From Love's Executioner to The Gift of Therapy, over the past quarter century Irvin Yalom has established himself as the world's leading group psychotherapist. In this new work, Staring at the Sun, Dr. Yalom opens the 'mortal wound', our knowledge of death. Carried by each and every human being, death anxiety is the price for our self-awareness and the shadow from which we cannot be separated. Because we cannot live frozen in fear, we turn to our children, to wealth, to fame, or to a belief in a higher power to soften death ...
From Love's Executioner to The Gift of Therapy, over the past quarter century Irvin Yalom has established himself as the world's leading group psychotherapist. In this new work, Staring at the Sun, Dr. Yalom opens the 'mortal wound', our knowledge of death. Carried by each and every human being, death anxiety is the price for our self-awareness and the shadow from which we cannot be separated. Because we cannot live frozen in fear, we turn to our children, to wealth, to fame, or to a belief in a higher power to soften death's terror. But in spite of the staunchest, most venerable of our defences, death anxiety is never completely subdued: it is always there, lurking in the hidden ravines of our minds. At age 70 and facing his own fear of death, which he will discuss in a special after-word - Dr. Yalom tackles his toughest subject yet, and finds it to be the root cause of patients' fears, stressors and depression. If therapists are to do their best to deliver 'the gift of therapy', they must confront the realities of life for themselves and their practice, as must we all. This book is a book of wisdom for us all about how to cope with our 'ultimate concerns'.
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Fine. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. In Stock. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Brand New, Perfect Condition, allow 4-14 business days for standard shipping. To Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. protectorate, P.O. box, and APO/FPO addresses allow 4-28 business days for Standard shipping. No expedited shipping. All orders placed with expedited shipping will be cancelled. Over 3, 000, 000 happy customers.
I reviewed psychotherapist Irvin Yalom's "Staring at the Sun" on November 26, 2007. At that time, Amazon had just introduced the Vine program. Yalom's book was my first Vine review and my first experience with his writing. I learned a great deal from the book about Yalom's approach to psychotherapy, his love for philosophy, his naturalism, and his love for life.
All things change and pass away, including online book reviews. My review of this book was deleted when Amazon restructured the Vine program. The book survives its reviews, and the wisdom it includes survives the book. In that sense, the loss of my initial review is of no matter. Many perceptive reviews are still available here, on Amazon and on Goodreads to help readers with the book and to help them understand if the book is for them.
An excerpt from my review still is available as I quoted from the review in a review of a documentary about Yalom, "Yalom's Cure". I don't have a copy of my initial review, but perhaps the chance quotation I saved will give readers a sense of the book and its themes. The review said in part.
"In facing and coming to terms with death, Dr Yalom counsels that one must learn to love and find meaning in one's life, as Dr. Yalom says he has been able to do in his life through his career, writing, family, and friends. Consistently with Epicurus and a host of other teachers, Dr. Yalom finds the value of life heightened by an appreciation of its transience. He writes "The way to value life, the way to feel compassion for others, the way to love anything with greatest depth is to be aware that these experiences are destined to be lost.""
After my review of "Staring at the Sun" I became interested in Yalom's writings and reviewed his three philosophical novels on Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Spinoza. I have learned from him. Philosophically inclined readers will enjoy "Staring at the Sun" as well as other books by Irvin Yalom.
Nov 11, 2010
I read this book primarily in search of guidance in dealing with hospice patients. I found tremendous comfort in this book for myself, and I hope to use some of the wisdom in it, as well as the techniques, in my work as a hospice volunteer. It was also an amazingly enjoyable read!
Jan 22, 2009
Dying is inevitable, get used to it!
This book addresses our greatest fear, that of dying, and gives all sorts of differing perspectives for it. You are your own perspective.
Oct 21, 2008
Leave death nothing....
Yalom?s new book about overcoming the terror of death was a surprise to me. Although I have thought about death, I am not afraid of death itself. Even at this age ? approaching 50 - my thoughts are mainly consumed with making plans about the future, and definitely not death.
Nevertheless, I read this book with great interest. I was surprised to discover that Yalom refers to the knowledge and tranquillity he found in ancient wisdom, particularly that of ancient Greek philosophers and that of Epicurus especially. I am interested in how the Greek philosophers approached life and its meaning. I have studied ? not extensively ? Epicurus ideas, but I never, until now, connected them with my perception about life and death. Reading Yalom?s book made me realise how much the philosopher?s powerful ideas as well as other writers? work ? mainly Kazantzakis and Tolstoy ? have influenced my thinking on how to face death and how to live.
Despite the extensive references, Yalom should perhaps have explored in more detail Epicurus? ideas. When I finished chapter four, I had the feeling that something important is missing, something may be untold. Moreover, Epicurus powerful message was somehow lost his importance between the many examples from films, literature and clinical case histories.
I particularly liked Yalom?s way of thinking about paranormal and religious beliefs. As a person that I never believed in any God I hold with Yalom?s line of secular humanism. But, this may be a problem to some readers whose religious and spirituals beliefs are different, and may be add more anxiety and probably confusion to those who are unprepared or spiritually, not strong enough, to accept the idea of emptiness and nothingness after death. That is one more reason of why the philosophers ideas should be presented with a more precise and clear way that would intrigue the reader to go and explore further the philosophers? writings.
I found very satisfying Yalom?s approach to Freud?s lack of interest or failure to explore death fears. I had always my reservations on Freud?s belief that the origins of neurosis rested on the assumption of conflict between various unconscious, primitive and instinctual forces. Death or the fear of death for Freud could play no role in the genesis of neurosis because we have no personal experience of death and it is impossible to contemplate our nonbeing.
Although it is impossible to contemplate our nonbeing we experience death from a very early age as we don?t fail to have glimpses of mortality everywhere in nature and our surroundings. The interpretation of Epicurus ideas and Yalom?s clinical cases show that humans unconsciously express with a distinguished way their concerns about death. According to Yalom, excessive religiosity, the consuming accumulation of wealth and consumerism, the blind gasping for power and fame are all signs of human?s continuous and wasted fight to mortality.
It was a rather uncomfortable surprise to discover that modern psychiatrists and therapists need also help to deal with the fear of death and in some cases are unable to deal with everyday issues and situations. I am not an expert on psychotherapy and I have never being in counselling or on a therapist?s coach. I am very reluctant to believe that our dreams have some secret meaning or that they reflect our fears. Maybe that is because I rarely remember any of my dreams or maybe because my logic indicates that if you want to find a meaning or a message, you can find anywhere, anyway. I don?t forget that therapists are also humans with their own fears and problems to overcome, but these signs of impotence made me wonder about their effectiveness to make other people feel better. I can?t stop thinking that maybe a long lasting treatment or counselling is just another form of dependence that hampers humans? free spirit.
Nevertheless, I liked the book and I believe that it can offer a lot of help to many people to face their fears and the anxiety of death. Most importantly, it reminds us that ?life is a passing parade?. We will die well when we fulfil our potential, and live a life with meaning, when we ?Leave death nothing but a burned out castle.?
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