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The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 22, 2009

ISBN-10: 0465013600 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465013600
  • ASIN: B005B1G2A0
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #856,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

He once helped debunk the theory of repressed memory; now this Columbia clinical psychology professor takes on the conventional wisdom about grieving. There's little evidence to support the existence of stages of mourning or the corollary that if the stages aren't followed completely, there's cause for alarm. What Bonanno does find is a natural resilience that guides us through the sadness of loss, and grief, rather than distracting us, actually causes the mind to focus; it also elicits the compassion and concern that humans are hard-wired to offer in response to another's suffering. Bonanno acknowledges that grief is sometimes extreme and requires treatment, much like post-traumatic stress disorder. But with this work, science and common sense come together in a thoughtful, kindhearted way; stories of loss go far beyond striking a familiar chord—they give us hope. As one mother who lost her daughter tells Bonanno, even years later she felt her daughter was like a little ember, and if I need to, if I want to have Claire next to me, I blow on it, ever so gently, and it glows bright again. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Library Journal
“Illuminating…while the popular and the professional literature on death and dying continue to surge, Bonanno's work manages to offer a clearly professed alternative way to understand grief that will be a refreshing new resource for professionals, as well as for the grieving.”

Publishers Weekly
“Bonanno acknowledges that grief is sometimes extreme and requires treatment, much like post-traumatic stress disorder. But with this work, science and common sense come together in a thoughtful, kindhearted way; stories of loss go far beyond striking a familiar chord—they give us hope.”

Camille Wortman, Professor of Psychology, Stony Brook University
“Bonanno, the most productive and influential bereavement researcher in America today, has changed the scientific landscape in the field of grief and bereavement.”

Dacher Keltner, Professor of Psychology, University of California Berkeley and author of Born To Be Good
The Other Side of Sadness is brilliant and moving. Bonanno turns our thinking about loss on its head. He reveals the subtle and myriad ways we are resilient, how we find new layers of meaning, why we laugh, and gain insight when loved ones pass. This inspiring book will fill you with wisdom about the other side of loss, and make life immeasurably richer.”

Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D., Kenan Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and author of Positivity
The Other Side of Sadness paints a refreshingly new and scientifically-grounded portrait of the grieving process, one infused with positivity, laughter, and enduring bonds. Anyone interested in the emotional nuances of the human condition will value this warm, engaging, and accessible book.”

Jim Whitaker, Founder and Director Project Rebirth
“George Bonanno’s ground-breaking research on grief illuminates mankind’s profound capacity for resilience, and shows us how to find meaning in life after death.”

Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University; author of Stumbling on Happiness
“There are a lot of books on bereavement and now you can throw them all away. Bonanno carefully assembles scientific evidence to show that most of what we thought we knew is just plain wrong. The Other Side of Sadness is a game changer. There’s nothing else like it. If you want to know the truth about the human experience of loss, there’s only one book on the shelf.”

Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Professor of Psychology, Yale University
“Bonanno has revolutionized our thinking about how people respond to loss and trauma. The Other Side of Sadness has tremendous implications for interventions and for how people see themselves.” 

Christopher Peterson, Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan
The Other Side of Sadness melds rigorous research and compelling case examples to inform, enlighten, and inspire. I highly recommend this book.” 

Richard J. McNally, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University; author of Remembering Trauma
“No one has done more to transform our understanding of how people cope with the loss of a loved one than George Bonanno. His landmark research overturns engrained myths about mourning, and identifies sources of human resilience in the face of loss. The Other Side of Sadness is an excellent, emotionally moving account of how people overcome the pangs of grief.”

New Scientist
“This is a valuable book for Bonanno's application of the scientific method to a field that badly needs it.”

New York Times
“Fascinating and readable… a sensitive and sensible view of loss.”

More About the Author

George A. Bonanno received his Ph.D in Clinical Psychology from Yale University. He is currently a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Chair of the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University's Teachers College. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and focuses on how people cope with potentially traumatic events, such as the death of a loved one, terrorist attack, disaster and medical emergency. His studies have documented our natural resilience to these events and explored the factors that help us cope effectively; these include our repertoire of emotional reactions, especially positive emotion and laughter, personality, and the context of our lives. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, two children, two cats and a bird.

