U-Turn: What If You Woke Up One Morning and Realized You Were Living the Wrong Life?

U-Turn: What If You Woke Up One Morning and Realized You Were Living the Wrong Life?

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by Bruce Grierson
     
 

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In this impressively researched and incisive book, Bruce Grierson draws on over three hundred stories of so-called "U-turners," who have risked their livelihoods to answer a sudden wake-up call. We meet people who change political parties and careers, doctors who quit to become poets, men who become women, people who suddenly become revolutionaries for a cause they…  See more details below

Overview

In this impressively researched and incisive book, Bruce Grierson draws on over three hundred stories of so-called "U-turners," who have risked their livelihoods to answer a sudden wake-up call. We meet people who change political parties and careers, doctors who quit to become poets, men who become women, people who suddenly become revolutionaries for a cause they didnt care about the day before. In chapters that address everything from the neuroscience behind epiphanies to the possibility of "forcing" a U-turn, Grierson brilliantly describes and elucidates this powerful, mysterious phenomenon, and in doing so illuminates all of our continual struggles with life choices and identity.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A Canadian journalist (Culture Jam) takes an informed look at people who suddenly, dramatically transform their lives. Grierson offers scores of examples, such as Virgil Butler, who had earned his living slaughtering chickens at a Tyson plant. After he started dating an animal lover, he quit his job, became a vegetarian and now runs an animal rights Web site. Many of the epiphanies were of a religious nature, either toward or away from spirituality. Anwah Shaikh, a Pakistani fundamentalist Muslim, killed several Sikhs after seeing the mutilated bodies of Muslims around the time Pakistan gained independence. Reading the Qur'an one day, he suddenly found one passage troubling and began reading the text more critically; he turned away from Islam and wrote a critique of the Qur'an. Several tales recount political shifts, such as Michael Lind's abandonment of conservatism after being disgusted by Pat Buchanan's speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention. This is a nuanced and informative investigation that speculates but does not reach final conclusions about why some make U-turns in life and others do not. Grierson suggests that most changers are middle-class white males (who have the greatest freedom to make such changes) with a degree of sensitivity and idealism. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

Grierson (coauthor, Culture Jam), who writes for the periodical Adbustersand has been nominated for several Canadian National Magazine awards, is a wise observer of many widely divergent aspects of popular culture. Here he turns his attention to people who have dramatically changed the direction of their lives. Although he tries to categorize these "wake-up calls" under such rubrics as "The Kandinsky Decision," evolution, revolution, epiphany, and paradigm shift, the differences do not seem distinct. The book is really a series of brief descriptions of fascinating and usually high-profile people explaining how and why they changed direction in life. Interesting as they are, these stories become repetitious and are recounted rather than examined in any depth, which leaves the reader hungry for a more sophisticated consideration of the subject. However, with so many baby boomers facing middle age and retirement and the consequent introspection, there is a large audience for this book. Larger public libraries will want to add it to their pop psychology collection.
—Fran Mentch Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

From the Publisher

“Once a staple of the American Dream, change and rebirth are increasingly derided as dangerous or silly, a manifestation of a life "crisis." In his fascinating, balanced, thoroughly researched and readable look at the "U-Turn," Bruce Grierson gives this phenomenon its due. His view of the "wake-up call" as the secular equivalent of the religious epiphany is brilliant. U-turns are not always good or beneficial, but almost always significant, frequently life-altering. This book is essential for anyone contemplating meaningful change.” —Jon Katz, author of Running to the Mountain and A Good Dog

U-Turn is a very smart, grounded, wise, well-written and important book. Using compelling human-scale stories, Bruce Grierson explores the dynamics involved in making major life-changes. The result is not only a fascinating study of other people's lives. Here is a map that offers guidance to anyone tempted to take a detour en route to who-knows-where.” —Parker J. Palmer, author of A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, and The Courage to Teach

“Grierson has pulled together a remarkable collection of tales of dramatic personal transformation, in which people appear to make sudden u-turns in their lives. These mysterious epiphanies challenge our fundamental beliefs about human nature and the stability of human personality. In this engaging book, Grierson examines how and why people undergo profound changes in thought and action, providing surprising insights into the human condition along the way. A very enjoyable read.” —Todd F. Heatherton, Champion International Professor, Dartmouth College

“Rarely can a writer capture the complex and often times inchoate process of change, whether on a large sweeping scale, or at the level on which a single individual lives his or her life. In this book, however, Bruce Grierson has accomplished just such a feat, illuminating for the reader the basic who what why and where's of the sudden shifts few of us have the courage to make. U-Turn is a map of transformation; it tells the extraordinary tales of individuals who have made extraordinary, Kierkegardian leaps of faith, leaps accompanied with Kierkegardian anxiety, which makes the leapers only braver, and that much more inspiring. You can read this book for the tales it tells, for the inspiration it imparts, or for the knowledge it so generously gives.” —Lauren Slater, author of Opening Skinner's Box and Welcome to My Country

author of Opening Skinner's Box and Welcome to My Lauren Slater
Rarely can a writer capture the complex and often times inchoate process of change, whether on a large sweeping scale, or at the level on which a single individual lives his or her life. In this book, however, Bruce Grierson has accomplished just such a feat, illuminating for the reader the basic who what why and where's of the sudden shifts few of us have the courage to make. U-Turn is a map of transformation; it tells the extraordinary tales of individuals who have made extraordinary, Kierkegardian leaps of faith, leaps accompanied with Kierkegardian anxiety, which makes the leapers only braver, and that much more inspiring. You can read this book for the tales it tells, for the inspiration it imparts, or for the knowledge it so generously gives.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596917958
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
12/01/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Bruce Grierson has been nominated for eight Canadian National MagazineAwards, and is the coauthor of Culture Jam. He lives in Vancouver with his wife and daughter.

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