The Best Books About Dreams and Dreaming

Sonia Akavan
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We’re all dreaming every night of our life. Normally, these dreams are entirely forgotten but some are very vivid and memorable.

In fact, some dreams are so memorable that they even affect us at an emotional level. They can be so meaningful that while in the dream you’re pretty sure they’re real!

Dreams can appear in various forms, too. From lucid dreams about traveling in outer space to a sweet one about your crush to a terrifying nightmare about crashing a car.

In-between those types of dreams and many other come even more odd forms of dreaming with symbols, every day objects that appear in completely new ways, vivid colors, peculiar shapes and so on.

I know one thing for sure: dreams are interesting, intriguing and downright weird! A lot of things in them make no sense whatsoever.

For example, dreams tell in highly visual terms what’s going on in our life, but they also reveal what’s going on in our spirit. Dreams are weird!

I find dreams most interesting, though, because they’re a direct conduit to our subconscious mind. By reading books about dreams, you get new insight into the deeper parts of your mind and how they influence your day-to-day life.

NameCategoryProduct
Man and His SymbolsBest OverallMan and His Symbols
The Interpretation of Dreams: The Complete and Definitive TextBudget PickThe Interpretation of Dreams: The Complete and Definitive Text
By C.G. JungUpgrade PickBy C.G. Jung

1. Man and His Symbols

Our rating: 9 / 10

Man and His Symbols

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Pros:

  • Gives a well-rounded picture of the world of dreams
  • Unites science and art
  • Wide read

Man and his Symbols is a remarkable collection of brain-bending information. Jung's seminal work isn't for everyone, especially dreamers who don't care for dense philosophies.

The manic array of references in Man & His Symbols is tough sledding for anyone not versed in religion, psychology and mythology. Which is why we love this classic. It's a great cross-reference of psychic phenomena that's steeped in Jungian analysis and religion.

2. By C.G. Jung

Our rating: 7 / 10

By C.G. Jung

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Pros:

  • Includes a detailed response to Freud's work
  • An in-depth discussion of the concepts of the collective unconscious and the archetypes

C.G. Jung's complete collection of writings about the unconscious is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the meaning of their dreams. The scope is so much larger than the book's title. His viewpoint: both the conscious and unconscious are parts of one whole psyche.

This edition includes commentary on the text of Jung's work as well as a response to Freud's work, Dreams Pertaining to the Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious.

He believes we have an unconscious that holds not just repressed memories buried by repression, but rather an entire fabric of our consciousness. He speaks of the collective unconscious that provides a reservoir of myths, symbols and archetypes shared by humans as a race. These archetypes lie deep in our memories and are similar in many individuals. These are the ideas of good and evil, creation and destruction.

3. Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self

Our rating: 6 / 10

Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self

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Pros:

  • Has a good track record
  • Great customer feedback
  • Fun and creative
  • Straightforward and understandable
  • A great resource for those wanting to understand more about lucid dreaming and the ability to control your dreams.

Cons:

  • There is a bit of a learning curve to the system. It is easier to start off by reading some of the more basic guides.
  • There is a lot of information in the book, which may be confusing or overwhelming for someone that is unfamiliar with lucid dreaming.
  • The system is very complex which is better suited for someone who has a lot of time on their hands to study the book and practice the techniques.

The Lucid Dreaming guide is probably one of the most well-known books about dreaming. The experts at the Lucidity Institute have put together this comprehensive guide on how to have lucid dreams.

The book is divided into two sections. The first section is about the science behind lucid dreaming. It explains how it works, why it happens, and where to find the scientific studies.

The second section is dedicated to lucid dreaming tutorials. In it, you will find what the author thinks is the best way to proceed with lucid dreaming. The book assists you on how to have your first lucid dream and provides step-by-step instructions on a comprehensive, nine-step training program to give you lucid dreams regularly.

4. The Awakened Dreamer: How to Remember & Interpret Your Dreams

Our rating: 6 / 10

The Awakened Dreamer: How to Remember & Interpret Your Dreams

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Pros:

  • Based on the author’s personal experience
  • Full of techniques for remembering your dreams
  • How to write down your dreams and keep dream journals
  • Interesting and easy to read
  • Fun and simple exercises that will have you remembering your dreams

Lower Cost Alternative:

The Dreamer’s Guide to Awakening: Discovering the Wisdom in Your Dreams

5. A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Mastering the Art of Oneironautics

Our rating: 6 / 10

A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Mastering the Art of Oneironautics

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6. The Dreamer's Dictionary: The Complete Guide to Interpreting Your Dreams

Our rating: 6 / 10

The Dreamer's Dictionary: The Complete Guide to Interpreting Your Dreams

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Pros:

  • Goes over symbolism in relation to each letter
  • Tells you what number or answer is applicable to a question from 1-100
  • Tells you the top 10 dreams of various occupations and what number correlates to that dream
  • Goes into many different categories of dreams and their symbolic meaning
  • Gives you visual examples of dreams, and what people related the dreams to
  • Not that expensive
  • No calculations necessary
  • No limit to the amount of questions you can ask
  • Easy to remember the information with the examples, and relating the word to the number
  • Informative

7. The Dream and the Underworld

Our rating: 6 / 10

The Dream and the Underworld

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Pros:

  • Takes on a more philosophical approach to the study of dreams
  • Blends Freud and Jung to come up with new theories about dreams
  • Generous sections of quotes that help illuminate his points

I found this book to be one of the most interesting books on dreams that I’ve ever encountered. It’s not just packed with great factual information, but it’s also a book that prompts readers to think beyond a basic analysis of dreams and into how dreams relate to our spirit, our soul, and the nature of reality.

