The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves

The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves

by Stephen Grosz
The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves

The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves

by Stephen Grosz


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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. A moving collection of short, personal encounters between a psychoanalyst and his patients, The Examined Life reveals how the art of insight can illuminate the most complicated, confounding, and human of experiences. Ultimately, these stories show us not only how we love ourselves but how we might find ourselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393349320
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 05/12/2014
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 370,555
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

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.

Table of Contents

Preface xi


How we can be possessed by a story that cannot be told 1

On laughter 11

How praise can cause a loss of confidence 18

The gift of pain 23

A safe house 28

Telling Lies

On secrets 39

On not being in a couple 44

A passion for ignorance 55

On intimacy 63

The bigger the front 67


At home 73

How paranoia can relieve suffering and prevent a catastrophe 81

On the recovery of lost feelings 86

Why parents envy their children 91

On wanting the impossible 96

On hate 101

How lovesickness keeps us from love 109


How a fear of loss can cause us to lose everything 121

How negativity prevents our surrender to love 125

On losing a wallet 130

A change in the family 136

Why we lurch from crisis to crisis 141

On being boring 146

On mourning the future 151

How anger can keep us from sadness 158

On being a patient 167

Going back 179

On bearing death 189


Through silence 199

On closure 206

On waking from a dream 211

Sources and Notes 217

Acknowledgements 223

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