Will We Remember Albert Ellis in 100 Years?
Frank Farley and Mona Sarshar's review of Albert Ellis Revisited, edited by Jon Carlson and William Knaus, is very laudatory, and Farley and Sarshar use the review to underscore their appreciation for the significance of Ellis's work and Ellis's important role in the history of psychology. For example, Farley and Sarshar write, "Ellis was one of the most colorful, provocative, and influential psychologists of the last 100 years" (para. 10).
I knew Al, and I cherished his friendship. He met his deadlines, and he had the distinction of being the only contributor to Current Psychotherapies (Wedding & Corsini, 2014) whose initial draft chapter was accepted without a single revision.
As I reminisced about my friend, after reading Farley and Sarshar's review, I found myself thinking about Isaiah Berlin's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaiah_Berlin) discussion of the difference between the hedgehog and the fox, applied to describing different types of writers and thinkers. Hedgehogs have a single, superordinate, all-encompassing idea that defines and shapes all of their work; foxes, on the other hand, have myriad ideas that they draw on when they create new works. Ellis was incredibly prolific, but he was clearly a hedgehog with one big idea, and almost all of his work links to the core concept of our predilection for irrational thinking. Some critics have noted this common denominator in all of Ellis's work, and one critic joked that Ellis wrote the same book 85 times.
How will history judge Albert Ellis? Will he be as highly regarded in 2115 as he is in 2015? Was he treated unfairly at the end of his life by the board of the Albert Ellis Institute (Dobkin, 2005)?
By Frank Farley and Mona Sarshar
PsycCRITIQUES, 2015 Vol 60(14)