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The Story of Your Life: Becoming the Author of Your Experience Paperback – June 20, 1997
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Every life is a story, says Mandy Aftel. We tell the stories of our lives to friends and neighbors, on job interviews and blind dates, at slumber parties and in therapy. Too often, though, the stories we tell -- and live -- are cliches, simplistic tales of blame, guilt, hopelessness, and anger that limit our understanding of the past and close off possibilities for the future.
But the story of your life doesn't have to read like bad fiction. In this tremendously original and insightful book, Aftel shows how we can assume authorship, revising trite or destructive story lines and crafting new narratives of courage, fulfillment, imagination, and unfolding potential. Filled with imaginative exercises for rethinking and rewriting your life story! Highly recommended. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
If ever you've wondered how some people can describe their lives as the same dilemmas, year after year, you'll understand after reading this insightful book. Using the metaphor of "Stories", Ms. Aftel illustrates how our lives are dramas lived out each day by us as actors and written each day by us as self-authors. While this is not the first written work to depict life as a story, it is one of the most thorough in illustrating how we consciously or unconsciously, explicitly or implicitly, pre-define our lives with the story-like reality-perceptions we choose to adopt.
Where one might opt to use their "story" as a tool for understanding their history, the most significant opportunities are for "self-authoring" our present and future. Understanding our stories is a first step--a powerful first step. Using our understanding of our own and others people's stories for designing our future empowers us to live fuller, happier, healthier lives.
This book is also beautifully written. While there are well grounded ideas within every page, the book reads like an interactive fireside conversation. The author skillfully weaves her own experiences into the powerful examples and scenarios. While Ms. Aftel never quite admits that any of the painful experiences are hers, we can all hear her pain in some of the written words. Not to be dismayed, the book shines a very positive and optimistic picture...we are each able to author our own lives, recognize our own plots and craft our own stories.
This book deserves its five stars.
Working on the superb exercises given in this book is not a substitute therapy for major psychiatric problems. Such interrventions are not within the scope of this book, abd the author does not make such claims either. But I find this book valuable in facilitating therapy for those who are in therapy with a competent therapist. I have taught and practiced psychology for nearly forty years, of which 25 years were spent in the Psychiatric Departments of the University of Chicago and the Northwestern University. I lead a Psycho-oncology program in a suburb of Chicago where I include Aftel's writing the Story of Your Life as part of the therapy protocol. I strongly recommend a five star rating for this book.
Whether you're an old time self-helper or new to the idea of being in control of your life, Mandy Aftel's book will offer you a fun and inspiring way to view the people and events in your life as a story...and give you the tools to reframe the players and ultimately be in control of your destiny as the author of your life.
You will begin to identify the heroes, supporting actors, foils and Cruella DeVilles in your life as well as recognize the roles you play with different people and different situations in your life.
The Story of Your Life is an easy and really enjoyable read. It will particularly appeal to writers and storytellers as well as fan's of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey.
The book reinforces individual responsibility and creativity. To suggest, as one of the review postings here does, that the book is pseudotherapy and analogous to boundary confusion and sex with a patient is outrageous. It also suggests that the critic's agenda has addled his (or her) rational faculties. Such logic condemns every form of self-enpowerment as somehow preventing needed treatment and requires complete adherence to a concept of therapuetic dependency, rather than indvidual expression. This is a book about enpowerment through creativity. Read the book. Better yet, practice its exercises.