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Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life Hardcover – January 22, 2013
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“A wonderfully concise appeal for presentness...Elegantly stated.” ―The Boston Globe
“Missing Out is [Adam Phillips's] most poetic, paradoxical, repetitive, and punning yet; he doesn't argue in a linear fashion but nestles ideas within ideas, like Russian dolls.” ―Sheila Heti, The New York Times Book Review
“[Adam Phillips] has an elegant prose style...with a talent for turning a phrase, a knack for epigrams” ―Los Angeles Review of Books
“Extraordinary...Always humane, never reductive, Phillips is one of those writers whom it is a pleasure simply to hear think.” ―The Sunday Telegraph (London)
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Top Customer Reviews
Quite a lot, it turns out. Paradoxically, he asserts, we have become experts in what we don't know and know-little's about what we think we do know. When the going gets tough at work or at home, as our frustration builds with the knots we tie ourselves up in, we develop "omniscience" about what awaits us in our unlived lives. It's not until we leave the job or abandon the family that the green pastures we projected turn out to be less nourishing than the life we confidently expected awaited us.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Not only is it impossible to fully know ourselves, more importantly, we can never know what goes on with anyone else, not our children, not our parents, not our wives or sweethearts. So we can't l know how things will turn out if we stay put and try to work out solutions to our frustrations, and we certainly can't know how we will feel with the new job or partner in the unlived life we opted for. To that degree, the book's subtitle title is, if not misleading, disingenuous. Since we can't know the unlived life - we never reach it -- the praise we cloak it in is a mirage.
Phillips, a psychoanalyst with years of practice under his belt, has extensive experience to support his conclusions. Moreover, he is sharp as a tack, extremely well read in his field and out, and a writer the New York Times described as "poetic, paradoxical, repetitive and punning.Read more ›
Similar to the experience of other reviewers, I had expectations that this book would offer a useful exploration of how looking at the yet-unlived aspects of our lives can help guide us towards more meaningful lives. Perhaps I was lured by the subtitle of "In praise of the unlived life" and the reviews on the back, which, in retrospect, were more about the undelivered promises found in the prologue of the book. (I'm kind of thinking these reviewers never actually made it through the remainder of the book.)
To me, the book (following the promising prologue) was a series of mental ramblings thrown together that provided a tour of the author's own personal intellectual pet projects. Much of the book consisted of the author's exploring ad nauseam the concepts and definitions of the words and phrases of "frustration," "not getting it," "getting away with it," "getting out of it," "satisfaction," and "madness" with a dizzying array of citations from Freud and Shakespeare. Maybe I was missing out (subtitle pun intended) on something, but I did not find these mental wanderings to be interesting or useful. It felt like the author was not writing for an audience, but for himself.
Some readers may love the content, style, and impressive attempts to marry psychoanalysis and Shakespeare, but, it just didn't work so well for me.
On the bright side, I need not wonder if I was missing out by not reading _Missing Out_.
"What experiences are made possible by not getting it, and what getting it, whatever it is, might protect us from.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Adam takes our everyday experiences of life, ourselves and others, and peels off layer after layer - the manner in which we make sense of things, exposing the what and why beneath... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
It didn't provide what the information about it suggested. I found it to be disorganized and repetitive, though it did have some good moments.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Psychoanalysis is analysis of unfiltered stream of consciousness talk. This book replaces that "talk" with the author's "writing". Read morePublished 7 months ago by JackBluegrass
Sheer genius and deep.
Overly well written. Can help you understand yourself and your course of life.
Per other reviewers, the title promises something that the book doesn't come close to delivering. The writing is ponderous, showy, and confusing. Read morePublished 10 months ago by vickya
Writing is extremely complicated in a bad way. Lots of dependent clauses which are completely unnecessary. A real disappointment. Poorly written.Published 11 months ago by PJP