Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death / Edition 1

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Staring at the Sun

From the acclaimed author of the best-selling Love'sExecutioner, The Gift of Therapy, and When NietzscheWept comes an inspiring book that confronts the most demandingchallenge we all face: overcoming the terror of death.

Written in Irv Yalom's inimitable story-telling style, Staringat the Sun is a profoundly encouraging approach to the universalissue of mortality. In this magisterial opus, capping a lifetime ofwork and personal experience, Dr. Yalom helps us recognize that thefear of death is at the heart of much of our anxiety. Suchrecognition is often catalyzed by an "awakening experience"—adream, or loss (the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job orhome), illness, trauma, or aging.

Once we confront our own mortality, Dr. Yalom writes, we areinspired to rearrange our priorities, communicate more deeply withthose we love, appreciate more keenly the beauty of life, andincrease our willingness to take the risks necessary for personalfulfillment.

Filled with touching personal stories of people who aregrappling with the terror of death—including theauthor—Staring at the Sun offers specific methods to copewith terror and is ultimately life affirming. Most important, Dr.Yalom encourages us to strive for more direct engagement withothers. Compassionate connection, combined with the wisdom of thegreat thinkers who have wrestled with mortality, enables us toovercome the terror of death and lead happier, more meaningfullives.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
If death is indeed the last forbidden topic, it is one that haunts us as nothing else. In this ruminative book, Yalom, now in his mid-70s, grapples with the eternal conundrum of extinction with subtlety and grace, paying homage to writers, philosophers, and filmmakers by sprinkling their insights throughout his heartfelt meditation.
From the Publisher
"Philosophical it is, but never arid with theory. Its livelychapters are populated with patients whose raw angst Yalom refinesinto vignettes that are always enlightening and often quitemoving." (Washington Post, February 24, 2008)

The philosopher Martin Heidegger once remarked that we can liveintensely only if we stare death in the face every moment of ourlives. Bestselling psychiatrist Yalom (Love's Executioner)attempts to put this principle into practice in a sometimesthoughtful, often repetitious book. Drawing on literature and film,as well as conversations with his patients, Yalom demonstrates howthe fear of retirement, concerns about changing jobs or moving toanother city, or changes in family status (such as the empty nest)are rooted in our deepest, most inescapable fear: of death. Yet, hesays, this anxiety can prompt an awakening to life and help usrealize our connections to others and our influence on those aroundus. Through such experiences we can transcend our sense of“finiteness and transiency” and live in the here andnow. In a final chapter, Yalom offers instructions for therapistsseeking to help their patients overcome death anxiety. Although inthe 1980s Yalom, now 76, provided new insights into the humanpsyche with his innovative method of “existentialpsychotherapy,” this book recycles well-known philosophicalinsights, but Yalom's humane, calm voice may bring them to a newaudience. (Feb.) (Publishers Weekly, November 5,2007)

"Staring at the Sun is neither textbook nor mereself-help. Philosophical it is, but never arid with theory. Itslively chapters are populated with patients whose raw angst Yalomrefines into vignettes that are always enlightening and often quitemoving." — Washington Post

"So what to do about the dread of death? ... [Yalom's] keyprescriptions are true connections with others, a feeling one haslived well and "rippling" - having positive impacts and memorieslive on in others after you die. These deceptively obvious goalsare, obviously, not easily attained: What thinking and feelingperson truly lives a life with no regrets? But they are inarguablyworthwhile ones." — San Francisco Chronicle

Library Journal

Psychiatrist Yalom (emeritus, Stanford Univ. Sch. of Medicine) is noted for his stories (Love's Executioner), novels (When Nietzsche Wept), and writing on group and existential psychotherapy. As the only creatures with foreknowledge of death-what Yalom calls "the mother of all religions"-we humans must find or create meaning within the limits of our existence. Yalom uses examples from therapy sessions, dreams, his own encounters with death, and his exchanges and experiences with his mentors and teachers to engage the reader in a compelling conversation among equals. The chapter titles "The Power of Ideas," "The Awakening Experience," "Overcoming Death Terror Through Connection," and "Advice for Therapists" indicate his approach: viewing death's shadow can save us from despair without the consolation of religion. At 75, Yalom proves to be at the prime of life as a therapist, a writer, and a quotidian soul. For adults and mature teens and likely to be a classic in the area of serious self-help and psychology; an essential library purchase.
—E. James Lieberman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787996680
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/4/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 695,989
  • Product dimensions: 5.77 (w) x 8.43 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Irvin D. Yalom, M.D., is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine. The author of the definitive textbooks The Theory and Practice of Psychotherapy and Existential Psychotherapy, Dr. Yalom also wrote the New York Times best seller Love's Executioner and the international best-selling novel When Nietzsche Wept.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments.

Chapter 1. The Mortal Wound.

Chapter 2. Recognizing Death Anxiety.

Chapter 3. The Awakening Experience.

Chapter 4. The Power of Ideas.

Chapter 5. Overcoming Death Terror Through Connection.

Chapter 6. Death Awareness: A Memoir.

Chapter 7. Addressing Death Anxiety: Advice for Therapists.



About the Author.

A Reader’s Guide to Staring at the Sun.


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 11 of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2008

    Living in the moment

    This book helped me to live in the moment, and face the issue of my death. I bought a number of copies of this book to give to friends and relatives who have issues with death-don't we all?.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014


    The death stare o-o

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2014

    Not for anyone who beliec Nor for those who believe we have a soul or energy that lives on Not for anyone who believes we have a soul

    Good in many ways but does apply to the general populace unless you have no religion or spirituality while i do not believe in the christian view of heaven and hell and i do take more eastern view on death i still think the best book on death is a simple prose/art book called the next place i go simple and loving and peaceful

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013


    Guys i think Faith is locked out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013


    WAlkede in

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

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    Posted November 9, 2010

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    Posted December 2, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 11 of 12 Customer Reviews

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