you’re similar to most of the people, you likely have, even though you do not know the meaning of it. “Hanger” is a type of anger triggered by hunger, and although the word is clearly a humorous coinage, it indicates a quite real phenomenon. 

It’s only an example of in what way or when fundamental necessities such as hunger aren’t satisfied, negative feelings might overwhelm us, leading to all different emotions and concerns to head to the background.

Our most fundamental necessity is safety. Safety signifies stability, a feeling of certainty, and having confidence in our environment. It’s a firm foundation that lets us take risks and investigate the world.

Further, then physiological necessities such as hunger, our feeling of safety can be specified down to how we relate to human beings surrounding us.

One of the options we relate to people is named as an attachment, which starts in childhood. Every human came to the world is in need of help and fully depending on the people helping and caring for him. A baby’s feeling of safety depends on the person caring for it. If the person taking care of it is careful and giving attention, the baby will be feeling safe and sound, and it will be willing to be amused and discover the world.

Yet if the person taking care of it leaves or stops being careful for it, the baby will get worried and begin to try to attract attention again in a couple of possible ways, such as by crying.

Coming from those actions in infancy, we grow our attachment manner. The more we get older, the more our type of attachment plays a fundamental role in our relations. On the condition that we were fortunate enough to be raised up in a friendly, caring domain, we get t know how to be connected in a secure way. We feel safe about that other people will embrace us. Yet when our caregivers weren’t dependable or available enough, we get concerned and anxious in our following relationships. We might even escape from close relations completely that is named avoidant attachment.

Not anybody’s attachment style is fully secure. There’s a great spectrum between secure and avoidant, and most of the people have indeed some stages of anxious or avoidant attachment or both specifically in the stressful times.



However, people, still, having a secure attachment type are better capable of dealing with life’s hardships. They deal with and control their feelings in more positive ways, and have more fulfilling relationships. As opposed to that, insecurity, specifically the anxious kind, might result in depression and isolation. 

The great news is the following, although we acquire our attachment style in our childhood years, we could shape our patterns. The novel, optimistic experiences could aid us to grow healthier ways of connecting with other people.


Chapter 2 – A connection is a fundamental necessity.


When you spend a little time in the bright Greek Island of Ikaria and have a chance to know its people, you’ll be likely invited to a hundredth birthday party or two. In this small island in the Aegean Sea, there’s no scarcity of centenarians. In addition to that, most of them enjoy their interactive social lives.

The key to their longevity? It’s not only great weather and a healthy diet.

It’s their adjacent social ties. On Ikaria, people are friendly and caring. Neighbors give attention to each other, they share their food and have fun together, and most people live with bigger families rather than living alone. In conclusion, there’s a strong and dependable community. 

Being surrounded by people – whether that means having a glass of wine together or making a meal – satisfies a great human necessity: interaction with others. 

The necessity for interaction is the necessity for stable, optimistic, close relationships. In two words, it’s the necessity for belonging to somebody and having intimacy in your relations.



Let’s have a glance at belonging first. It gets down to being a fragment of a social group. The necessity for belonging is met the moment you feel approved by a specific group. As you feel abandoned and invisible, reversely, this necessity isn’t satisfied.

Just how crucial the necessity for belonging is could be seen in what would occur as it’s not satisfying. When you’re abandoned, it’s not only your emotions get hurt. Studies demonstrate that the agony of social rejection cannot be distinguished from physical pain. Also, the results don’t end there. Continuation of being abandoned might result in all types of problems, from lack of sleep to depression.

Yet connection includes more than solely not being abandoned. The quality of the connection additionally matters. That is the place Intimacy comes in. Having a place is tied in with feeling ensured by your gathering; intimacy is tied in with adoring, thinking about, and securing others with whom you have a cozy relationship. 

What has it for a quality connection? 

Indeed, close connections rely on what psychologist Carl Rogers calls unconditional positive regard. This happens when every individual feels seen, thought about, and safe communicating an entire scope of sentiments and encounters. 

