An extraordinary book for anyone eager to understand the hidden motives that shape our lives.
We are all storytellers—we create stories to make sense of our lives. But it is not enough to tell tales. There must be someone to listen.
In his work as a practicing psychoanalyst, Stephen Grosz has spent the last twenty-five years uncovering the hidden feelings behind our most baffling behavior. The Examined Life distils more than 50,000 hours of conversation into pure psychological insight without the jargon.
This extraordinary book is about one ordinary process: talking, listening, and understanding. Its aphoristic and elegant stories teach us a new kind of attentiveness. They also unveil a delicate self-portrait of the analyst at work and show how lessons learned in the consulting room can reveal as much to the analyst as to the patient.
These are stories about our everyday lives: they are about the people we love and the lies we tell, the changes we bear and the grief. Ultimately, they show us not only how we lose ourselves but also how we might find ourselves.
About the Author
Stephen Grosz is a practicing psychoanalyst who has worked with patients for more than twenty-five years. Born in America, educated at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Oxford University, he now lives in London.
The Examined Life…. shares the best literary qualities of Freud’s most persuasive work. It is… an insightful and beautifully written book… a series of slim, piercing chapters that read like a combination of Chekhov and Oliver Sacks. [A] deeply affecting book.
— Michiko Kakutani - New York Times
Impossible to put down… it will leave you wiser about humanity than you were when you picked it up. — Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree
By turns edifying and moving. Grosz offers astute insights into the perplexities of everyday life. — Trisha Andres - Financial Times
Grosz’s vignettes are so brilliantly put together that they read like pieces of bare, illuminating fiction… utterly captivating. — Robert Collins - Sunday Times
Engaging, frank,and with many penetrating insights. His short, succinct chapters have both the tension and the satisfaction of miniature detective or mystery stories. — Michael Holroyd - The Spectator
Marvellous. After reading [Grosz's] absorbing accounts of his patients' journeys you might feel that The Examined Life ought to be given out free at birth.
— Melissa Katsoulis - The Times (UK)
[Grosz] compresses years of analysis into short chapters that feel like minimalist, suspenseful detective stories. At the end of each story, a secret is revealed; often, it’s a secret which you’ve also kept. — Joshua Rothman - The New Yorker
A beautifully written, affirmative, and nuanced account of a professional life in service to psychoanalytic healing… a work of exceptional grace. — Kimberlyn Leary - Psychoanalytic Psychology