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The Way Of Transition: Embracing Life's Most Difficult Moments [Kindle Edition]

William Bridges
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Book Description

William Bridges' lifelong work has been devoted to a deep understanding of transitions and to helping others through them. When his own wife of thirty-five years died of cancer, however, he was thrown head-first into the kind of painful and confusing abyss he had known before only in theory. An honest account of being in transition, this uncommonly wise and moving book is a richly textured map of the personal, professional, and emotional transformations that grow out of tragedy and crisis. Demonstrating how disillusionment, sorrow, or confusion can blossom into a time of incredible creativity and contentment, Bridges highlights the profound significance and value of endings in our lives.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When author Bill Bridges's wife died from breast cancer, he began to question all his previous groundbreaking work on transitions. Having conducted seminars and written bestselling books (Transitions, Managing Transitions), Bridges had built a reputation as an expert on the topic. And yet, "I felt now that my words had totally failed to match in depth the experience of actually being in transition," he explains. After floundering in self-doubt for months after his wife died, Bridges embarked on a spiritual pilgrimage through Wales. During his visits to sacred sites, Bridges began to see that he hadn't been misguiding people. Rather, he simply had more to offer on the subject of transition--more depth, more spirit, and above all else, more experience. So at 66 years old he wrote this excellent and highly personal book in which he examines the pain and challenge of transition--how it is a time of letting go of the past while taking hold of the future.

Because Bridges weaves his personal story into the narrative he comes off as a wizened sage rather than a cocky aficionado. "Change can come at any time, but transition comes along when one chapter of your life is over and another is waiting in the wings to make its entrance," he begins. "Needless to say it is impossible to imagine a new chapter is starting when your wife's death has just closed down what feels like your whole life. You simply cannot imagine a new chapter...." Overall, this is a book that offers an abundance of insights without faltering into self-help clichés or specific how-to advice. Instead, Bridges examines the events that bring about transition (marriage, death, change of vocation, tragedy, and crisis) and why it's so important to fully experience these transitions and how they offer opportunities for closure as well as launch pads for enormous personal growth. Readers of The Way of Transition will find an author who manages to be humble, accessible, and highly intelligent as he weaves the writings of Tolstoy, Herman Hesse, Emily Dickinson, Carl Jung, and Anäaut;is Nin into his personal reflections. --Gail Hudson

About the Author

Formerly a professor of English, William Bridges made a shift to the field of transitional management in the mid-1970s; out of his workshops has grown a long career of consulting, lecturing, and helping others through transitions. He lives with his wife in Mill Valley, California.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2052 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (December 27, 2000)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0010NZKR4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,036 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
My wife recently passed away after a three year battle with breast cancer. I bought this book because I'd read Bill Bridges' earlier books and found them insightful and refreshing. But I was totally unprepared for my personal connection to this particular book, which was written after Bill lost his wife through an almost identical struggle with cancer. It was as if he was telling my story and then helping me to both get through my own deep sadness and make some sense out of the painful process of mourning and grieving. This book does deal with transitions but it deals with much more and does so with great openness, sensitivity, and wisdom. I strongly recommend it to anyone dealing with the process of grief for the loss of a loved one. I learned far more from this book than I learned from any of the many books specifically written on that subject.
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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving -- and very timely October 9, 2001
Format:Hardcover
I read Bridges' "Transitions" about four years ago, when I had just been laid off unexpectedly from my job, and I found it extremely helpful and reassuring. So I bought this book mostly out of curiosity how Bridges himself would handle one of life's most painful transitions. He begins by alternating between an autobiographical account of his wife's final illness and death, and more theoretical chapters discussing transitions in general. But as the story continues with his stunned reaction to her death, and his attempts to embark on the next phase of his life, the personal and the theoretical merge. I was impressed by his honesty -- he's candid about his self-doubts, about himself and his late wife (warts and all), and about the joys and struggles in their 37-year marriage. This made his story all the more compelling by showing him not as the all-knowing "expert," but as someone who's gained his expertise from hard-won personal experience. As he points out repeatedly, life changes don't follow a neat, predictable pattern; but if we embrace the process of transition and are open to what it brings, everything DOES work out eventually (his tentative, bumbling attempts at dating a casual acquaintance develop into love and a second marriage). The book is a fascinating story, but along the way I learned a great deal about life transitions in general (every parent should read his remarks about planning your children's lives!). And at a time when we in the US have just gone through a painful transition ourselves, and are struggling to redefine ourselves and our role in the world, I found his remarks surprisingly relevant on a larger scale too.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rolling with the Changes November 28, 2001
Format:Hardcover
In the wide-ranging realm of self-help books, "The Way of Transition" is something of a cross between "Passages" and "Tuesdays with Morrie." Like "Passages," it describes in simple, easily understood terms the stages one goes through when dealing with an important life transition. Like "Tuesdays," it draws on a painful yet inspirational encounter with fatal illness - in this case, that of the author's wife.
Those attempting to deal with big transitions in their lives are likely to find this book comforting and helpful. I did. But don't pick it up if you're looking for easy answers, clever techniques, or lists of things to do to turn your life around. As the author himself puts it, the "way" in the book's title is meant to describe a path, not a technique. So his approach is more descriptive than prescriptive. He wants to help you understand what you're going through but doesn't presume to have the answers. He leaves it up to you to figure out what to do.
Bridges' main point is a fairly simple one: that the rootless, confusing transition period one undergoes following a death in the family, divorce, career change or other transformative event should be embraced, not avoided or evaded. These difficult periods of transition, he argues, are precisely the times when we are most likely to be creative and open to inspiration. He illuminates this deceptively simple message with stories from his own life, especially how he dealt with his late wife's battle with cancer. He also sprinkles in lots of poignant quotes from others to help get the point across.
At times, the book borders on the spiritual.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing and wonderful November 3, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a engrossing book about what happens when a person who has made a career out of understanding "transitions" (and helping other people and organizations through times of transition) comes face to face with a gigantic transition. As Bridges dealt with the death of his wife and the concomitant end of a lengthy marriage, he found himself wondering if he really understood transitions at all. This book is the story of how he navigated that period in his life, how he achieved a new understanding of everything that had gone before, and what it has meant to him since.

