Never heard of Joseph Campbell? You may be more familiar with his work than you realise.

This American mythologist and lecturer (1904-1987) has influenced many products of popular culture. Perhaps most famously, George Lucas credited Campbell's book The Hero With a Thousand Faces with shaping the storyline of his original Star Wars trilogy. Hollywood screenwriter Christopher Vogler also acknowledges the influence of Campbell's 'hero's journey', a basic narrative pattern that Campbell reveals can be found in stories from many different cultures, countries and centuries. Author Richard Adams used extracts from The Hero in his book Watership Down.

Perhaps less influential on popular culture, but more revelatory about Campbell's belief on how stories - myth in particular - can be used to inform and enlighten our own life journeys, is Pathways to Bliss, a collection of his thoughts, narratives and lectures drawn from two decades of his work.

It's an interesting read, rich in depth of topics and psychological concepts, with plenty of historical facts and anecdotes to back up his arguments. It also includes one of his most controversial theories: namely, that myth can be defined as "other people's religion".

If you'd like to know more, have a read of my review of Pathways to Bliss, written for Urban Deva.