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Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach Us About the Mysteries of Life and Living Hardcover – November 21, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

After experiencing a paralyzing stroke in 1995 and facing her own mortality, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (author of the renowned On Death and Dying) realized she had some unfinished business to take care of. "I wanted to write one more book, not on death and dying, but on life and living," she explains. So she joined forces with coauthor David Kessler, a leader in the field of hospice care, and together they wrote about the lessons we can learn about living from those who are dying. As Kessler explains in his introduction, "The dying have always been teachers of great lessons, for it's when we are pushed to the edge of life that we see most clearly."

In days gone by, the community would have gathering places where children and adults listened to elders tell their stories of life's challenges and the meaning they found in life. In lieu of that kind of extended community, the authors offer this book, filled with stories from the edge. Then, like fireside elders, they weave these personal stories into themes, such as living authentically, the importance of play, finding one's power, loving relationships, and self-compassion. One cannot say enough about the lasting value of this beautifully written and carefully rendered book. This is your chance to see life from the 20/20 vision of hindsight. In the end what will we value most? Here are some hints: the days we surrendered and became calm, the times we healed that which was broken, and of course all the moments we opened ourselves to love. --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

Blending the words of two authors is a precarious undertaking, particularly when the two voices are as strong and well-known as those of K bler-Ross and hospice-care leader Kessler (The Rights of the Dying). Given the similarity in their viewpoints as experts on death and dying, this collaboration seems logical, but unfortunately the alternating entries result in repetitive, rambling prose that lacks punch. The "lessons from the edge of life" culled from the authors' patients include letting go of anger, guilt and fear; learning patience; mourning and accepting loss; playing, laughing and enjoying life; and surrendering to what can't be changed. Although some of the brief personal stories are poignant, the underlying precepts are not new. Kessler and K bler-Ross offer only familiar aphorisms: "live every day to its fullest," "each of us has the power of the universe within us," happiness is a state of mind we can choose, suffering is an opportunity for growth, "life is a school, complete with individualized tests and challenges." Such lessons may be true and useful, but here they come off as trite. K bler-Ross has been ill for many years, suffering two strokes that left her partially incapacitated and may have made writing difficult, but the brief glimpses into her personal journey through illness and near death cry out for elaboration. Mentions of coping with a home health-care worker who stole from her, a nurse who labeled her "combative" and friends who must help this previously vigorous woman navigate the world in a wheelchair indicate a much fuller, richer story than the expanded platitudes offered here, which are unlikely to widen either author's readership. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (November 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684870746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684870748
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book teaches how to live a richer life. Many have attained this by near death experiences. Many of us have not had such experience but can learn from those who have if we choose to. I loved this book. I would also recommend the book An Encounter With A Prophet
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Format: Paperback
I have had the priveledge and honor of working in hospice nursing for several years now. Sometimes it seems that there just aren't ways to put into words that valuable lessons that those that are so close to leaving this world have to teach us. I listened to the tape version, which I have to say was wonderful.

I feel like Kessler and Ross put into words so much of what is experienced when faced with the ending of this chapter we call life. Death is not ugly, scary, horrible, if you are touched by it, you really can learn from it.

Ross and Kessler in their work with the dying remind us that this time we have here on this planet is not forever. What we say and do everyday to the one's we love, this lovely book reminds us that they may be the last words we say and hear from our dear ones. It is not meant to scare us. life is limited. No one, not one person is immune from death. I see it everyday. It is not scary, but it is a journey in itself and a teacher, to teach us that we want to look back and say I didn't fill my life with anger, I remembered to love because this day can be my last. I remembered to live, and I will tell you that is one of the greatest lessons I have learned from the "dying". Boy do they live. laughter surrounds, hugs are free, words are shared. I don't usually hear stories about how many hours a person worked, or how much money they made, or what clothes they had. They tell me about who they knew, who they loved and love, they show me albums, letters. They talk about their spiritual beliefs. They laugh, they cry. It may sound like I am getting off they subject of the book, but I am not. This IS what the book is about. LIVING now. Remember to Live.
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Format: Hardcover
Life Lessons is one of those books that EVERYONE should read. It is a call to all of us to live deeper richer lives. Because so many of the thoughts and lessons are taken from individuals who are near death, including author, Elizabeth Kubler Ross, each lesson is deeply inspiring and profound. I work as a hospital chaplain and have read many books on death and dying, but none has captured the wisdom and spirit that those near death offer us in the same way that Life Lessons does.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read about 1,000 "self-help" books in the past 15 years. I can honestly say that this slim volume is the best book I've ever read on the importance of living in the now, of forgiving, of being truly present to your life DESPITE the inevitable trials we all face.
I cannot recommend this enough. I plan on buying this for everyon on my Christmas list because I thionk that these two have said, it and said it well.
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Format: Paperback
Life Lessons wrote by Elisabeth Kubler - Ross and David Kessler. In this book, the authors guide readers through the practical and spiritual lessons of everyday existence. It teaches us about the mysteries of life and living. Each chapter easily read and is presented as a lesson with a theme such as living authentically, dealing with anger, releasing guilt, facing fear and learning to surrender. The chapters are as powerful on their own as they are if we read them cover-to-cover. It is very useful for our live lives to its fullest.
First of all, this book is very easy to understand. The author used a lot of true examples of our lives to explain the definition of the live. For example, meet the car accident, gets the disease, and face the challenge, this situations usually happen and relate to us. The author gives us the advice how to reduce the mental obstructs. They shared their experiences how to deal with the death and dying. Second, in the book, it told us what the most important thing in our lives is. It's live life without regret, without fear, with inner peace. It helps us to set up the plan step by step to build our beautiful future. It helps us see that things happen for a reason. It really touches my emotional source. The author told us learning giving and receiving the love. From this viewpoint, we can realize love is the source of the happiness. Finally, learning forgiveness also is the important part of the book. That is the best way to heal wound.
In conclusion, this book is the best book I have read in a very long time. It is a gentle and inspiring book bent on helping the reader move to a more authentic life. I think this is a great book for the reader. Hopefully, you can enjoy this book and learn more life's experiences from it as me.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a big fan of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross for many years. I'm glad she hasn't passed on yet because she clearly has a lot to tell us still!! David Kessler's experiences add value to the book as well. The chapters are each written on a particular lesson: Time, Fear, Anger, Play, etc... and within each the authors "talk" about the lesson flowing back and forth between each other, presenting their own insights and personal accounts of friends, and patients.
This book is terrific if you are interested in learning about life. You will learn the key lessons from people who have been terribly sick or are terminally ill. They have much to teach, because as the book says.. They have nothing to lose anymore. Here is a quote from the section in the book on Patience...
"And remember that God and the universe are not ultimately just working on the situation: they're working on you. If you're wondering why the universe isn't soley focused on getting you the great job offer, it's because the universe isn't always concerned with which job you have. The picture is much bigger than your job. Neither is the universe always concerned whether or not you're married-it's more concerned with your experience of love than who is or is not in your life. And rather than focusing soley on your health, the universe is more concerned with your experience of life, whatever the conditions may be. The universe is concerned with who you are, and it will bring into your life, in whatever the situations, in whatever time, what you need to become the person you're supposed to be. The key lies in trusting-and having patience."
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