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This book is about learning to live. In simple stories of encounter between a psychoanalyst and his patients, The Examined Life reveals how the art of insight can illuminate the most complicated, confounding and human of experiences.
We are all storytellers – we make 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 practising psychoanalyst, Stephen Grosz has spent the last twenty-five years uncovering the hidden feelings behind our most baffling behaviour. The Examined Life distils over 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 him as to the patient.
These are stories about our everyday lives: they are about the people we love and the lies that we tell; the changes we bear, and the grief. Ultimately, they show us not only how we lose ourselves but how we might find ourselves too.
"I was enthralled... profound and moving, packed large ideas into a slim volume" -- Lucy Lethbridge Observer Books of the Year "With deceptive simplicity and gentle wisdom, Grosz teases out a lesson or chases down a fugitive insight. I have distrusted psychoanalysis for years, but I would leap onto Grosz's couch" -- James McConnachie The Sunday Times Books of the Year "This moving book of patient portraits by the psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz will make the reader think of Freud's keenly observed and literary-minded case studies. Writing with sympathy and insight, Mr Grosz distils 25 years of work into a series of slim, piercing chapters that read like a combination of Chekhov and Oliver Sacks" -- Michiko Kakutani New York Times "The success of The Examined Life by the psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz has, I think, relatively little to do with his clinical know-how; it rests, as Freud's did, on his story-telling abilities" -- Rachel Cooke Observer "Grosz is a superb storyteller and tells lots of his patients' stories with sensitivity, but also with great acuity. You might keep thinking you recognise things about people you know" -- William Leith Evening Standard "A wonderful example of a book that provides a safe space that can be used as a base to explore the less safe" -- Alex Clark Guardian "Riveting... Grosz is adept at uncovering the little lies we tell ourselves and he's very perceptive about the potentially positive effects of bad experiences" Daily Telegraph "Because of [Grosz's] skill at getting to the heart of the matter, we forget the distance separating us and become quickly involved in the lives of those he discusses" Mail on Sunday "Absolutely fascinating. You'll be amateur psychoanalysing yourself and everyone you know" Independent on Sunday "It made me stop and think, and it has stayed with me. Grosz is a superb storyteller and tells lots of his patients' stories with sensitivity, but also with great acuity. You might keep thinking you recognise things about people you know" -- William Leith Scotsman "One of the many attributes of a good psychoanalyst is restraint, and Stephen Grosz's first book puts it to graceful, literary use" -- Talitha Stevenson Observer "Grosz strikes the right balance of professional detachment and compassion, coupled with humility and self-awareness... The most helpful book I have read in recent months" -- Juanita Coulson Lady "A captivating journey... These are universal themes, insights into an emotional world we inhabit, often with equal difficulty. A wonderful book" Sunday Times "A gripping series of tales" Psychologies "The Examined Life is a series of case studies from psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz's 25-year career. They fizz and shimmer with the tension of the finest short story. But they also have a profound vision of the world, which, however distorted it is, makes me examine my own" -- David Giles UK Press Syndication "So significant that it should be read by absolutely everyone... A masterpiece of observation and empathy" -- Georgia Mizen Upcoming "The Examined Life is a fascinating and original read. It is inspirational and shows how we can learn more about ourselves by exploring our subconscious thoughts and beliefs" Sunday Mail "[Illuminates] the dark recesses of human behaviour with clarity and humanity" Good Book Guide "Thoughtful and surprisingly addictive" -- Susie Steiner Metro "Fascinating... Sincere" -- Emma Norris Psychologist "Far and away the best non-fiction book this year" -- Hannah Beckerman Huffington Post UK (Blog) "Wonderfully rich and insightful" -- Julian Ovenden Daily Express "A brilliant read" -- Nadine O'Regan Sunday Business Post "Essays true to psychoanalytic principles, but free from jargon; they have the quality of the best short stories." -- Lorna Bradbury Daily Telegraph "Grosz is able to expand out creating universal themes and experiences that makes every chapter personally relevant to the reader. It is a fascinating process that challenges you to reflect honestly about your own experiences... Indeed this is both the perfect book for someone with no psychology background or someone who works in the area... I found this book extremely interesting... I would highly recommend to anyone wanting an interesting and fascinating social science read and it is a book you'll remember long after reading." Topic UK "The Examined Life ... 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 "... impossible to put down, but while you may read it for entertainment, it will leave you wiser about humanity than you were when you picked it up" Andrew Solomon, author of A The Noonday Demon and Far From the Tree "By turns edifying and moving...Grosz offers astute insights into the perplexities of everyday life" -- Trisha Andres Financial Times "Grosz's vignettes are so brilliantly put together that they read like pieces of bare, illuminating fiction... utterly captivating" -- Robert Collins Sunday Times "Engaging, frank, and with many penetrating insights. His short, succinct chapters have both the tension and the satisfaction of miniature detective or mystery stories" -- Michael Holroyd The Spectator "Marvellous... After reading [Grosz's] absorbing accounts of his patients' journeys you might feel that The Examined Life ought to be given out free at birth" -- Melissa Katsoulis The