The author, Ernest Hartmann, blends Freudian and Jungian thought to develop his own theories about dreams. He leaves the Freudian component to place a big old emphasis on the role of the unconscious mind, which should seem familiar to Jungians.

This is one of those books that will appeal to history buffs and architecture fans as the author examines famous buildings like the Pantheon and the Parthenon in conjunction with his theories about dreams.

8. Learn to Lucid Dream: Powerful Techniques

Our rating: 6 / 10

Learn to Lucid Dream: Powerful Techniques

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Pros:

  • Covers practical techniques to lucid dreaming that work well
  • Great read for beginners to lucid dreaming
  • Useful info about why we dream

Cons:

  • Style can come off as slightly demeaning
  • May be out of date at this point

Dreams are amazing things. They can be simply the random firings of our subconscious or something that can provide glimpses into what we truly want and our inner selves. Perhaps we are just tapping into a collective unconscious that all humans share. Maybe we are accessing doors that may unlock doors that lead us to other dimensions. How can we ever really know?

This is why it can be so difficult to figure out why we dream, but Lucid Dreams: Powerful Techniques for Awakening Creativity and Consciousness is a great resource for those looking to learn to lucid dream. In this book, you will learn techniques that are powerful, and you will also learn tips. These tips, when combined with the techniques, can help you get there.

If you are brand new to lucid dreaming, you will want to start with this book. You will learn the difference between a lucid dream and a regular dream, and you will learn how to get the former by using the things that you’re about to learn.

9. The Interpretation of Dreams: The Complete and Definitive Text

Our rating: 6 / 10

The Interpretation of Dreams: The Complete and Definitive Text

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Pros:

  • In-depth analysis of the dream-thought
  • Classic Interpretation of the Dreams laid out step by step
  • Highlighted some of the basic ideas about dreaming
  • Classic Psychology work that has for long past been influencing psychology and practicing psychotherapists
  • Continued to be a favorite of psychological students and dreams enthusiasts

Author: Sigmund Freud

The Interpretation of Dreams is a book about dreams written by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud in 1899. The book is based on work that Freud did with his patients and the idea that dreams are the fulfillment of wishes.

Freud construct a theory of the meaning of dreams and used it as the framework for a general theory of human psychology. His methods were elaborate, and he directed considerable effort toward developing diagnostic dream symbols.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best dream dictionary book to buy?

The best dream dictionary book we found for quick reference is The Dictionary of Dreams by Anna Yvonne Markon. This book contains dictionary-style definitions for a variety of dream-related words. It also covers many common dream themes, and it introduces readers to lots of dream theories and questions.

However, if you are looking for a scholarly informational book about dreams, then Michael L. Jager’s The Dictionary of Dreams should be at the top of your list.

This book is a collection of over 600 dreams, covering a wide variety of topics. You’ll also find interesting dream interpretations. Perhaps the most useful part of this book is the inspirational section, which invites readers to re-evaluate their relationship with their dreams and overcome the negative stigma often associated with them.

What do books mean in dreams?

Books can come up in a lot of our dreams. They are usually a symbol for information, though this varies from case to case. Books are a special symbol, because they represent both the giving and acquiring of information. They are, after all, our access to knowledge. That is why, in most cases, it makes more sense to take a book out of a dream than to take it as a physical object.

When interpreted as knowledge or information, books in dreams can symbolize anything from our own personal knowledge to what we have learned from others. In almost every case, books are great for learning about things as a whole or about one particular topic in particular.

What is the best dream interpretation site?

Dreams are rich with symbolism, and it’s interesting to learn about what you dreamt about last night. However, to interpret your nightmares or lucid dreams, it pays to use more than just resources you can find on the web. You need to make some personal connections with other people that do this interpretation for a living and can help you work through issues you are having. If you have trouble doing this, we suggest a book that filters interpretation using these methods instead.

There are a number of good books, but one that stands out is Dream Interpretation for Dummies. It has a comprehensive overview of dream interpretation and covers a number of methods as well.

Is a dream in a dream possible?

Yes, this phenomenon is called dream within a dream. The Inception movie refers to this as a second level inception (though, in all honesty, this distinction is kind of confusing).

Here is a great video discussing dreaming within a dream.

Conclusion

Dream interpretation goes far beyond Freud, Jung, and the archetypes they put forth. The history of dream interpretation is something of a mystery, and the ancient sources that remain are contradictory and even unreliable. For those of you looking to explore more of the history of dreams, we've rounded up many of the best sources.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Man and His SymbolsBest OverallMan and His Symbols
The Interpretation of Dreams: The Complete and Definitive TextBudget PickThe Interpretation of Dreams: The Complete and Definitive Text
By C.G. JungUpgrade PickBy C.G. Jung