There is likewise mutuality in top-notch associations, which implies that the individuals included are locked in and partaking. Such associations likewise energize encounters that keep us returning for more – chuckling, euphoria, having a great time together and reciprocal gestures of consideration. 


Chapter 3 – Solid self-esteem is the consequence of positive achievements. 


What picture strikes a chord when you hear the words “high self-esteem”? Do you right away envision a brash, arrogant narcissist who’s continually asserting the spotlight? In mainstream society, self-esteem is frequently likened with a larger than average conscience. Be that as it may, solid self-esteem is something different totally. 

Confidence isn’t simply a similar respect. It has nothing to do with narcissism or egocentricity. Or maybe, confidence is the normal consequence of certified achievement and association with others. In the event that you wind up excessively centered on improving your confidence, that is as of now a sign that something has turned out badly. 

Sound confidence has two viewpoints: self-worth and mastery. How about we take a gander at self-worth first?

Basically, it comes down to loving yourself. Do you imagine that you’re essentially a decent individual, and feel good with yourself? Provided that this is true, at that point your feeling of self-worth is fit as a fiddle. 

Be that as it may, self-worth is about something other than how you see yourself. We’re social creatures, all things considered, and self-esteem is firmly connected to the regard in which others hold us. Our judgments about ourselves regularly factor in the judgments of others. On the off chance that others like us and hold us in high respect, we have what specialists call relational social value. 



Individuals with relational social values will in general have cozy associations with others, and they will in general be esteemed in those connections. The higher our social worth, the higher our feeling of self-esteem will be.

The other piece of confidence is mastery. Authority is the degree to which you can act purposefully, accomplish your objectives, and exercise your will. It comes down to feeling like a capable individual. In any case, much the same as self-esteem, our feeling of mastery relies halfway upon how others judge us. That is the place another sort of social worth – instrumental social value comes in. That is how much others consider us to be having characteristics that are significant for the common good. 

Obviously, you’ll have more mastery in certain parts of your life than others. In the event that you over and again experience obstructions when attempting to accomplish your objectives, you may start to feel uncouth and shaky. Then again, in case you are reliably ready to accomplish your objectives, you’ll feel progressively sure, which will in general make an upward winding. The outcome is a general feeling of mastery. 


Chapter 4 – Investigation empowers you to develop as an individual. 


Have you at any point watched youngsters at play? In the event that you have, you’ve without a doubt seen how absorbed they become in their games, moving toward the world through more and more interest like life was one major experience. 

Tragically enough, our adventurous nature will in general blur in adulthood. As we grow up, our perkiness and marvel start to melt away. This is a disgrace since exploration has numerous advantages. For one, it’s the manner by which we get familiar with the world. It can likewise assist us with clearing ceaselessly our feelings of dread and tensions. 

In the event that we need to continue developing and creating, we should take a tip from kids and deal with life like another land to be explored. 

Then, what precisely is exploration? All things considered, it’s the craving to search out new data and encounters. 

There are two sorts of exploration. One is known as behavioral exploration. The other is called cognitive exploration. We should separate every one of these sorts somewhat, beginning with behavioral exploration. 

Conduct exploration has two parts: social exploration and adventure-seeking. 



How about we talk about social exploration first? It’s the point at which we have an earnest enthusiasm for others’ lives and are interested in what they’re thinking. It’s likewise what drives us to make new companions, participate in discussions, or search out new experiences. It’s tied in with connecting with individuals such that encourages us to become familiar with them and the world. 

So shouldn’t something be said about adventure-seeking? All things considered, individuals who seek adventure are regularly determined by the longing to learn and develop, to conquer difficulties, and learn new aptitudes. A great many people will take a gander at a mountain and will feel anxious about ascending it. Be that as it may, adventure-seekers ace their dread. They climb the mountain. In addition to that, they are stronger and open-minded toward pressure as a result of it. 