Customer Reviews

The book is well written, readable, and interesting.
Vickie T.
Dr. Bonanno examines the recent research in the field of bereavement, which has just started to gain momentum.
Example name
I really felt like I could believe what he had to say, like, these are the facts.
Manhattan Daisy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Mailman on January 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed reading this book, nearly every page of it. It was both comforting and invigorating. It changed my view of grieving, and in some ways altered my understanding of human nature. It also resonated with some of my own experiences.

As I started to get an idea of the theme of Bonanno's book I became a little concerned that it promotes callousness, but as I read on I noticed this was not all the case; the book delivers its hopeful message in the most humane and compassionate way--owing to both Bonanno's writing style and the autobiographical material he includes.

Another thing I like about the book is its pacing. A lot of general audience books these days say everything near the beginning and then reading to the end is just a chore. Not so with this book; surprising new elements spring up in the middle and end of the book that put an interesting spin on what occurs before.

I found it persuasive and satisfying how Bonanno identifies (mostly through his own empirical studies) how responses to loss vary greatly from person to person, often in a way that correlates with predictive factors. Resilience and grief following loss are not a one-size-fits-all. Furthermore, Bonanno explains how the specific responses to grief differ not just person to person but also from culture to culture (in the North America vs. in Asia, for instance).

Finally, I was impressed with how Bonanno doesn't just dismiss previous theories (such as Kubler-Ross) but rather explains what they do mean and how their implications were overextended. It puts the old and new theories together in context with each other.

I highly recommend this book, not just to the grieving, but to anyone curious about human resilience.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By mariposa on October 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While reading "The Other Side of Sadness" I had many 'a ha' moments were the author's explanation helped congeal my incomplete ideas. My Father passed away three years ago and this book helped me to understand the process of loss. What surprised me was that 8 out of 10 of us are hard wired to recover from the loss of a close loved one. I feel prepared and better able to cope with another loss and also to understand what some one else may be going through.

What I found especially helpful was the explanation of the studies that supported his arguments interlaced with examples of his patients. The cumulative approach made it very easy to comprehend.

I do not read many books on psychology so for me this book not only dealt with grieving but gave me a greater understanding of some basic psychological concepts. Some of the knowledge I could apply to a friend going through grief from an unexpected divorce.

We do not seem to talk much about death in our society let alone from a personal perspective. The Other Side of Sadness allowed me to have an internal discussion and helped me to come to a greater peace on the loss of my Father.

I will send this book to friends who are dealing with grief.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Manhattan Daisy on October 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a book I will give to anyone who suffers a loss. I picked up this book wondering what could yet another book on grief and trauma have to say. Well this one was completely different. First of all, I found it so reassuring. The author's tone is kind and yet authoritative. I felt immediately like I was in solid hands. And the message was also important. After reading this book, I stopped worrying so much about what happens to the survivors after someone dies. The message was uplifting--and unlike most books on grief, his thoughts are backed up by data/statistics he's collected over I think decades. I mean the title really says it: The new SCIENCE of bereavement, except that it's not a cold science book at all. The stories are moving and warm, but the science kept the book from being mushy and theoretical. I really felt like I could believe what he had to say, like, these are the facts. And the news is basically good.
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101 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Patricia A. Anewalt on January 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When a colleague described trying to read this book by saying "I began reading the book over the weekend and became so aggravated that I kept putting it down. Your concerns echo my concerns" I realized I was ready to post my review. George Bonanno's new book is heralded as presenting the best and latest in bereavement research. I am concerned that individuals who read this book will believe it to be fact simply because it is in black and white and especially because of the misleading subtitle referencing the "New Science of Bereavement." The opposite of a scientific contribution to the field, I see this book as unscientific and subjective, illustrating how wide the gap is between armchair academics and clinical reality. Bonanno's representation of recent developments in research does a great disservice to both bereavement counselors and bereaved individuals. Those grieving a significant loss will wonder whether they are resilient; and if they feel they need help from anyone, not just professionals, they will think it is because they are not resilient and thus inadequate in some way. A July 2007 press release by the American Psychological Association ([...]) opposed the primary theme of Bonanno's book. They stated that people suffering from grief can be helped and that flawed science led to unsupported negative reviews of grief counseling. They concluded that "there is no empirical or statistical evidence to suggest that grief counseling is harmful to clients or that clients who are "normally" bereaved are at special risk if they receive grief counseling." The APA press release described the statistical analysis forming the basis for Bonanno's stance as "fatally flawed."

No grief counselor would disagree the bereaved are more resilient than they realize.
Read more ›
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