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Publisher's Summary

Irvin D. Yalom has made a career of investigating the lives of others. In Becoming Myself, his long-awaited memoir, he turns his therapeutic eye on himself, delving into the relationships that shaped him and the groundbreaking work that made him famous.

The first-generation child of immigrant Russian Jews, Yalom grew up in a lower-class neighbourhood in Washington, DC. Determined to escape its confines, he set his sights on becoming a doctor. An incredible ascent followed: we witness his start at Stanford Medical School amid the cultural upheavals of the 1960s, his turn to writing fiction as a means of furthering his exploration of the human psyche and his rise to international prominence.

Yalom recounts his revolutionary work in group psychotherapy and how he became the foremost practitioner of existential psychotherapy, a method that draws on the wisdom of great thinkers over the ages. He reveals the inspiration for his many seminal books, including Love's Executioner and When Nietzche Wept, which meld psychology and philosophy to arrive at arresting new insights into the human condition.

Interweaving the stories of his most memorable patients with personal tales of love and regret, Becoming Myself brings listeners close to Yalom's therapeutic technique, his writing process and his family life.

©2017 Irvin Yalom (P)2017 Little, Brown Book Group

Critic Reviews

"When Yalom publishes something - anything - I buy it, and he never disappoints. He's an amazing storyteller, a gorgeous writer, a great, generous, compassionate thinker, and - quite rightly - one of the world's most influential mental healthcare practitioners." (Nicola Barker, Guardian Best Books of 2017)
"Wonderful, compelling and as insightful about its subject and about the times he lived in as you could hope for. A fabulous read." (Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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One of his best books!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommended it to everyone. After listening to this audiobook, I feel inspired to go back and listen to all his previous books again.

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  • Nze kkuc akabusi
  • 11-01-17

Another Fabulous Piece of Work by Yalom

Just love it, it’s probably best if you have read most of his other work as he makes plenty of references there too. If so it is great to get his exposition and critical view. I am impressed that he keeps so close to his view of life after life, (the void, dark abyss, nothingness) the state of eternal unconsciousness experienced once before we entered this brief light of day. I get the sense at 85, this is his farewell, the ending of is quiet emotional and the culmination of many hints throughout this book. I did love the Nietzsche quote at the end wishing for eternal reoccurrence, and I felt the Yalom twinkle of the eye, and thought ...”you Rascal, so there is a little hope in you that Epicurus is wrong and a light might shine in the darkness!” Either way the rippling is definitely confirmed for a century or so before the last flicker is known no more. I certainly will remember Yalom for the rest of my days. Thank you 😊

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Roberto Miguel
  • 01-01-18

Thank you Irvin.

This book is my first encounter with Irvin’s work, and I could not thank him enough. It is like a met someone that will be my friend for life. So much wisdon and honesty in his words. What a man, what a life and what a book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Abz
  • 11-02-17

I was brought to tears at the end!

A fabulous overview of Yalom' s journey and his honest reflection of life events. One of my favourite books this year

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen Oberheim
  • 04-03-18

Very interesting and entertaining

Some great anecdotes and very interesting and informative too. Sentimental parts were touching but I couldn't help feeling a sense of self-riteousness from the author. Perhaps this is due to his fame and is inevitable. Or perhaps the opposite is true. Who knows?!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-26-18

Life Changing.

Never has a book spoke to me on such a level. The way I view certain issues and lifes challenges will never be the same. I'm certain I will be reading all of Yalom's other works in the very near future.

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  • douglas
  • 03-23-18

poignant psychological biography by a world class

I loved this intimate portrait of a world class therapeutic genius. Well read too. If you want to understand his works more then read this.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-14-18

A gentle life story of psychotherapy

I enjoyed this book and it brought up some interesting questions and reflections particularly around ideas of death. It has alot of personal details about the author which were enjoyable and provide context to the topics discussed however they do make up a significant proportion of the book and therefore at time the message is somewhat drawn out. An enjoyable, slightly meandering read for me.

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  • John Sharpe
  • 02-26-18

A Well Lived Life with Valuable Lessons

An excellent life story with many invitations for deep self examination. My first introduction to Yalom but I look forward to exploring the rest of his work. I am a kinder, gentler soul having read this book.

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  • Marion F.S.
  • 02-25-18

Worthwhile. A door-opener to literature and psychotherapy.

At times I felt as though I was revisiting “Gilead” by M. Robinson. - The voice of someone from a different generation and of the opposite gender took on a timeless, poetic tone, deeply relatable. At times I grew restless listening; I confess I rarely read memoirs, and when I do they are often political. But then I regretted that restlessness and felt grateful and inspired to pick-up other books Yalom mentions having been influential in his life. As a bonus I came to respect and admire Yaloms wife - another writer to explore.
Though I find psychology deeply interesting, I am “just” a general reader and had not read anything by Yalom before. I realise now that I recognise the titles of several of his books and am glad that I now have the background of having listened to his memoir before picking them up. It will add an extra dimension, I am certain. Being introduced to literature opens doors. This memoir opens many doors.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-21-17

Just lovely

My first ever audio book and I couldn't imagine starting with anything else. As a newly qualified psychotherapist, I place a lot of trust in yalom's writing and this, his ultimate story, is heartwarming, educational and funny. Really entertaining but a bit like a guide on how to live a good life. Except this bit in medical school, where he admitted that he wasn't the best of husbands or fathers.