Yet, you don’t have to scale mountains to be an explorer. Also, this is the place cognitive exploration comes in. It’s the sort of investigation you do with your faculties and your psyche. 

Intellectual exploration itself has two sections. One is the receptiveness to encounter. This includes things like acknowledging beauty, getting ingested in exercises, and appreciating artistic interests. Individuals who are available to encounters along these lines likewise will in general be natural, compassionate, and in contact with their feelings. 

The subsequent part is intellectual. It boils down to thinking and understanding the world through abstract thought. It’s a craving to learn new data and find new thoughts. In the event that you appreciate scholarly difficulties and philosophical conversations, at that point, you’re a scholarly explorer.


Chapter 5 – Love is better consummating as long as it’s not focused on a lack of something.


In chats with friends, in contemporary culture, even in psychology research, love drones to be described in negative connotations. We think of love as a lack. Love is something people want, something they long for, something that must be found out there. Finding love means receiving love. 

Yet the people who think that they’ve really found love, the people who don’t feel love initially as a deficiency, are the ones who give their love.

This only is going to demonstrate that we might move further than the love-as-lack description, and become competent in turning our love outside.

In his scripts, Maslow differentiated between deficiency-love, or D-love for short, and love for a human’s whole being. He named the latter one as of love B-love. D-love is a thing we feel like we need to search for and strive for. It’s a necessity, and it needs to be fulfilled. 

Yet that’s not how B-love works. People who have a love for someone in that way don’t require to attract much love, not even a little their love is not concerned about what’s not present in their lives. Rather than that, they’re emphasizing on admiring the other people and share their love, not receiving.



It’s a move from seeing love as a thing to be acquired to regarding it as a thing to be shared, from being dependent on other individuals and being rewarded with their love for loving the universe in general.

Then in what way do people who apply B-love act?

There is one possible way among them, they are prone to be dominated by self-transcendent values. B-loving people are as well known for their high levels of tolerance, benevolence, and trustability. They have character features such as kindness, humility, and forgiveness. Other persons love the idea of being close to them. Yet B-loving people are as well able to take care of their own necessities and claim themselves when necessary – they only do it in a way that keeps being caring and thoughtful of others.

More than all, B-loving people are capable of integrating two features of human presence that might seem in opposition to each other: agency and communion. The agency includes independence and exclusion from others. It roughly can be worded as in what capacity you’re capable of achieving your own goals and claim yourself. In opposition to that, the public body consists of contact, openness, and participation – having connections with others. 


Chapter 6 – The purpose is the thing that makes our lives meaningful.


You may have got information about Greta Thunberg, the teenager climate-change activist. She’s got the title of a superstar. Yet she’s the first to accept that she wasn’t every time that much active, and she completely wasn’t a superstar, then. For a big part of her teenage years, she had hardships to make friends and spent a great deal of time sitting by herself in her room feeling bitter for herself.

Hard to acknowledge, thinking the self-esteemed young woman she’s become. Then, what resulted in her change?

She found an aim in life.

A purpose is a kind of the focal point. It’s the main core of your life, around which you can plan all your things so each has its own importance. It gives you the power to follow your aims and encourages perseverance, as well. 



Yet what if you don’t have a calling? Or worse than that you have a calling, yet you don’t have the things to follow it? Provided that this is your issue, don’t fret. Here are some actions you can take to utilize the pursuit of your aims in an easier procedure.

First of all, make your decisions carefully. When you select goals which focus on growth – like self-help, creativity, or making the world a greater place – following them would be prone to let you have a feeling of well-being and that is most of the time isn’t the case the moment you strive solely for money, power, or reputation.

Other than the first one, pick your goals for the important means. This signifies looking for aims that feel meaningful in a deeper context. The most precious aim is not going to give you a feeling of purpose when it means nothing for you. The more your goals have a resonance with you, the more your motivation grows, and the more possible you are going to be to acquire them.


