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Living Beyond Limits Paperback – September 20, 1994

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Editorial Reviews Review

David Spiegel, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford whose work has revolved around mobilizing victims of life-threatening illnesses, offers detailed instruction for taking charge of affliction and living beyond limits. In a landmark study, Spiegel found that women with breast cancer who received standard medical care and met with a weekly support group experienced less depression, anxiety and pain, and lived twice as long as women who received no social support. Here he expands his findings to include all terminal illnesses from first diagnoses, through treatment, to the threat of impending death, and explains how facing fear head-on makes victims freer in the time they have left.

From Library Journal

Basing his conclusions on scientific research and clinical experience, the author discusses the connection between one's mental life and physical health. In his own study of women with advanced breast cancer who attended group therapy, Spiegel found that those who received group support were not only emotionally better off than the control group but on average survived twice as long. In contrast to those who advocate such approaches as visualizing away one's disease, the author makes no claim to cure illness. Rather, he aims at having patients improve the quality of their lives by acknowledging the seriousness of their illness. The author's single deviation in an otherwise interesting and useful book is his needlessly emotional outburst against suicide. For large academic and public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/93.
- Bonnie Hoffman, Stony Brook, N.Y.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (September 20, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449909409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449909409
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,608,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
When I was diagnosed with cancer, how to think about it, and how to deal with fear of dying were top on my list. People handed me books by Bernie Siegel, and I just couldn't relate. I didn't want anything that told me that I had caused my cancer or that I could magically "think myself well." I know that attitude is part of healing, but I experienced most of those "heal yourself" books as blaming and counterproductive.
Spiegel is wonderful. I read his book three times in quick succession. I really wanted to internalize that way of looking at things. I also bought extra copies of the book, to give to family and close friends. I told them, "This is how I want to think about what's happening to me. This is how I want to talk about it." The part of the book I liked best was where he talks about fears. Fears of the unknown (like fears of dying or fears about chronic illness) can be overwhelming. However, if you break the fears into little pieces, you can figure out how to deal with each of the pieces.
Spiegel is honest, yet very compassionate, understanding, and comforting. His research on how support groups and coping with emotions affect quality and length of life is intriguing and reassuring. I would heartily recommend this book to any cancer patient, or others with a life-threatening condition.
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By Chris on February 25, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very happy with the purchase and the service, thanks
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6 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
Sadly, I must say that I am very dissappointed with this overly indulgent book. It is such an important topic, that I would have thought that Spiegel would have taken more care to write it in a way that would be helpful to patients, such as me. But instead, I find his poorly organized writing style, his apparent stream of consciousness, and his haughtiness to border on offensiveness. It seems as if he likes to preach, but really does not have a good grasp of the experience of cancer. While he covers important topics, he does it in a manner that seems to be on the one hand paternalistic admonition, and on the other hand theoretical academics. I can only wonder if he truly feels what he writes, or if this is simply a launching pad for his career.
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