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Everything Happens for a Reason: Finding the True Meaning of the Events in Our Lives Hardcover – August 3, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; First Edition edition (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400051088
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400051083
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,139,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If you believe that "everything happens for a reason," you might find solace in this well-written self-help guide by psychotherapist Kirshenbaum (best known for the relationship guide Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay). Her premise is that "that no matter what happens to you, not only does something valuable come out of it but it's just what you need." Kirshenbaum details in separate chapters the 10 possible life lessons one might learn from unhappy life events, ranging from self-acceptance, feeling at home in the world and letting go of fear to finding true love or your hidden talents. Readers answer diagnostic questions to determine which lesson might be theirs. There is also a wealth of advice, such as a seven-step method to overcome fear and a list of the 10 elements of true love. Kirshenbaum is careful to note that what you learn doesn't make up for what you have lost. Still, the case studies always end positively. And some don't ring true: how likely is it that a mother will see the birth of a very sick infant as an opportunity to let go of fear? If you don't believe there is comfort to be found in life's worst events, this book isn't for you. But if you've undergone a tragedy and are desperate to find meaning in it, Kirshenbaum's smooth, comforting tone may give you some direction.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Mira Kirshenbaum is a wise and seasoned guide, her book a welcome map of the difficult terrain of life.” —Dr. Dorothy Firman, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Mother and Daughter Soul

“In a loving universe everything does happen for a reason, and in Mira Kirshenbaum’s book we are persuaded that the universe always has our best interests at heart—even in our darkest moments.”—Gavin de Becker, bestselling author of The Gift of Fear

“Brilliant, beautiful, and bound to make a profound difference in all of our lives.” —Debra Waterhouse, M.P.H., R.D.,bestselling author of Outsmarting Female Fatigue

“One of life’s wonderful surprises. Insightful, wise, and warm.” —Mary J. Shomon, bestselling author of Living Well with Hypothyroidism --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Mira Kirshenbaum is clinical director of the Chestnut Hill Institute, a center for therapy and research in Boston, and has been treating patients in individual and couples therapy for more than thirty years. She is the author of ten other books, including Our Love is Too Good, To Feel So Bad, Everything Happens for a Reason, and When Good People Have Affairs.

Customer Reviews

Very insightful, thought provoking, general easy read.
Russell Shamah
To know that without a shadow of a doubt I can now allow true friendship and romantic love into my life - without losing me.
Laura J. Kendall
Books are like best friends only sometimes even better and "Everything Happens for a Reason" is one of these books.
Suzannah B. Troy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Lin on August 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I recently purchased Mira's Kirshenbaum's new book "Everything Happens For A reason" and I found this book to be very inspiration and most beneficial. As a woman that has had much adversity in my life over these past few years, the author encouraged, that even through the worst of times, growth and peacefulness will emerge if we are open to trust in ourselves and the fact that everything does happen for a reason. As a mother that lost her only child 4 years ago to leukemia at the age of 10, I could not believe at the time, that any positives could ever come from one of the most devastating experience any parent could ever imagine. The truth is...they have....through my grief work I have grown in ways I never would have ever explored, had I not going through this experience I have had to endure. This book brought me a peacefullness in knowing that the twist and turns in our lifetime do have reason, that they help us to find true authenticity of self and to help direct us back on course to find the true meaning of our life here on this earth. The author knows first hand about adversity losing many loved ones of her own during the holcaust. Through her sharing in this book of her first hand experience with adversity in her own life, I felt that she truly could relate and understand my struggles as well. For anyone that has gone through a deep loss, whether it be a death of a loved one, illness or divorce this book is a wonderful resource to assit you with your healing. I highly recommend this book!

Lin from NH
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jenny Miller on October 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I think this could be the best book I ever read. It made me feel so inspired!! It's so exciting -- that my life has meaning, everything that's ever happened to me, good and bad. I just love the idea that the universe is a safe, nurturing place for me, that the events of me life are all trying to help me become the real me. But there are also so many great stories, so this was not just inspiring but was a totally fun read. Do a favor for everyone you love and buy the a copy of this wonderful book. Just looking at the cover makes me happy!
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jonni O'Connor on March 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I'm given a book with a title like Everything Happens For a Reason, I sit up and take notice, as that statement has always been a part of my own belief system. Clients continue to fill my days with the very question "Why did this have to happen to me?", so a book with the subtitle of Finding the True Meaning of the Events in Our Lives was intriguing. The author, Mira Kirshenbaum, sounds like a sensitive psychotherapist and has written several other bestsellers with equally interesting titles: Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay; The Gift of a Year; and Women & Love. In her new book, Kirshenbaum strives to bring meaning and comfort into everything that we experience, especially our tragedies. Not a small undertaking in my opinion.

Kirshenbaum's work represents years of statistical and (as she calls it) seat-of-the-pants analysis in which she strove to find patterns that would represent ten different universal meanings that would explain all the events in our lives. I love a good system that attempts to simplify. She allots a chapter to each of the ten, fleshing them out with explanations, examples and often questions that familiarize one with the principle. I admit I was at a loss to find an event in my own life that did not fit into one or another of her principles. Take a look at a few of them yourself and you'll see what I mean. Reason Three: to show you that you can let go of your fear; Reason Five: to help you uncover your true hidden talent; Reason Eight: to help you discover the play in life; Reason Ten: to help you become a truly good person. If Kirshenbaum's explanations give you a sense of meaning and comfort, they have served its purpose completely, for being able to recognize, understand and accept the conditions in our life is the only way we can ever truly embrace it.
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42 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Ken Holmes on December 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Here are Kirshenbaum's "reasons" for which "everything" happens, as listed in her table of contents:

1. To help you feel at home in the world

2. To help you totally accept yourself

3. To show you that you can let go of fear

4. To bring you to the place where you can feel forgiveness

5. To help you uncover your true hidden talent

6. To give you what you need to find true love

7. To help you be come stronger

8. To help you discover the play in life

9. To show you how to live with a sense of mission

10. To help you become a truly good person.

Kirshenbaum asserts that these are the only reasons for which everything happens, and yes, there are exactly ten, no more, no less. I was hoping for a book which profoundly, thoughtfully explores the suffering, both personal and colletive, which so thorougly plagues our world.

Her advice, based on the premise that all things that happen to us comprise a sort of "cosmic kindergarten," is helpful with dealing with personal setbacks--although I highly doubt this would be the case for those diagnosed with terminal cancer. I imagine Kirshenbaum is an excellent counseler.

But what about other things that happen in our world: the Holocaust, 9/11, The recent Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the plane crash this week in Nigeria which took the lives of hundreds of children, the thousands of children dying from cancer, the devastation of African peoples by AIDS...

Do any of these events POSSIBLY happen for any of the above "reasons"? Are they too part of her "cosmic kindergarten"? If not, her title--and whole book--is very misleading.
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