Anthony Bean’s The Psychology of Pokémon – Indie Book Spotlight

Welcome Readers and Trainers alike! In this Spotlight we’re looking at a really special book that combines two of my passions: books and Pokemon.

Psychology is an interesting field and being that all art is human made, Psychology plays a part in it whether intended or not. In this book we have multiple experts in multiple fields talking about Psychology though the lens of the world’s most popular and lucrative franchise. The release date for this book was in April of 2022 so it’s not current up to generation 9 (Which is a shame as I’d love to hear what some of these Doctors would have to say about Nemona, Penny and Arven.) But still offers a lot of really interesting context in regards to the franchise.

So, grab your Pokedex, some Pokeballs, maybe a Lemonade or Fresh Water and get ready to embark on your journey… of self discovery!

Also, Anthony M. Bean is named as the author but there’s actually one writer per chapter!

Book Stats

Basic Premise

So, being as this isn’t a story, it’s not like I can tease a narrative through-line, here. But, to give you an idea of some of the subjects covered:

  • The psychology behind the human desire to collect things: catching ’em all! (Tempered by some sobering information regarding what separates a collector from a hoarder.)
  • The benefits of personal evolution through mental flexibility.
  • Grit in the face of adversity. What Ash’s response to losing can show us about healthy ways to manage disappointment.
  • Twitch plays Pokemon! Consult Lord Helix for more on this chapter.
  • How games can be and are currently used in therapy.
  • Responses to loss, abandonment and the benefits of supportive relationships: Pikachu’s Goodbye.
  • How Pokemon encourages us to be present and live in the moment.
  • A systematic break-down of the iconic theme song and the healthy take aways it can provide.There’s a LOT more talked about in this book, but these were some of my personal highlights. Each chapter is written by a different expert in their own field so you have a vast wealth of knowledge presented to you chapter to chapter.My Take

    I’ll be very honest – the amount I know about psychology as a science could probably fill a discarded apricorn husk at best. I am by no means any kind of expert on the mysteries of the human mind – despite having one myself, it often bemuses me. Essentially, the idea that someone could metaphorically reach around in there and hammer out the weird bits is at once amazing, a little scary and makes my in-built skepticism flare up like the hood of an arbok.

    Pokemon, though? THAT I understand.

    Contextualizing things through a familiar lens is a helpful tool. It helps take things we might balk at at first glance and make them palatable. Why do you think so many math textbooks use analogy and scenario building when introducing math to little kids? If the bake sale has 40 cakes and Lex Luthor steals 40 of them (Which is terrible, by the way.) how many cakes does the bake sale have? In this same vein, Anthony Bean and company helped me understand a few things about psychology in a way that feels relevant to me personally. I’m sure it can do the same for others.

    It also put into words certain plot and mechanical aspects of the franchise which I always understood on some level, but if you’d asked me to explain them point by point, I probably would have been unable to or at the very least, would have sounded inarticulate when attempting it. If you have an interest in narrative structure, building complex characters or game theory? This may be a useful read for you on that score as well.

    There are a couple of minor factual mistakes but only someone who lives and breathes Pokemon would probably even notice and they are extremely minor.

    No pronunciation errors, though! Our narrator, Erik Lawrence, does a great job on that front. (Heck, even I sometimes default to the ars-eus pronunciation versus ark-eus. What can I say? I’m only human.)

    Overall, I think this would be a great option for that difficult to buy for Poke-fan in your life if you’re looking for interesting gifts this holiday season. As this is an independent production, not tied to Gamefreak or the Pokemon company in any way, it’s something that would be appreciated and unexpected all in one!

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