There is a lot going on in this book. On one level, it is the story of a marriage. On another level, it is the story of how truly immersing oneself in the transitions one encounters can deepen a person's relationship both to the self and to the personal history that has created that self. And then there is the general philosophical musing about how a person can open himself to the possibilities that come with major life changes. It's not a book of ideas about what to do (for that, the same author has a couple of other books on transition), but instead it's a deeply personal reflection on the meaning of life and life's transitions.

Highly recommended for anyone who is of a contemplative turn of mind.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Recently widowed and found the book very enlightening and helpful managing the grief I feel
Published 9 days ago by deb anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Quality, Thought Provoking Bridges Book
Love William Bridges books! All of them. :)
Published 27 days ago by Patty Ann
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Book was in great condition, and at the price point, it was a steal!
Published 1 month ago by William R. Esterby
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Helpful
This is a great book filled with his experience and that helped me understand what I'm feeling and doing and even why I'm not doing some things. Read more
Published 2 months ago by G. Hoover
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very healing book in many ways.
Published 2 months ago by Kathleen H Lique
5.0 out of 5 stars So relevant and helpful
This book was recommended by my doctor after the death of my husband. I have had 5 other copies sent to friends going through other kinds of transitions and they are all reading it... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Deborah Ballard
5.0 out of 5 stars Experiencing Changes and Transition?
William Bridges has helped individuals and corporations through transitions. He makes a distinction between a 'change' (a new job, divorce, new baby) one makes in life as... Read more
Published 6 months ago by D J Robards
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read
It was a lovely read.. it gives a true acciunt of what a transition really is. Highly recommend this book
Published 7 months ago by Catriona Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars good book to read
i love how the author present his information. It is a great book to read because it help you understand about and to deal with any difficult that u have to face in your life
Published 8 months ago by Sitha Mao
5.0 out of 5 stars Way of Transition gave me insigh to what I am living.
Very similar with what I have experienced this past year. He but words to the bittersweet song of love for me!
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

William Bridges is an internationally known speaker, author, and consultant who advises individuals and organizations in how to deal productively with change. His ten books include an expanded third edition of his best-seller, Managing Transitions (2009), and the updated second edition of Transitions (2004), which together have sold over one million copies. Before that he published The Way of Transition (2000), a partly autobiographical study of coming to terms with profound changes in his own life and transforming them into times of self-renewal. He published Creating You & Co., a handbook for creating a work-life that capitalizes on today's frequent and disruptive changes, and the ground-breaking Jobshift.

For three decades, he has guided thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations through the maze of the transitions that accompany change. He focuses on the Transition, or psychological reorientation, people must go through to come to terms with changes in their lives. His three-phase model of Endings, Neutral Zone and New Beginnings is widely known. The professional seminars that he launched in 1988 have now certified more than 5,000 managers, trainers and consultants worldwide to conduct Transition Management programs. His later work has focused on bringing the principles of Transition Management into the non-profit world. He has been a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and corporate meetings in the United States and abroad.

Educated originally in the humanities at Harvard, Columbia, and Brown Universities, he was (until his own career change in 1974) a professor of American Literature at Mills College, Oakland, CA. He is a past president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology. The Wall Street Journal listed him as one of the top ten independent executive development presenters in America.


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