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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling writer and psychotherapist Irvin D. Yalom puts himself on the couch in a lapidary memoir

Irvin D. Yalom has made a career of investigating the lives of others. In this profound memoir, he turns his writing and his therapeutic eye on himself. He opens his story with a nightmare: He is 12 and is riding his bike past the home of an acne-scarred girl. Like every morning, he calls out, hoping to befriend her, "Hello Measles!" But in his dream, the girl's father makes Yalom understand that his daily greeting had hurt her. For Yalom, this was the birth of empathy; he would not forget the lesson. As Becoming Myself unfolds, we see the birth of the insightful thinker whose books have been a beacon to so many. This is not simply a man's life story; Yalom's reflections on his life and development are an invitation for us to reflect on the origins of our own selves and the meanings of our lives.

©2017 Irvin D. Yalom (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Fans of this eloquent and introspective author will welcome this innermost chronicle of his history, passions, and the keys to unlocking a fruitful life." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Irv Yalom is the psychiatrist who thinks like a philosopher and writes like the fine novelist he also happens to be. Becoming Myself delivers not only the engrossing story of one exceptional individual's life. It shines with revelations regarding life as it ought to be lived." (Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • James
  • Salem, VA, United States
  • 11-26-17

excellent capstone to a life well lived

It helps, but not essential to have read most if not all of his previous exceptional books. Dr. Yalom, or rather, Irv, reviews how his books were conceived in addition to how he became himself. Yalom has shaped my career as a psychiatrist and individual group therapist more than any other writer. I don't want to accept that this has to be his last book. I found myself weeping in the privacy of my. back yard when it ended, being fairly sure, though not absolutely certain, that I would live my life the same...with Dr. Yalom as a mentor.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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What an amazing life led by Yalom

I loved every minute of this book and it was especially special on audio. Great narration.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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One of the best autobiographies ever

As a therapist in training, this was invaluable. This was my first Yalom book and I will proceed to buy them all.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Narration

The narration on this very important contribution by Yalom was outstanding. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to hear more and be inspired by a life well-lived.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Yalom Fans Rejoice

a wonderful book for any Yalom fan, big or small. He is a wonderful story teller with a lot of great wisdom.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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delightful!!

life-affirming, personally & professionally enriching, educational, interesting and a really good story to boot! thank you, Dr. Yalom!! oh - and the narration was spot on. perfect in every way!

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  • Kalutha
  • Everett, WA United States
  • 06-09-18

A fascinating life story; flawed narration.

I am a psychologist, and like so many people in this field, read Yalom's classic book on group therapy in graduate school, back in the 1980s. I have not read any of his books since then, and wish that I had. I really had no idea about the richness of his life and the depth of his thought processes. I plan to listen to some of his other books, and I believe that my experience of listening to his life story will enhance my appreciation of them. I truly appreciated the honesty, openness, and vulnerability that Yalom expressed in the writing of this book, particularly his anxiety about aging. As a therapist, I valued his descriptions of interactions with patients, and particularly his disclosure of times when he felt uncertain about how to approach a situation in therapy. I have had a strong affinity for existentialist thought for many years, and I'm surprised that I didn't realize that Yalom is a prominent thinker in this philosophy, particularly as the ideas apply to psychotherapy. I was particularly glad to hear Yalom's dismay with the trend in therapy toward the use of manuals and structured lessons, and away from the importance of the therapy relationship. Although I integrate cognitive-behavioral instruction into my work, along with teaching other practical skills, I find that clients primarily want to be seen and heard and understood. I also appreciate Yalom's belief in the therapist being "real," and using self-disclosure in an appropriate manner. I feel like I "gained Yalom's support" to continue being myself as a therapist rather than forcing myself into a more formal, detached role. An aspect of the book that I was less pleased with: his detailed descriptions of all the wonderful vacations and events he has been able to experience throughout his life. I am aware that my reaction is due to envy, and other readers/listeners may not have the same reaction. I had mixed feelings about the narrator. I want to listen to audio of how Yalom actually sounds in order to see if he expresses himself with the same degree of exuberance as the narrator. I mostly enjoyed the narrator's reading of the book, although I felt that he could have toned it down somewhat. I was extremely irritated by his mispronunciation of some words, and particularly by him pronouncing Rollo May's name as "ROW-low" rather than "RAH-low." Because this name was said so many times, it was like fingernails on a chalkboard. The narrator did an excellent job of pronouncing many foreign names, however. I always find it difficult to understand when a narrator fails to research pronunciation, and how it can be that these mistakes have not been corrected prior to release of the book.

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Good not great

Just as the people in his writing group said: 1/3rd of it is great and then it loses steam.

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Deep and meaningful

I have not read Yalom’s writing since I was a doctoral student 25 years ago. Clearly, I have missed out. He is a marvelously existential thinker who writes in a very clear, engaging manner. This book helped me reflect more deeply, both upon my practice and upon my life.

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A fabulous book ruined

by a miserable, laughably melodramatic, ignorant narrator. Please don’t let him near any other of Irving Yalom’s other books—or any other serious works!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful