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The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book About Living Hardcover – March 8, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Caroline Myss Author of Sacred Contracts, Why People Don't Heal and How They Can, and Anatomy of the Spirit The Four Things That Matter Most is a book of commonsense wisdom that has the power to dynamically change your life. It is a pleasure to recommend a book that encourages you to transform the quality of your life in simple ways that actually work.

Maggie Callanan Coauthor of Final Gifts A tender read I highly recommend. The Four Things That Matter Most offers simple but solid solutions for healing our complex and fragile relationships -- wisdom that will surely enrich our lives.

Larry Dossey, M.D. Author of Healing Beyond the Body, Reinventing Medicine, and Healing Words For anyone who believes that years of therapy are required for transforming relationships with others, this book will come as a pleasant surprise. Great wisdom has always been simple -- that is why it is elusive -- and great wisdom is what this book contains.

Joan Halifax, Ph.D. Author, Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, founder and director of Ojai Foundation, and founder, Upaya Foundation Ira Byock's compassionate and important work in the field of dying has given him the four great treasures of love and freedom that all of us can use throughout our life. This wonderful book opens the doors to these jewels of compassion.

Zorba Paster, M.D. Author of The Longevity Code, host of public radio's Zorba Paster on Your Health, and host of the public television special How to Live a Long, Sweet Life The Four Things That Matter Most provides simple, insightful words and stories that move the heart and the soul. Dr. Byock shows us a graceful way to nurture relationships and heal those that need mending.

From the Inside Flap

"This beautiful book, full of wisdom and warmth, teaches us how to protect and preserve our most valuable possessions--the relationships with those we love. It shows that the things that matter definitely aren’t "things," and how to empower your life in the right direction."
--Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

"The 4 Things That Matter Most provides simple, insightful words and stories that move the heart and the soul. Dr. Byock shows us a graceful way to nurture relationships and heal those that need mending."
--Zorba Paster, M.D., author of The Longevity Code, host of public radio's On Your Health, and host of the public television special, How to Live a Long, Sweet Life [airing post-Thanksgiving]

"A tender read I highly recommend -- The Four Things That Matter Most offers simple but solid solutions for healing our complex and fragile relationships -- wisdom that will surely enrich our lives."
--Maggie Callanan, co-author of the bestselling Final Gifts

"For anyone who believes that years of therapy are required for transforming relationships with others, this book will come as a pleasant surprise. Great wisdom has always been simple - that is why it is elusive - and great wisdom is what this book contains.
--Larry Dossey, MD author of HEALING BEYOND THE BODY, REINVENTING MEDICINE, and The New York Times bestselling HEALING WORDS

"The Four Things that Matter Most is a book of common sense wisdom that has the power to dynamically change your life. It is a pleasure to recommend a book that encourages you to transform the quality of your life in simple ways that actually work."
-- Caroline Myss, author of Sacred Contracts and Anatomy of the Spirit

"Ira Byock's compassionate and important work in the field of dying has given him the four great treasures of love and freedom that all of us can use throughout our life. This wonderful book opens the doors to these jewels of compassion"
-- Joan Halifax, Ph.D. author, Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, former research assistant to Joseph Campbell, founder and director of Ojai Foundation and founder, Upaya Foundation

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1 edition (March 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743249097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743249096
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
2 days ago I spent 2 hours with my mother who is sick and not expected to live to much longer.

I haven't spent time with her like that for 17 years.

Over the years there have been so many misunderstandings, cross words, mean letters, siblings fighting and talking about each other and I honestly thought it was hopeless. I thought I would never see my mother again. Ever. It was a MESS!

But, it became obvious with lots of work and support over the years that what I wanted most was to tell my mom I love her and how much I appreciate all she has done for me. My severe depression was based on the thought that I literally thought that was impossible.

A few weeks ago, I (well, we) decided it didn't matter the outcome; I had to tell her anyway. I was prepared for the worst. I wrote out the scenarios and read them to my husband and therapist. They helped me visualize and come to grips with how I would handle whatever the outcome would be. Of course part of me really wanted it to go well but no one thought it would.

6 days ago, while preparing I found this book online. I immediately went to the library and got it (only because I couldn't buy it in time! We were leaving in 3 days!!)

I read the entire book that night. OH my gosh. I cried and cried and cried. I prayed that I would have an experience that was good. But I knew I probably wouldn't. But something Dr. Byock said several times about how your loved ones will always live within you struck me. And I knew that is exactly what was driving me crazy.

I KNEW I loved my mom. I KNEW she had done so much for me and THAT'S what I wanted in my heart. That's it. I don't want anymore sadness and hate. I don't want to be confused.
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Format: Hardcover
As a Grief Recovery Specialist, I help people to complete relationships after a loss. After reading Ira Byock's, "The Four Things That Matter Most", I believe I wouldn't have a job if everyone would complete relationships before their loss. A great book for everyone. I highly recommend this book. Pat Reinkensmeyer, Grief Recovery Specialist
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Format: Hardcover
Too often in the midst of our everyday lives, we neglect to tell the people who mean the most to us how much we care. In this book, Dr. Byock gently shows us how to heal from even profound separations from the people who have touched our lives.
After reading this book, I feel that I am able to express my gratitude to friends and family daily. I try not to hold onto negative experiences and have forgiven some grudges that were years old.
Thank you, Dr. Byock.
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Format: Hardcover
I work with Hospice patients and their families on a regular basis. The book has this incredible grasp on you once you first begin reading it. Once you've finished, it's nearly impossible NOT to implement the FOUR THINGS in both your own life as a living being and in the lives of those you come into contact with; the dying and their families, and even those that surround you everyday. An absolute must read for ALL~whether or not you work in Palliative Care. A book to be treasured, passed on, donated, given as a gift. Life Changing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I retired I had a rule that if I took a book out of the public library 3 times then I would consider buying it. After reading this book once I knew that it was a keeper and one that I wanted to own, underline and write in the margins. Dr. Byock has worked in a hospice care facility and drew on his experience with both patients and their families in his writing of this very readable and practical book. I am using tis book in a class that I tech with adult learners and they have unanimously endorsed this a a book they enjoyed reading and are starting to use in working with their families to repair and rebuilt damaged relationships. For anyone who believes that dysfunctional family is a redundant phrase this book is an essential read before setting out on the road to peace and wholeness.
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Format: Hardcover
Wow! It's all so simple yet it bears repeating . . the four things that matter most. As someone who works with hospice, I get so much from everything Mr. Byock shares from his experiences in the field. If you have difficult relationships, especially with family members, this is a great book to read and really take in. It's so much better to finish relationships well than to live with regret--and not only when someone is dying! Thanks again to Ira for sharing with all of us.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm studying to be a Geriatric Care Manager and purchased this book to help me understand the needs of the families of the dying. From this book I learned how transformative these four statements can be when facing the terminal illness of a loved one. They are tools for deep communication and for solving long standing problems in relationships- allowing true emotional healing to occur even under the most difficult circumstances. Dr. Byock's message is genius in its simplicity. I really appreciate his compassionate work and his profound message about living and dying.
I recommend this book to anyone who is looking deeply into the meaning of his or her own life or who is going through a difficult time due to the terminal illness of a family member or friend.
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