Someone on Quora asked, “What primary and secondary sources should I read if I want to better understand phenomenology and the phenomenological method?”
I always steer folks wanting to learn about phenomenology in the direction of getting a good foundation in Edmund Husserl. If you have that, you can go on from there to Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Emmanuel Levinas, Roman Ingarden, or anyone that you want to follow. So…
If you can, buy a used copy of the edited volume by Joseph Kockelmans: Phenomenology: The Philosophy of Edmund Husserl and Its Interpretation
. This has some good exerts from Husserl to get you started along with interpretations from the best thinkers who took up the phenomenological project, e.g. Levinas, Heidegger, etc. For example: you get a bit of Husserl talking about intentionality and theKockelmans follows this up with an exert from someone likeLevinas interpreting what Husserl is talking about. So not only a good intro to Husserl, but a helpful reader that gives you a taste of his “successors.” A real shame that this bookwas allowed to go out of out of publication.
You might add to this Merleau-Ponty’s preface to his Phenomenology of Perception as well as a short piece he wrote called “The Philosopher and His Shadow.”
Still, I would recommend that anyone learning phenomenology take time to read Husserl’s Crisis of European Sciences & Transcendental Phenomenology
. Husserl once told Dorian Carnes that the best way to read his works was to start with the last one and work your way back to Logical Investigations
. So it does not hurt to start with his last book.