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The Road Less Traveled and Beyond: Spiritual Growth in an Age of Anxiety Paperback – January 2, 1998


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The Road Less Traveled and Beyond: Spiritual Growth in an Age of Anxiety + Further Along the Road Less Traveled: The Unending Journey Towards Spiritual Growth + The Road Less Traveled, Timeless Edition: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (January 2, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684835614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684835617
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The potential danger in this book's title is the assumption that Peck is rehashing the same material he wrote in The Road Less Traveled. Thankfully, this isn't so. Although he touches upon the same themes that appear in most everything he writes--narcissism vs. self-love and good vs. evil--Peck is clearly speaking to the crucial dilemmas of the 1990s, such as overly simplistic thinking, institutionalized racism and sexism, as well as the media's despairing vision. Now that Peck has reached the maturity of 60, his narrative is less know-it-all than in the days of yore. Yet, ironically, his decades of research, writing, and human service give him more authority than ever.

From Publishers Weekly

Philosophical psychiatrist Peck (Further Along the Road Less Traveled) continues his journey through the existential conflicts and baffling paradoxes on the meandering road of personal development. Mixing selections of pre-digested Freud and Jung for nonacademic consumption, along with an idiosyncratic idea of an immanent yet bland non-denominational God, Peck guides pilgrims toward emotional and spiritual growth. His style is smooth and conversational, though his concession to political correctness, through alternating male and female personal pronouns, can be annoying. He is at his best in colorful anecdotes about his professional and personal life. In these instances, his insights reflect the experiences of a thoughtful and gentle man who has tried to find wisdom in a life that has known both sunlight and shade. Peck's hard-edged insistence on personal responsibility in everyone's life, and on an awareness of evil and sin as real, elevate his discourse from cloying New Age palaver to a meaningful concern about humanity's place in the cosmic order. His honesty in writing about, and working through, his own shortcomings testifies to his integrity and lends credence to his observations. Through copious detailed references from his previous books, he allows readers unfamiliar with them to understand and enjoy the present work, which completes his Road trilogy. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternate selection.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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More About the Author

M. Scott Peck's publishing history reflects his own evolution as a serious and widely acclaimed writer, thinker, psychiatrist, and spiritual guide. Since his groundbreaking bestseller, The Road Less Traveled, was first published in 1978, his insatiable intellectual curiosity has taken him in various new directions with virtually each new book: the subject of healing human evil in People of the Lie (1982), where he first briefly discussed exorcism and possession; the creative experience of community in The Different Drum (1987); the role of civility in personal relationships and society in A World Waiting to Be Born (1993); an examination of the complexities of life and the paradoxical nature of belief in Further Along the Road Less Traveled (1993); and an exploration of the medical, ethical, and spiritual issues of euthanasia in Denial of the Soul (1999); as well as a novel, a children's book, and other works. A graduate of both Harvard University and Case Western Reserve, Dr. Peck served in the Army Medical Corps before maintaining a private practice in psychiatry. For the last twenty years, he has devoted much of his time and financial resources to the work of the Foundation for Community Encouragement, a nonprofit organization that he helped found in 1984. Dr. Peck lives in Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

I have read this book 5 times over the years.
Virginia McCarthy
Again M. Scott Peck has created a tool for discovering meaning in the complexity of life.
Richard A. Singer Jr.
I didn't realise I was going to be preached at!
susie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Jedidiah Palosaari VINE VOICE on June 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
As one would expect from Scott Peck, I found this to be a very encouraging book. Peck continues to write on suffering, and it's being the key to growth. Most people avoid suffering for their whole lives, avoid growth, avoid looking at themselves. I do that too. This book encourage me to rethink aspects of my life, and consider ways I could pursue anew a path of suffering which leads to growth.

I particularly enjoyed his treatisies on listening. I've read some of his thoughts on this before, but I needed to be reminded. About what it means to listen. About how to listen better. About how often I am thinking about what I am going to say next, and the impact I am having, and my interaction, rather than fully and completely engaging myself with the other, putting myself within the other, to bless the person I am communicating with. And so I've been trying to do that these last few days. And it's still hard work.

Much of this book is written as the final hurrah of a life of contemplation. His stories of his time with his wife are particularly beneficial, as Peck shares about what he has learned from his wife, and what they have learned together, as they have pursued a path of active growth together.

A downside though to this approach of putting in a lifetime of thoughts into a final book is that many times, it seems that Peck is simply referencing every book, quite overtly, that he's ever written. At times, it feels like he's trying to get the reader to buy more of his books. A better editor to discourage him from this approach would have been helpful.

I left this book wanting to follow Peck's suggestions. To remember that life does not conform to myself, and release any expectation that it should.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Gale Thacker on May 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book! I am very interested in change- why some are willing to and some resist it. Peck's views on change were insightful. I totally agree with him concerning the issue of simplistic thinking, too. I have struggled with organized religion-couldn't take the confines of it and truly knew that I could think for myself and didn't need a doctrine of an organization to guide me- I can connect directly to God. His views on the Stages of Spiritual Growth helped me. Although I had read about this topic in other books-his "way of putting it" finally helped me sort it all out. I did find he refered to his other books too frequently and it was distracting. I finally just skimmed (fast forwarded) to the parts more interesting to me. I would reccommend this book to those further along the "road less traveled".
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Reed Nelson on February 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Peck's attack on simplistic thinking in this book is refreshing. There are subtle hints that we are innately lazy, which coincides with Mark Twain's more light-hearted view of mankind (and my own). There are also subtle (i.e. not stated) references to the theory of Yin-Yang in this book... although he doesn't come right out and say it, a good portion of this book is about balance. I don't like the constant references to his other works, but self promotion is a minor flaw. A few passages in this book are so insightful that they should be required reading for young adults... and all of us old dogs, too!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kendal B. Hunter on July 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
Rightfully, this book has been criticized for repetitiveness. It seems like every five pages we read "As I wrote in my earlier book X ..." This is a common problem with dark-horse books that become wildly successful. Their follow-up books inadvertently follow the same pattern and ideas--all in the hopes of lighting striking twice.

This is all true, but I think we are missing the reasons why we he does this. First, learning involves repetition. We all have wrongheaded ideas that are ingrained, and it is only by constant exposure--like the steady pounding of a jackhammer--that we can dislodge this mental rubble. Second, rearrangement of the material can help. Repetition can be boring, but rearrangement can spice up the material with variety. We see new relations between the concepts, and an old idea expressed in a new way takes on a new life.

The third reason, however, is more profound. This book is not a rehash of his earlier material, but a reaffirmation of the previous principles. In effect, this book is Peck's deuteronomy, his Last Lecture and last blessing.

This book synthesizes all his other books into a seamless system. It is therefore more then repetition. It is culmination.

This, of course, raises a question--where should we begin. I recommend for most people to start with The Road Less Traveled, 25th Anniversary Edition : A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth. Even though I benefited from reading People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, for most people it is best to begin at Peck's beginning.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By simoncollins@hotmail.com on July 19, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Initially I found the book a little slow and less exiting than "The Road Less Travelled" and this disappointed me at first. However it gets better and more confronting. I struggled to keep up my reading pace due to the implications of what the writer touched on. Its not easy to be a 'conscious thinker' as Peck puts it and this brought home the difficulties that I have experienced in my own life. Every person has their own way to avoid being true to themselves.
I think that "The Road Less Travelled" is a great book to read if you've just started on the journey to mental/spiritual health. "The Road Less Travelled and Beyond" is helpful for those who have taken up the challenge of personal growth for some time and are ready for more challenges.
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