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Exit: The Endings That Set Us Free Hardcover – May 22, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

With her trademark grace and insight, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot has added exit lines to her repertoire. in Exit, she is a superb storyteller and a wise guide to the inevitable farewells that punctuate our lives and often set us free. (Ellen Goodman, author of Paper Trail: Common Sense in Uncommon Times)

In searching for the grace and courage of exits at every stage in the life cycle, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot offers insights into the deeper continuities that exits can affirm, binding us together and emphasizing the meaning in the composition of our lives. She argues the need for our culture to evolve rituals that express these enduring values in facing the unknown. (Mary Catherine Bateson, author of Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom)

The resonant testimonials Lawrence-Lightfoot spotlights nicely dovetail into a conclusion befitting her research into the inevitability of departures and our individual choice to accept or bemoan them. A finely researched examination that sheds a new light on the catharsis of goodbye. (Kirkus Reviews)

Lawrence-Lightfoot has penned an examination of how people exit careers, countries, and even life. Believing that the small departures we make daily prepare us for the large ones--emigration, divorce, death--the author argues that each is a drama of ambivalence, decision-making, and epiphany . . . (Publishers Weekly)

About the Author

Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, a MacArthur prize-winning sociologist, is the Emily Hargroves Fisher Professor of Education at Harvard University, where, since 1972, she has studied the culture of families, communities, and schools, and the relationships between human development and social change. She is the author of ten books, including The Third Chapter, Respect, The Essential Conversation, and Balm in Gilead, which won the 1988 Christopher Award for "literary merit and humanitarian achievement." In 1993, she was awarded Harvard's George Ledlie Prize for research that makes "the most valuable contribution to science" and is to "the benefit of mankind." She is the recipient of twenty-eight honorary degrees and is the first African-American woman in Harvard's history to have an endowed professorship named in her honor.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books; First Edition edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374151199
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374151195
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,188,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had leaved jobs, friends, family, three different degrees, my country ... and I still do not know how to make peace with the exit process. This book give me lots of insides and new ways to see this never-ending process exit. If you ever had avoid to say good bye, read it! Amazing book!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Caveat: Comments based on reading only about two thirds of the book - could not finish it.

Overall I found this book to be very tedious - one lengthy and overly detailed account after another of interviews with people who have experienced some kind of "exit", but few meaningful insights or useful "take aways". I do not recommend this book unless perhaps you have an academic / research interest in the topic - and even then I recommend buying at a used book shop.
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Format: Hardcover
Timely as thousands of Americans are exiting: jobs through downsizing, business closures; homes through foreclosure; and service members exiting Iraq and Afghanistan. Lightfoot delivers the positive components of exits. Inspiring and motivational. Focuses on looking forward not back. The take home message is that exiting is not failure but an opportunity for growth and achievement.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i bought this book for my qualitative research methods class and it was amazing t read through! Amazing. It teaches how to ask qualitative questions, gives applications of lessons the reader has learned about her own qualitative research, and shows the power of empathy and being considerate of others' feelings, and teaches how relieving it can be to exit certain negative situations, as well as rewarding to leave positive ones after much work, time and effort have been put into something or someplace.
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By Marta Mountjoy on September 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best book I have seen that helps us let go of issues and is so easy to read and understand. A real keeper. Marta
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Did not end up reading.....skipped through it quite well
and knew it would be boring for me. I thought it was going
to be more on how we could better deal with the exits in
our lives......but was really stories on individual peoples
issues and I did not relate. Was thinking it was more of a
self-help book. Gave to my local library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Expected more about the psychological dimensions/challenges of moving from one phase of life to another. Obviously the subject is very big and complex. Some interesting stories.
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Format: Hardcover
The author is a Harvard professor and McArthur Fellow and I was anticipating an interesting perspective that the title suggests, but I found myself uncomfortable, mentally arguing with the interviewees and her interpretations. About halfway through it dawned on me that my problem was that I have always lived my life forward, focusing on entrances rather than exits -- not leaving home but going to college, starting a new job, moving to a new home. Like everyone who lives long enough, my life has had numerous exits and entrances, voluntary and involuntary, delightfully happy and unbearably sad. But looking back, it is the entrances I remember. Reading "Exit" was as difficult as driving my car around the block backwards.
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