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Becoming Myself

A Psychiatrist's Memoir
Narrated by: Peter Berkrot
Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (214 ratings)

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Summary

Irvin D. Yalom has made a career of investigating the lives of others. In Becoming Myself, his long-awaited memoir, he turns his therapeutic eye on himself, delving into the relationships that shaped him and the groundbreaking work that made him famous.

The first-generation child of immigrant Russian Jews, Yalom grew up in a lower-class neighbourhood in Washington, DC. Determined to escape its confines, he set his sights on becoming a doctor. An incredible ascent followed: we witness his start at Stanford Medical School amid the cultural upheavals of the 1960s, his turn to writing fiction as a means of furthering his exploration of the human psyche and his rise to international prominence.

Yalom recounts his revolutionary work in group psychotherapy and how he became the foremost practitioner of existential psychotherapy, a method that draws on the wisdom of great thinkers over the ages. He reveals the inspiration for his many seminal books, including Love's Executioner and When Nietzche Wept, which meld psychology and philosophy to arrive at arresting new insights into the human condition.

Interweaving the stories of his most memorable patients with personal tales of love and regret, Becoming Myself brings listeners close to Yalom's therapeutic technique, his writing process and his family life.

©2017 Irvin Yalom (P)2017 Little, Brown Book Group

Critic reviews

"When Yalom publishes something - anything - I buy it, and he never disappoints. He's an amazing storyteller, a gorgeous writer, a great, generous, compassionate thinker, and - quite rightly - one of the world's most influential mental healthcare practitioners." (Nicola Barker, Guardian Best Books of 2017)
"Wonderful, compelling and as insightful about its subject and about the times he lived in as you could hope for. A fabulous read." (Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone)

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Thank you Irvin.

This book is my first encounter with Irvin’s work, and I could not thank him enough. It is like a met someone that will be my friend for life. So much wisdon and honesty in his words. What a man, what a life and what a book.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Another Fabulous Piece of Work by Yalom

Just love it, it’s probably best if you have read most of his other work as he makes plenty of references there too. If so it is great to get his exposition and critical view. I am impressed that he keeps so close to his view of life after life, (the void, dark abyss, nothingness) the state of eternal unconsciousness experienced once before we entered this brief light of day. I get the sense at 85, this is his farewell, the ending of is quiet emotional and the culmination of many hints throughout this book. I did love the Nietzsche quote at the end wishing for eternal reoccurrence, and I felt the Yalom twinkle of the eye, and thought ...”you Rascal, so there is a little hope in you that Epicurus is wrong and a light might shine in the darkness!” Either way the rippling is definitely confirmed for a century or so before the last flicker is known no more. I certainly will remember Yalom for the rest of my days. Thank you 😊

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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I was brought to tears at the end!

A fabulous overview of Yalom' s journey and his honest reflection of life events. One of my favourite books this year

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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you'll love it

such an inspirational story! you'll want to read more of his books and the narrator is very good

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant book!

One of the most beautiful books I have ever read/heard! So much wisdom in this brilliant man! May he be blessed! His work always inspires me to strive to be the best therapist I can be for my own patients. Thank you Professor Yalom!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Aren't I successful!

The narrator was very good, I kept believing it was Yalom narrating it himself

Yalom described some of his childhood challenges, but mainly focuses on his work acheivements and all the famous people he has met and has positive relationships with.

He said at the beginning how he was now learning from clients but then continues to talk with his clients but having little self reflection which must be obvious to those listening.

I do not recommend, but even though I had read similar negative feedback I was still curious, I have enjoyed some of his books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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such a brilliant and well written book

I loved every chapter of this book. Off I go to read more of yaloms work

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Shallow

A sjallow and superficial read of a man whoes books has given me joy. But this book is only about the surface, holidays, Nice plases, and a lot of namedropping. Tiresome and aukvard

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Totally engrossing and forthright

The best of from doctor Yalom, tears, laughs and reflections are in store if you go on this last journey with him.

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Yalom knows he's a legend!

As a therapist who has enjoyed Yalom's books, I was keen to get to this one.
Yalom comes across as flawed, interesting, knowledgeable, open to ideas, clever, hardworking, immodest, and incredibly fortunate (many instances of being in the right place at the right time).
I enjoyed listening, and particularly appreciated his honesty in places (e.g. he seems to realise how his self-centred attitude meant that he wasn't able to be a very present Dad to his older kids when they were young), and his regret over writing 'Fat Lady' the way he did (always the story that I struggled with, because it shows huge lack of concern and awareness for how many readers might be personally impacted by his statements of disgust, even though the moral of the story is positive).
Yalom really can't resist going on repeatedly about his accomplishments and awards ;-) but I still felt mostly warm towards him.
I found the book interesting from start to finish. And he dishes the dirt on poor old Victor Frankl, which is intriguing psychogossip...

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  • Karlien
  • 28-06-19

Exceptional

I love Yalom and his memoir does not dissapoint. He remains true to his style and weaves many stories into his own.

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  • Brian K. Cutshall
  • 18-10-17

One of his best books!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommended it to everyone. After listening to this audiobook, I feel inspired to go back and listen to all his previous books again.