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Showing 1-10 of 103 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 167 reviews
on August 13, 2017
This book was quoted in another book I just finished reading and I downloaded a sample first. Before I finished the sample, I bought the book. I was recently sick and had no medical diagnosis to my symptoms. An intense fear of death and dying arose several times during my sickness. Two such episodes were so powerful, I felt consumed by fear of dying daily. I wouldn't let myself go to sleep on some nights. When I started reading this book, I first was scared even more. All this death talk!! However, I could not stop reading! I was obsessed with reading more and just dealt with the fear. Now, that I've finished the book, I feel so much more peace, relief that there are many, countless, people who have felt what I have been feeling. That my fears are natural progression in life and not death premonitions. I really like the questions in the Afterward and will go back over time to answer these for myself and write them down. Thank you Dr. Yalom.
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on December 10, 2016
Should be recommended reading for everyone! Brilliant discussion of the topic, and ultimately comforting!
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on May 18, 2016
One of the best books I have read. Essentially, it helps you deal with issues you might have regarding death. If you have death anxiety which does not let you get rid of some things in the back of your mind then you should take a look. The book reads from the point of view of a therapist who has dedicated time to help people get rid of their fear of death. Not a boring read. Therapy for a cheap price.
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on December 12, 2016
Understanding the truth about our mortality is the best way to lead a more authentic and meaningful life. Dr. Yalom, with his personal stories and professional psychiatric case histories, addresses this simple but terrifying reality with grace, humor, and brilliance!
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on May 4, 2017
This book... if I had only had it much sooner in my life. Probably the first time in my life I would call one book profound. I highly recommend it and its hard to put down. What a gift.
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on November 21, 2009
Well, this is something Aaron Beck missed out. (According to Wikipedia he is 88. He was frail and seemed to have some age-related cognitive decline when I saw a training video of him a few years ago). "I'm going to die one day:" why wasn't that listed as a core belief? Maybe because it's true. Positive thinking is my number one CBT pet hate.

I remember an early, childhood realization that I was going to die one day. I noticed that you (children) had baby teeth, then adult teeth, then false teeth, then, then you died. One of my children fears dying. Don't know about the others. My father has great religious faith and he still fears dying.

This book/CD is good for the therapist and good for everyone else, too. I'd get the CD over the book to save the time reading it. I have not checked, but I do not think that it is read by the author, but is read by someone who does voice work.
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VINE VOICEon January 27, 2008
I was looking for a secular humanist book on death that would be helpful to an 89 year old friend. It's a tall order to expect existential explanations to compete with the solace offered by the heaven myth that I don't believe a word of. This book fits the bill quite well, but only in the last half. The first half is geared toward those of any age who have anxieties that prevent them from living a full life. At the root of these anxieties, the author asserts, is the fear of death. Yalon uses dream therapy in search of an "awakening event." Sounds a lot like being born again, but I can see how it might be effective. Whatever helps therapy is worth trying.

My previous attitude about dreams was this: Dreams result from the temporary suspension of brain pattern organization during sleep. The normal inhibitory mechanisms that keep thoughts correctly channelled during wakefulness don't function and all bets are off. Randomness prevails and there's no telling what will emerge. The dreamer may end up in a bar on Mars talking to a shaggy dog that reminds him of the cow his aunt's neighbor (from Iowa) once had, while getting a haircut from a one-eyed Rastafarian.

As the same time, dreams do recur in a person, suggesting significance. The general pattern of fleeing from some danger but never quite being caught is widespread among different people - I suppose even in different cultures. Both of these patterns escape the randomness that was the essence of my theory.

The (self-described) aging author admits to facing end of life issues himself. Chapter four recruits help from Epicurus, Neitzsche, and many other philosophers. Chapter five is a beautiful essay about escaping the loneliness of death through connections with people, definitely worth passing on (oops, bad word) to my friend. The remaining chapters follow suit. This is an excellent book for those who acknowledge that the conventional view of an afterlife is a myth - instead, your legacy consists of the ripple effects you leave on those you touched during your brief tour on earth. Highly recommended.
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on July 20, 2015
I've never read a book on this subject before, but not for avoiding the topic. I contemplate, not obsess over Death daily. On my own I have discovered what one should do. Near the end I want a sense of peace (think the new Star Trek Spock, actor Zachary Quinto, convinced he will die inside the volcano. On his knees, he closes his eyes, raises his palms upward and waits). That's how I want to go. Dignity at the end would be good, but that is problematic if you have rubber sheets on your bed.

The author conveys his therapeutic approach to "death anxiety" in a straightforward and common sense manner. No sugar-coating and yet his techniques are quite empathetic. Dr. Yalom is not the type who would say "cancer is an opportunity," and based on his personal beliefs he leaves religion out of the equation altogether.

What surprises most is the number of people in the book (case studies) who seem to have spent little or no time contemplating their own mortality only to confront some crisis or memory or loss or illness and suddenly are obsessed with the Grim Reaper. This is not to belittle their pain and suffering.

Yalom makes extensive use of classical literature in philosophy and psychiatry (e.g., Epicurus, Freud). He mentions Nietchze's theory of eternal recurrence. If we are unconscious of the nothingness, at least the mental and physical pain will end.

Dr. Yalom concludes in his Afterword "...raw death terror can be scaled down to everyday manageable anxiety. Staring into the face of death, with guidance, not only quells terror but render life more poignant, more precious, more vital. Such an approach to death leads to instruction about life.. To that end I have focused on how to diminish death terror as well as how to identify and make use of awakening experiences." That is the essence of his message.
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on June 7, 2017
Less wonderfully written than Yalom's previous works, this one is still endearingly reassuring. It's more of a how-to, but interestingly no less affecting for that. If you can get yourself to start it, you'll finish it feeling better. And knowing how to treat yourself, because you'll have started while reading.
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on June 27, 2017
not sure my mom liked it.
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