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What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life Hardcover – December 26, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (December 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592404200
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592404209
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.3 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #595,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The author of more than a dozen books, James Hollis, Ph.D., teaches at the Jung Educational Center of Houston and is a distinguished faculty member of the Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in San Francisco. A graduate of the C. G. Jung Institute of Zurich, Switzerland, he maintains a private analytic practice. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From AudioFile

Healing, satisfaction, and meaning only come when we identify what feeds our soul . . . says therapist and writer Hollis in this thoughtful program. The elegance and poetry in this writing will frustrate listeners looking for something more direct or colloquial. Literature lovers, on the other hand, will devour the writer's philosophical tone and the many quotes from authors like Pascal and Dylan Thomas. Narrator Jim Bond's academic tone helps to keep the production anchored to the author's largely intellectual approach. Yet Bond is so comfortable with this kind of material that he makes it come alive with humanity and clarity. This well-performed essay is sure to influence those who warm up to its important message. T.W. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

James Hollis has a private analytic practice and is the executive director of the Jung Educational Center.

Customer Reviews

His prose is both simple and profound.
Karl LaFong
I believe it will help you build hope and bolster the courage to live your own life amidst the uncertainty of our existence.
T. Broesche
Wonderfully written and very thought provoking.
Barb

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Karl LaFong on January 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're looking for simple solutions to your problems, "10 Simple Ways To Experience Enlightenment While Losing Weight and Improving Your Golf Score" and fast-food self-improvement, this is not the book for you.

James Hollis is a very wise man. His prose is both simple and profound. He calls on the reader to perform a most difficult, necessary task -- to (p. 39) "review every commitment, every old friendship, every practice, and every summons, and say in a new way, 'I will not serve that which does not serve me.'" In other words, re-consider your entire life so that, instead of serving the ego's needs, you are serving the needs of your soul.

I bought this book the first day it went on sale. The act of reading it was like spending time with a brilliant, compassionate friend who loves you more than you love yourself, and who is willing to call you on your worst, most self-destructive qualities in a way that opens the door to healing the wounds that might create new qualities and a better life.

Are you ready for a richer, more interesting life? Are you ready to do what's necessary to discover you soul's mission? Mr. Hollis will guide you.

I am grateful to this man for sharing his wisdom.
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68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By William Timothy Lukeman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his latest volume, James Hollis delves into that toughest of all questions: What's it all about? He makes it clear that the answer will be something different for every individual ... and that becoming a true individual, discovering what our often-neglected potential is & exploring it, will provide as much of an answer as we'll ever get.

For there is no final, complete, all-encompassing answer, much as we might want one. Accepting uncertainty & ambiguity is the only way to grow beyond our social & cultural programming, "maintaining the tension of opposites," as many have put it. This means never being 100% sure, yet cultivating self-confidence; taking risks & striving for something that may ultimately elude our grasp; being resolute, yet never forgetting humility in the face of mystery. Above all, it means facing the most unsettling, troubling aspects of our own being, things we'd rather not know.

But let's be clear: Hollis is NOT advocating mere narcissism, ignoring personal responsibility & obligations for the sake of sweetly addictive navel-gazing. That's the farthest thing from what he's proposing. He doesn't promise happiness or security ... but he does say that life will be far more interesting, charged with greater meaning, so that even suffering will have some purpose & place.

Because in the end, we all face countless losses, right down to our own mortality. Not one of us is immune. Whether there's an afterlife or not, all we know for sure is this fleeting life, with all of its wonders, pitfalls, sorrows & joys. How will we make the most of it, this brief, ephemeral moment in the ocean of infinity? That is indeed the question!

So don't open these pages looking for neat, simple answers.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Mary Jane Hurley Brant on January 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In What Matters Most, Dr. James Hollis legitimizes inner conflicts that we as individuals must struggle with if we are to call ourselves conscious. In this spiritually and verbally rich book the reader is invited to discover and live his or her own truth so as to appreciate the abundant rewards that a "More Considered Life" offers.

This book was so satisfying to me that it was not only food for thought; it was a banquet for my soul.

Mary Jane Hurley Brant
When Every Day Matters: A Mother's Memoir on Love, Loss and Life (Simple Abundance Press, Oct. 2008)
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Yogi Bear on May 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm revising my earlier review, because it was written soon after I discovered Hollis' work, and it wasn't very helpful about this specific book.

Eight months later, I'd say this is my favorite Hollis book. It feels like his most personal work -- he alludes to the death of his son while writing it -- and so it seems less like an analysis of Jungian ideas and more of where Jungian thought has brought him to feel and value as important. That said, I do think familiarity with his earlier work enriches the reading of this book.

If you are new to Hollis, my recommendation would be to get this book in conjunction with his excellent CD set Through the Dark Wood, which is a survey of the themes of most of his earlier books. Hollis is an excellent speaker, and the material offers enough depth for repeated listens. You could then purchase his earlier books depending on what interests you.

Two things strike me about this book, which Hollis himself may take issue with, but what the hell...

1. If you are familiar with Myers-Briggs, Hollis to me presents a distinctly NT view of the world, more evident here than in his other work. So, if you have ever felt like you are an NT living in an SJ world, you may find you resonate with this material in a powerful, energizing way. (I suspect earlier reviews accusing Hollis of a liberal agenda were written by SJs who have a hard time finding value in things like doubt and uncertainty.)

2. This book serves as an indictment (or antidote, perhaps) of the insurance industry-friendly cognitive-behavioral, pill-popping school of problem-solving.
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