Bite Studio - Visual Editor
Random House Speakers

The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves

Stephen Grosz

(Enlarge Image)

Published by Vintage, part of Vintage Publishing

Format: Paperback


Buy now

This book is also available as:


Available for dispatch within 1-2 working days


EAN: 9780099549031
Published: 2 Jan 2014


About the book


A Sunday Times bestseller

Longlisted for the Guardian first book award

A Radio 4 Book of the Week

This book is about learning to live.

In simple stories of encounter 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.

These are stories about our everyday lives: they are about the people we love and the lies that we tell; the changes we bear, and the grief. Ultimately, they show us not only how we lose ourselves but how we might find ourselves too.

Recommend this book

Add your recommendation

Only registered users can recommend books. Please use the buttons below to either create a new account, or sign-in to an existing account.

Register here or Sign in here


What the critics say

I was enthralled… profound and moving, packed large ideas into a slim volume
- Observer Books of the Year

This moving book of patient portraits by the psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz will make the reader think of Freud’s keenly observed and literary-minded case studies. Writing with sympathy and insight, Mr Grosz distils 25 years of work into a series of slim, piercing chapters that read like a combination of Chekhov and Oliver Sacks
- New York Times

The success of The Examined Life by the psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz has, I think, relatively little to do with his clinical know-how; it rests, as Freud's did, on his story-telling abilities
- Observer

A wonderful example of a book that provides a safe space that can be used as a base to explore the less safe
- Guardian

Riveting... Grosz is adept at uncovering the little lies we tell ourselves and he's very perceptive about the potentially positive effects of bad experiences
- Daily Telegraph

Because of [Grosz's] skill at getting to the heart of the matter, we forget the distance separating us and become quickly involved in the lives of those he discusses
- Mail on Sunday

One of the many attributes of a good psychoanalyst is restraint, and Stephen Grosz's first book puts it to graceful, literary use
- Observer

Grosz strikes the right balance of professional detachment and compassion, coupled with humility and self-awareness... The most helpful book I have read in recent months
- Lady

A captivating journey... These are universal themes, insights into an emotional world we inhabit, often with equal difficulty. A wonderful book
- Sunday Times

The Examined Life is a fascinating and original read. It is inspirational and shows how we can learn more about ourselves by exploring our subconscious thoughts and beliefs
- Sunday Mail

[Illuminates] the dark recesses of human behaviour with clarity and humanity
- Good Book Guide

Thoughtful and surprisingly addictive
- Metro

Grosz’s vignettes are so brilliantly put together that they read like pieces of bare, illuminating fiction. . . utterly captivating
- Sunday Times

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
- The 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
- The Spectator

By turns edifying and moving…Grosz offers astute insights into the perplexities of everyday life
- Financial Times

Grosz’s message is always affirming…it is possible to change
- The Scotsman

Excellent… Every one of these case histories bears repeating. All offer worthwhile insights
- Guardian

Intelligent, human and deeply moving
- Sunday Express

[A] fine and moving book… It is a true literary work and a very modern one…
- Jewish Chronicle

That rarest of pleasures: a book I loved, and could recommend to almost anyone
- Asylum blog

Enlightening…full of wisdom and insight
- Metro

Beautifully unadorned writing... He paints a vivid portrait of his patients
- Sunday Business Post

A rare insight into the life of the psychoanalyst… succeeds in making complex behavioural issues accessible for any reader
- Irish Times

Exquisitely written casebook
- Vantage NW Magazine

The suspense in each chapter is so expert that I had to double check that this wasn’t a work of fiction. Best of all, Grosz manages to give a jargon-free account of how psychoanalysis works
- The Week

Grosz's vignettes are so brilliantly put together that they read like pieces of bare illuminating fiction... It is this combination of tenacious detective work, remarkable compassion and sheer, unending curiosity for the oddities of the human heart that makes these stories utterly captivating.
- Sunday Times

Brilliant…. Grosz is a superb writer, yes, but it is the stories his patients tell him that really make you marvel. An elegant, jargon-free expedition into the secret business of our minds written with such wisdom and kindness… After reading [Grosz’s] absorbing accounts of his patients’ journeys you might feel that The Examined Life out to be given out free at birth
- The Times

A fine and moving book... The tact, patience and understatement, which are particular components of Grosz’s wisdom, remind the reader that this writer’s insights and empathy result from thousand of hours with patients. This book is not polemical literature… nor is it an academic work or a popular self-help book. It is a true literary work and a very modern one.
- Jewish Chronicle

Crystal-clear and completely magical...The Examined Life is a book full of troubles, but also of wonders: it shows people trapped by their own mysterious impulses, searching for an escape hatch, and often finding it
- Daily Mail

Five star review - an intelligent, human and deeply moving book… Grosz is listening for the unspoken and the gaps in between. His book celebrates change and the triumphs and tragedies of humanity
- Sunday Express

Excellent… this book arrives like a box of chocolates. Thirty-one elegantly presented chapters which, when you bite into them, each reveals something sweet, rich or crunchy. Every one of these case histories bears repeating. All offer worthwhile insights.
- The Guardian

Grosz writes lucidly and with sensitivity, treating his patients with respect. The cases are sprinkled with wise reflections... highly recommended
- Independent

There are many sage lessons here, backed up by research where necessary…fascinating… Grosz writes lucidly and with sensitivity, treating his patients with respect. The cases are sprinkled with wise reflections…highly recommended
- Independent

Written with real elegance and a strong sense of structure… several chapters read like powerful short stories
- Readers Digest

Elegantly structured and written… Grosz’s book is intensely readable
- New Statesmen

Shaped like short stories, but true and moving in ways that fiction cannot be... Gradually accumulating through his book, Grosz provides, not a definition, but an enactment of the purpose of psychoanalysis, which is both modest and profound.
- Observer

Grosz’s narrative is by turns edifying and moving...tempered by his engaging prose and moments of humour
- The Financial Times

I couldn't put this down—I read about other people, but learned about myself at the same time. Real stories can be so much more fascinating than fictional ones, especially with Stephen Grosz. No preaching, no clichés—just wisdom.
- Victoria Hislop

About the Author

Stephen Grosz is a practicing psychoanalyst - he has worked with patients for more than twenty-five years. Born in America, he was educated at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Oxford University, and now lives in London. The Examined Life has been translated into more than twenty languages and was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.


Stephen Grosz

More about Stephen Grosz

PageId: 125334 UserId: 5
This website makes use of cookies. See our Privacy Policy for more information.