Chapter 7 – Pinnacle experiences grow your feeling of self and your link to the universe.


Just think that you’re doing hiking in Arizona. You’re in Arizona to see one of the universe’s natural beauties: the Grand Canyon. It’s hot summer, and it’s really hot, also you’ve been hiking for a long time after then, instantly, you make it there. The great canyon it’s greater than you ever would have imagined! At the moment, you are not aware of your surroundings. You do not remember you are yourself. The more you have a glance at this weird and wonderful greatness, you think as if you’ve got to be one body with the land.

Instances like those are the things of which happy memories are made. Yet, more than that, they are a vital part of self-actualization, as well. 

This experience you had on the edge of the Grand Canyon – that understanding of uniqueness with nature and the complete presence is the thing the writer regards as a top experience. Those are instances of increased beauty, greatness, fun, or serenity. An academic article claims that top experiences are beneficial for mental health. They grow optimism and a feeling of having motivations, make relations more fulfilling, decrease scare of dying, and inspire personal growth.

Also, every top experience has one feature in common: self-loss.

Then, here are two possible self-loss. 



One occurs as we’re in the grasp of insecurity. We are not sure about the feelings of ourselves or of our own self. That type of self-loss is scaring and could make the universe seem odd and non-realistic.

Here is one thing which is usually used in link with top experiences: awe. An experience of awe could be encouraged by vastness, similar to a sight of the sea or sight of the Grand Canyon. Yet it could be conceptual, as well. For instance, contemplating immortality might encourage awe. The sophisticated issue regarding awe is the fact that it mixes experiences that are not normally in harmony, for example, fear and ecstasy.

Correct, even though awe includes fear, people who get through it most of the time define their experience being very optimistic.

Also being full of awe is useful for you. Academics demonstrate that human beings who get through awe have upgraded their satisfaction of life; they are prone to be more giving and less angry, as well. 


Chapter 8 – Transcendence includes your whole being.


Since you think about peak experiences, you may imagine that you couldn’t go anymore. Yet, it’s really conceivable to reach past the peak – and that is the place transcendence gets in. 

Transcendence is a subtle thought and signifies a wide range of things to various individuals. In a 1969 paper about its significance, Maslow thought of 35 different ways to characterize the term. It incorporated an extraordinary assortment of ideas, from loss of hesitance to acknowledgment of the regular world to encountering cosmic consciousness. 

Which one is the genuine transcendence, though? 

All things considered, that is not exactly the correct inquiry to have. Transcendence isn’t only one part of your life – it’s about the total of your presence. 

Transcendence isn’t an objective that you can basically accomplish for the last time; rather, it’s perfect that can direct you. It’s tied in with being simply the best form, preparing every one of your assets in the administration of this rendition, and coordinating them such that increases the expectation for the entire of mankind. 

Who are the individuals that are doing this? 



Anybody can have a peak experience, regardless of what persuades that individual throughout everyday life. Yet people who are transcenders are not only desiring for happiness, well-being, or personal improvement. Rather, they’re run by transcendent values and have a sight for every single human being.

The sophistication is that transcenders do not have to be happy. They might usually feel angry the moment they couldn’t realize their vision or experience unhappiness regarding things such as human cruelty. Yet they’re better at integrating the positive and the negative sides of life, and to sense regret less.

To conclude, they mix all aspects of human existence. They have the capacity to have a glance at the multiplicity of human necessities in a nonjudgmental method. Getting through transcendence signifies acknowledging unique perspectives, and being open to tasks and aware of the unpredictability persists in human life.


Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization by Scott Barry Kaufman Book Review


Human necessities are all rigidly linked, and the greatest feeling of well-being and satisfaction get in the moment we can infiltrate them into a healthy completely. With our necessities infiltrated, we have a foundation for expansion and self-realization. We unpack ourselves to transcendent feelings and the chance of getting to be the best of ourselves we are able to be.



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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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