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)2014 Audible, Inc.
"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)
the stories are so so interesting and it is touching to have such a personal insight into the life of a psychoanalyst and his clients.
love his voice and accent, perfect for a psychoanalyst type character. he told the story so convincingly that i felt it was Stephen Grosz himself telling it.
it made me smile, think, laugh, cry, analyse, meditate, say uhuh, and oh wow i never knew that could be so, and made me so thankful that Stephen Grosz wrote this wonderful book and shared his stories with us.
"If it is possible to give 100 stars, I would"
I don't read many books so it's probably sound shallow to say this is the best I have read. What matters is that I truly enjoy listening to the deep and assuring voice, narrating such a well told story. Stories of real life experiences, on how we lose and find ourselves. Thank you Stephen. Thank you Peter. Thank you Audible :)
"Fascinating insights into peoples lives"
Loved the narration and the stories. The book gives a great insight into the issues people struggle with and how a skilled analyst can help them.
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.
"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 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.
"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 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.
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.
It's a natural human inclination to be curious about the lives and thought processes of others. The Examined Life was certainly a rich mine. It also served as a useful read for a little self reflection.
Loved Peter Marinker's rich voice which lent an interesting mix of solemnity and aloofness to the proceedings!
No, but it was certainly thought provoking
""read it in one go""
This is not my normal read, but how glad am I, I opted for this book this month? Answer: a lot. Totally absorbing from the first word. Couldn't turn off either the book or my mind.
A fascinating read that I will listen to time and time again and get something new from it everything.
If you are interested in the problem of being human you simply must invest in this book. Awesome.
"Makes you wonder what can you do better"
Yes. It's almost like chatting away with someone you know about somebody's else life situation. It gently forces you to rethink your own behaviour and lifestyle to certain extent.
I guess the tone of his voice and the manner of narration puts you right on the soft sofa in front of psychoanalyst.
Not really, this is the book to go chapter by chapter with some time in between to digest the information.
I listened to this in one go, driving on the interminably dull motorway from Dunkirk to Brussels, and on to Liege and Metz. I was so engrossed that I failed - this once - to get angry at the impatience and aggressiveness of Belgian drivers.
Many of these short case narratives have stayed with me. Perhaps not in the complexity of the individual cases but in individual sentences or insights that illuminate human behaviour: it is preferable to be found irritating or paranoid than to be forgotten or ignored; we turn something hurtful into a joke to cloak our pain; we repeat very specific patterns because that's a coping mechanism.
These cases are composed with such economy and concision, and narrated with empathy and warmth, that you feel you're 'there': in someone else's consulting room. A lifetime's experience of psychoanalysis must have gone into the clarity of writing and reasoning. The conclusions and insights appear self-evident and logical (none of my three examples above are evidence of rocket science), but the cases are wrapped in idiosyncratic circumstances, entangled in individuals' speech patterns and replete with pent-up emotions so that it really takes a clinicians' patience and experience to get to the heart of the matter. The art of the book lies in making something inextricable transparent. It is beautifully done, lucidly written and deeply compassionate.
Those Belgian drivers: does ANYONE know why they act like this? Where do they all have to be so urgently?
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