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The Examined Life

How We Lose and Find Ourselves

Stephen Grosz (Author)


An extraordinary book for anyone eager to understand the hidden motives that shape our lives.

We are all storytellers—we create stories to make sense of our lives. But it is not enough to tell tales. There must be someone to listen. In his work as a practicing psychoanalyst, Stephen Grosz has spent the last twenty-five years uncovering the hidden feelings behind our most baffling behavior. The Examined Life distils more than 50,000 hours of conversation into pure psychological insight without the jargon. This extraordinary book is about one ordinary process: talking, listening, and understanding. Its aphoristic and elegant stories teach us a new kind of attentiveness. They also unveil a delicate self-portrait of the analyst at work and show how lessons learned in the consulting room can reveal as much to the analyst as to the patient. These are stories about our everyday lives: they are about the people we love and the lies we tell, the changes we bear and the grief. Ultimately, they show us not only how we lose ourselves but also how we might find ourselves.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • May 2014
  • ISBN 978-0-393-34932-0
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 240 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide, excluding Canada, the British Commonwealth and the European Union.

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Endorsements & Reviews

“Shares the best literary qualities of Freud’s most persuasive work. It is… an insightful and beautifully written book… a series of slim, piercing chapters that read like a combination of Chekhov and Oliver Sacks. [A] deeply affecting book.” — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

“Magnetically compelling. . . . The result is a shared sense of humanity, understanding and even hope.” — Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe

“Beautifully written. . . . The insights here will cut close to the bone.” — Dinah Loon, Nature

“Grosz’s vignettes are so brilliantly put together that they read like pieces of bare, illuminating fiction… utterly captivating.” — Robert Collins, Sunday Times

“By turns edifying and moving. Grosz offers astute insights into the perplexities of everyday life.” — Trisha Andres, Financial Times

“Impossible to put down… it will leave you wiser about humanity than you were when you picked it up.” — Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree

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