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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.
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With deceptive simplicity and gentle wisdom, Grosz teases out a lesson or chases down a fugitive insight. I have distrusted psychoanalysis for years, but I would leap onto Grosz’s couch - The Sunday Times Books of the Year
Grosz is a superb storyteller and tells lots of his patients' stories with sensitivity, but also with great acuity. You might keep thinking you recognise things about people you know - Evening Standard
A wonderful example of a book that provides a safe space that can be used as a base to explore the less safe - Guardian
Absolutely fascinating. You’ll be amateur psychoanalysing yourself and everyone you know - Independent on Sunday
It made me stop and think, and it has stayed with me. Grosz is a superb storyteller and tells lots of his patients' stories with sensitivity, but also with great acuity. You might keep thinking you recognise things about people you know - Scotsman
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
A gripping series of tales - Psychologies
The Examined Life is a series of case studies from psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz's 25-year career. They fizz and shimmer with the tension of the finest short story. But they also have a profound vision of the world, which, however distorted it is, makes me examine my own - UK Press Syndication
So significant that it should be read by absolutely everyone... A masterpiece of observation and empathy - Upcoming
[Illuminates] the dark recesses of human behaviour with clarity and humanity - Good Book Guide
Fascinating… Sincere - Psychologist
Far and away the best non-fiction book this year - Huffington Post UK (Blog)
Crystal-clear and completely magical…The Examined Life is a book full of troubles, but also of wonders - Mail on Sunday
[Grosz's accounts] are shaped like short stories, but true and moving in ways that fiction cannot be […] distilled through long examination into finely crafted literary form… - Observer
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
'Grosz] writes lucidly and with sensitivity… sprinkled with wise reflections… A gem… highly recommended - The Independent
[A] fine and moving book… It is a true literary work and a very modern one… - Jewish Chronicle
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
By turns edifying and moving… Grosz offers astute insights into the perplexities of everyday life - Financial 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
Engaging, frank, and with many penetrating insights. His short, succinct chapters have both the tension and the satisfaction of miniature detective or mystery stories… A stimulating book. - The Spectator
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
Intensely readable… As a reminder of the strangeness of human existence, the myriad ways we find of making ourselves unhappy and the perplexing resourcefulness of the unconscious mind, Grosz’s book is a worthwhile addition to the literature of the examined life. - New Statesman
Written with real elegance and a strong sense of structure… several chapters read like powerful short stories - Readers Digest
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 is an able writer, engaging, frank and with many penetrating insights. His short, succinct chapters have both the tension and the satisfaction of miniature detective or mystery stories… a stimulating book - Spectator
[These] interpretations make fascinating reading, leave you marvelling at the ingenuity of the human subconscious. Grosz’s message is always affirming: if a person can work out what it is that’s driving them, it is possible to change - The Scotsman
Grosz’s narrative is by turns edifying and moving...tempered by his engaging prose and moments of humour - The Financial Times
Modest and profound - Observer
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.