Times "[Grosz's accounts] are shaped like short stories, but true and moving in ways that fiction cannot be [...] distilled through long examination into finely crafted literary form..." -- Alexander Linklater Observer "Grosz's message is always affirming...it is possible to change" -- Mark Crockett The Scotsman "Crystal-clear and completely magical...The Examined Life is a book full of troubles, but also of wonders" -- Craig Brown Mail on Sunday "Excellent... Every one of these case histories bears repeating. All offer worthwhile insights" -- Susanna Rustin Guardian "Intelligent, human and deeply moving" -- Jane Clinton Sunday Express "This beautifully written collection of stories ... will cut close to the bone... from loneliness and change to loss and lies, we discover personal histories of damage understood but not always healed. These compressed analyses are filled with ... empathy and are described accessibly." -- Dinah Loon Nature "'Grosz] writes lucidly and with sensitivity... sprinkled with wise reflections... A gem... highly recommended" -- Leyla Sanai The Independent "[A] fine and moving book... It is a true literary work and a very modern one..." -- Anthony Rudolf Jewish Chronicle "That rarest of pleasures: a book I loved, and could recommend to almost anyone" -- John Self Asylum blog "Enlightening...full of wisdom and insight" -- Sophie Hannah Metro "Beautifully unadorned writing... He paints a vivid portrait of his patients" Sunday Business Post "A rare insight into the life of the psychoanalyst... succeeds in making complex behavioural issues accessible for any reader" -- Kathryn Gaw Irish Times "Exquisitely written casebook" Vantage NW Magazine "The suspense in each chapter is so expert that I had to double check that this wasn't a work of fiction. Best of all, Grosz manages to give a jargon-free account of how psychoanalysis works" The Week "Grosz's vignettes are so brilliantly put together that they read like pieces of bare illuminating fiction... It is this combination of tenacious detective work, remarkable compassion and sheer, unending curiosity for the oddities of the human heart that makes these stories utterly captivating." Sunday Times "Brilliant... Grosz is a superb writer, yes, but it is the stories his patients tell him that really make you marvel. An elegant, jargon-free expedition into the secret business of our minds written with such wisdom and kindness... After reading [Grosz's] absorbing accounts of his patients' journeys you might feel that The Examined Life out to be given out free at birth" -- Melissa Katsoulis The Times "A fine and moving book... The tact, patience and understatement, which are particular components of Grosz's wisdom, remind the reader that this writer's insights and empathy result from thousand of hours with patients. This book is not polemical literature... nor is it an academic work or a popular self-help book. It is a true literary work and a very modern one." Jewish Chronicle "Crystal-clear and completely magical...The Examined Life is a book full of troubles, but also of wonders: it shows people trapped by their own mysterious impulses, searching for an escape hatch, and often finding it" -- Craig Brown Daily Mail "Five star review - an intelligent, human and deeply moving book... Grosz is listening for the unspoken and the gaps in between. His book celebrates change and the triumphs and tragedies of humanity" -- Jane Clinton Sunday Express "Excellent... this book arrives like a box of chocolates. Thirty-one elegantly presented chapters which, when you bite into them, each reveals something sweet, rich or crunchy. Every one of these case histories bears repeating. All offer worthwhile insights." -- Susanna Rustin The Guardian "Grosz writes lucidly and with sensitivity, treating his patients with respect. The cases are sprinkled with wise reflections... highly recommended" Independent "There are many sage lessons here, backed up by research where necessary...fascinating... Grosz writes lucidly and with sensitivity, treating his patients with respect. The cases are sprinkled with wise reflections...highly recommended" -- Leylai Sinai Independent "Intensely readable... As a reminder of the strangeness of human existence, the myriad ways we find of making ourselves unhappy and the perplexing resourcefulness of the unconscious mind, Grosz's book is a worthwhile addition to the literature of the examined life." New Statesman "Written with real elegance and a strong sense of structure... several chapters read like powerful short stories" Readers Digest "Elegantly structured and written... Grosz's book is intensely readable" -- Jane Shilling New Statesmen "Grosz is an able writer, engaging, frank and with many penetrating insights. His short, succinct chapters have both the tension and the satisfaction of miniature detective or mystery stories... a stimulating book" -- Michael Holroyd Spectator "[These] interpretations make fascinating reading, leave you marvelling at the ingenuity of the human subconscious. Grosz's message is always affirming: if a person can work out what it is that's driving them, it is possible to change" -- Mary Crockett The Scotsman "Grosz's narrative is by turns edifying and moving...tempered by his engaging prose and moments of humour" -- Trisha Andres The Financial Times "I couldn't put this down-I read about other people, but learned about myself at the same time. Real stories can be so much more fascinating than fictional ones, especially with Stephen Grosz. No preaching, no cliches-just wisdom." -- Victoria Hislop "Modest and profound" -- Alexander Linklater Observer "Proof that real stories are not only stranger than fiction but just as enthralling. Lucid, beautifully written and jargon-free." -- Sebastian Shakepeare Tatler "Shaped like short stories, but true and moving in ways that fiction cannot be... Gradually accumulating through his book, Grosz provides, not a definition, but an enactment of the purpose of psychoanalysis, which is both modest and profound." -- Alexander Linklater Observer
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 1st February 2013
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 13.5 x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.267