We are all storytellers - through stories, we make sense of our lives. But it is not enough to tell tales. There must be someone to listen. In his work as a psychoanalyst, Stephen Grosz has spent the last 25 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: 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.
©2013 Stephen Grosz (P)2013 AudioGO Ltd
"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 clichés-just wisdom." (Victoria Hislop )
"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)
"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)
"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 ought 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 thousands 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)
Every chapter in this book is different and fascinating. Each story is a delightful gem. It's good to discover some excellent writing on psychoanalysis and to be given some insight into the lives and behaviours of the patients in question. All of life is here. I also really liked the narration; the slow and steady pace lends the stories the gravity they deserve.
I first heard some of the chapters from this when it was broadcast as Radio 4's book of the week and was so impressed that I had to download the audiobook. It is definitely my listen of the year so far. I loved the insights into people's lives and behaviour and the reasons offered for why we do the things we do really resonated with me. This is beautifully written and the narrator absolutely does justice to the writing with the slow, hypnotic reading. Stephen Grosz' words have stayed with me long after listening. An absolute must for anyone interested in the human experience.
"Layers of life"
This book shows how complicated and deeply mysterious life can be. Listening to this book was deeply satisfying, as it counters the fear of randomness of life. All is connected but it takes quiet contemplation to allow it to surface to consciousness.
"A gentle book..."
This gentle book provides informative insights into psychotherapy. Divided into 31 chapters, each focuses on an issue through the eyes, words, and dream fragments of patients consulting the author. It is nicely written, full of wisdom, and well narrated. I enjoyed the personal insights, anecdotes, and introspection; along with the occasional especially beautifully written segment.
"Great listen, Great Narrator"
Really enjoyed this, very different from what I'd normally listen to. There is about 30 stories in here, allowing you to listen in to peoples lives for a while, very engaging. I also loved the narration, it was almost hypnotic which really suited the audiobook.
"A meaningful meditation on life"
This book was recommended to me by a friend and I'm glad I acted on their prompt. In turn I highly recommend this book to anyone who works in the area of helping people change. It's also a must read for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of their own complexities. As I listened I felt this book was a true meditation on life and all it's uncertainties. I felt a great connection to the often painful stories of the people involved. Stephen Grosz conveys a deep sense of respect and compassion for these people and their stories. I truly felt I had walked a mile in there moccasins after listening to each story. This is aided by narration that is ideally matched to the material, perfectly paced and paused at reflective spaces. Each story contains an underlying piece of advice that will resonate with many people, I will leave you the joy of finding these rather than list them here. I was left with a much deeper and warmer understanding that each of us has our very own view of the world and a set of hopes and wishes we want to be fulfilled. Stephen Grosz's own uncertainty and realisation that there may not always be an answer or a fix is the main learning I took from this book.
"A riveting listen"
I'm not usually into books about psychology or psychoanalysis but I really enjoyed this on many levels. Firstly the narration is lovely. The narrator's voice is incredibly calming and relaxing. Secondly the way the 'stories' are presented is very interesting - Stephen Grosz recounts the details of his sessions with various clients, what was discussed, how the client reacted, what he felt etc. This is all quite factual and as a listener it's almost like you're spying on the sessions. Interestingly he doesn't draw any conclusions, he just presents the facts, almost like a story, leaving you to ponder the outcome and meaning. I really enjoyed this, although I can also see that some people might find it frustrating as there is sometimes no obvious 'point'. Interestingly, the 'story' that had the most resonance was personal; a very moving account of a trip he took with his father. All in all, I'd really recommend it as just a different kind of audiobook.
"enjoyable if brief"
This was a quick listen, yet fascinating in its entirety. Of course books on psychoanalysis can have you pondering your own mental state and this was no exception. Interesting, well written and well read. the author is clearly an erudite and intelligent analyst, talking about his experiences with respect and humility.
"Very interesting, but no suspense."
Great if you are a psychotherapy novice like me, it makes you look at yourself and others differently. Easy listening, but I think it would have had a but more suspense actually reading the book.
This book was truly a great book such an eye opener and a good understanding how and why people behave the way they do to certain situations.
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