©1993 Dr. James Hollis; (P)2004 BMA Studios
"With a calm tone and a friendly voice, Hollis leads listeners through this perilous period and advises on ways to negotiate it." (AudioFile)
For those of you who had a perfect upbringing and are now surrounded by understanding and supportive friends and family and feel perfect contentment, this book may not be of value. But for the rest of us, it's priceless. Hollis reassures that discontent and confusion at midlife is not only normal, they are opportunities to enter a necessary phase of maturation. And for those of us who, because of acculturation, find ourselves and our impulses particularly challenging in this "dark forest" (to quote Dante), James Hollis provides a map, a flashlight, and breadcrumbs enough to find the trailhead.
I'm in my early fifties, and have always taken self-help type books with a grain of salt. But for the most part this was a rational and logical explanation of the psychological changes we progress through as we age. I had quite a few 'ah-ha moments.'
I think most anyone 40+ yrs old would get something out of this, but particularly those with a less than ideal upbringing. It's sobering to know how long a dysfunctional background affects you all through life, something I was well aware of before listening to this audio book.
The author talks about a 'second adulthood' we experience later in life, and in doing so he put a name to what I have been experiencing myself during the past few years. Namely, yet another layer of the onion being peeled back in an effort to live an authentic life with less baggage.
The narrator/author is a psychologist, after all, so don't expect a lively telling. But the sound quality is good and the substance even better, so personally I wasn't put off by that. It's deep stuff, so I found myself listening to it a little at a time so that I could digest it all.
Whether you have arrived at a turning point in your life due to a traumatic event or are just looking for ways to relieve a gnawing sense of boredom, this book is for you. Dr. Hollis does an eloquent job of explaining where we are on the map of life while not making the reader feel like everything up to this point has been a mistake. His descriptions of the ruts, pitfalls and misconceptions that we sometimes all face encourage the reader to more closely examine his/her past from new perspectives. His examples from case studies are relevant and nicely integrated with the narrative of each psychological theory. He identifies the milestones on the road to our second adulthood in a way that is encouraging while still emphasizing that true change does not come easy.
I have read all James Hollis's books, being an avid Jungian scholar, but I found him reading this book, particularly useful. I have learnt so much over the last few weeks, listening to it. Not everyone will enjoy this book though - if you are unable to reflect soberly on your life and childhood, you won't be able to recognise how much of your childhood you are still reflecting in your middle years.
Now I just need Audible to make What Matters Most available to current members. It is a book that you can get when you join, but I can't find it on the site, and have contacted them repeatedly about it, with no results. A friend of mine joined last night to get this new member offer, but when he had joined, the book was suddenly nowhere to be found.
Perhaps this review will be read and taken note of.
I am a documentary film producer from Los Angeles.
When I was 37 I quit my entrepreneurial career to become a film director.
The world thought I was "LA-LA" and at times I thought the same. THis is the book that made me understand my path. I read it twice in the last 2 weeks and I feel I just scrached the surface.
My wife, an avid Jungien, stole my IPOD to listen since her's broke down.
Now we can talk Jung for the first time...
I'm still listening to it. I keep going back over thing Dr Hollis says as it seems to reasonable and worthy to skim over. I need to hear it again and again to make sure it sinks in. This is advice and depth of emotional knowledge at it's best.
I love that it's the man himself reading to us.
I love the section on projection. It gives me a clearer understanding of why we sometimes can't help ourselves become free of the stuff that keeps us locked into patterns of damage and sadness.
A wonderful book.
Authors grasp of myth and story. Of how depression or losing one's way is both suffering
and possibility; humiliation and salvation.
His use of poetry and literature to help the listener better understand the inner journey of discovering and living a more meaningful life.
His passion and warmth. Yet, a calmness of experience.
That if one can endure and engage one's own life, change is possible.
This book was assigned for a graduate level psychology course on lifespan development. It was red by the author, and was a fantastic overview of the mid-life passage, which drew on poetry and literary works, and was very well done.
A nicely put together guide book for those in crisis. An excellent narration by the author.
Considered unpacking of Jungian concepts.
Stay calm and listen to yourself.
Recommended for those who are disgruntled, depressed or confused in midlife.
I enjoyed the content of this book, and I liked the various anecdotes and illustrations. However, it is fairly heavy on the Jungian concepts and jargon, so at times it seemed rather abstract and hard to follow on an audio basis.
Also, the narrator has an even, expression-less style that perhaps is useful because it conveys no judgment -- but it also conveys no excitement or interest. Indeed, my player (the Audible app for iPhone) would go right from one chapter into the next without even a pause.
Perhaps would be better to read in print?
"The Middle Passage"
One of my favourite books now read by the author, who is warm and human. This book was a life line for me and is now like a friend on my ipod. Delightful.
This is a great book. It's such a pleasure to listen to a complete masterpiece such as this. If you are a bit on the clever side and are looking for something intelligent to get your teeth into at the same time as enlightening yourself about midlife, this is the book for you. It's full of poetry and literature as well as indirect guidance for those suffering the traumas and depression that come with a midlife crisis. This book really has changed the whole way I look at things and dragged me out of a dark place. It's given me hope and also motivation to look forward in a way that I never considered before. For the first time I think that the second half of my life could actually be better than the first half!
"THE MIDDLE PASSAGE"
I was disappointed in this book as it came highly recommended. I found it monotonus and somewhat boring. If you are looking for something along the same lines, I would recommend Dale Carnegies book on Worrying as it is a far more intriguing book. Unfortunately for me The Middle Passage was a let down.
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