• Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life

  • How to Finally, Really Grow Up
  • By: James Hollis PhD
  • Narrated by: Gary Galone
  • Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (303 ratings)

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Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life  By  cover art

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life

By: James Hollis PhD
Narrated by: Gary Galone
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Publisher's summary

What does it really mean to be a grown-up in today's world? We assume that once we "get it together" with the right job, marry the right person, have children, and buy a home, all is settled and well. But adulthood presents varying levels of growth and is rarely the respite of stability we expected. Turbulent emotional shifts can take place anywhere between the ages of 35 and 70 when we question the choices we've made, realize our limitations, and feel stuck - commonly known as the "midlife crisis".

Jungian psychoanalyst James Hollis believes that it is only in the second half of life that we can truly come to know who we are and thus create a life that has meaning. In Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, Hollis explores the ways we can grow and evolve to fully become ourselves when the traditional roles of adulthood aren't quite working for us. Offering wisdom to anyone facing a career that no longer seems fulfilling, a long-term relationship that has shifted, or family transitions that raise issues of aging and mortality, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life provides a reassuring message and a crucial bridge across this critical passage of adult development.

©2005 James Hollis, PhD (P)2015 Tantor

What listeners say about Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life

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The great bait and switch.

Are you interested in learning more about mid life crisis or the meaning of the second half of life? This is obviously not the book. He actually tells you this at one point in the story. Its just a book about people he has spoken with in his practice and decided to write a book about it. Great thing is people who actually listen or read this go nowhere book will eventually need psychotherapy just to get over the fact they wasted a credit on a book that is dryer than a tv guide from 1985 that is being read while sitting on the john in a freezing cold bathroom.

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33 people found this helpful

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Engaging, thought-provoking, at times profound

Content...fascinating. Narrator... so bad that only the quality of the content kept me listening. Galone must have had a bet with someone on how fast he could finish reading this book. He read at the pace and with the (dis)passion of an auctioneer, plowing through complex ideas at the speed of a bullet train, leaving the listener hanging on for dear life. I don’t need or want an excessively slow rendition, but much of this book requires some processing time for the listener. The content is absolutely worthy. Since I want to listen to more of Hollis’ work, I have been relieved to see that all have other narrators.

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6 people found this helpful

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must read for all men between 45 and 55

I think the book touchs each one of us especially men who get loss of meaning in life starting from the age of 45

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Incredibly insightful.

If you are beginning your journey of self discovery, have acknowledged the presence of your shadow, yearn to find your soul’s true path; then I highly recommend this book. It will not answer your questions and likely will lead you to many many more, but will begin to provide insights you will need to continue, and in the end - hopefully - find peace

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I'm not smart enough for this book. Seams foreign

like a foreign language. Keep finding myself looking up words. I couldn't understand anything he said. lol

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Could not get interested!

What disappointed you about Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life?

Rambling about nothing. Boring.

What was most disappointing about James Hollis’s story?

He had a story? Never got that far. I wish there had been a story. It may have been interesting.

Have you listened to any of Gary Galone’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

Any additional comments?

It was so painfully boring that I could not make myself listen to another minute of it.

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psycho-babble

Absolutely nothing practical to use. Lots of psycho-babble. Bla bla bla. Author clearly loves to hear himself pontificate while saying nothing. Title is misleading.

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Only made it to the second chapter

I consider myself a smart person. Bachelors degree and overall a considerate and thoughtful person. This book is so lofty and author uses so many 50 cent words that the only person he’s impressing is himself. Got sick of the ego and ethos bull**** real quick

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Struggled to finish...ultimately couldn't!

Mind-numbing drivel...
I really tried to get something from this but found it either mind-numbing or arrogant in its assumptions. I can tell the author believes what he writes but the assumption that this is the "way to find meaning " for the masses is a stretch! Glad it worked for him!

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  • DJ
  • 05-03-23

Somewhat Disappointing, but has some helpful thoughts.

I suppose I’m not a Jungian as this book left me quite unsatisfied. The book indeed contains a lot of insight into the frustrations, anxieties, and struggles of middle age, assumed to be gleaned from the many psychotherapy clients/patients the author has listened to over the years. This will probably bring you some comfort in knowing that what you are feeling at this stage of life is normal, typical, and not some pathology. The many quotes begin to help get an understanding of why we come to these feelings. This is helpful, though I think many of us reading this type of book are probably already aware of many of these things. However, the title of the book, in my opinion, is misleading. It offers no answers, prescriptions, or methods, except that one should embrace the uncertainty, suffering, and profound yearning for “meaning”. By doing this it is claimed that our “soul” will grow, find a larger purpose, and maybe eventually stumble upon some clues that might (or might not) lead to a bit of meaning. In this way it’s more of a philosophy or spiritual perspective, and far from a science. I’m ok with not having exact answers, and I’m ok with embracing questions. However, the author essentially chalks it up to finding one’s soul’s purpose/desire. He tries to give some indication of what this means, mostly by saying what it’s not, and which questions to ask yourself in order to figure that out. However, I feel that this is done in an irresponsible way, in the same way that cult leaders, spiritual gurus, and religions claim that deities or “right” behaviors exist that seems so subjective, ephemeral and ethereal that it will always turn out that you are doing it wrong. There isn’t mich help in terms of distinguishing what is your “soul” and what isn’t. I think many readers could justify a lot of bad choices and behaviors by claiming they were following their soul’s desire. This isn’t addressed well enough to be of use to the reader. There’s a sense that the author knows something you don’t about the “true” nature of life, souls, and reality and you are blinded to these truths by all the things he lists throughout the book. This is uncomfortably similar to the same tactic used by the religions, politicians, capitalists, etc that he says are misleading you… so who is misleading who here?
It also puts a massive amount of burden on personal responsibility for one’s own situation, while also trying to acknowledge some social injustices. At one point he basically says, if you’re unhappy with your life, change it. This feels somewhat cruel as that’s what we are, obviously, working on by reading this book. There’s a thin layer of victim-blaming, disguised as tough-love realism, which for me was the opposite of motivating. I know the author knows that life is not that simple, and he spends most of the book explaining the complexity of life and why it is so difficult to change, yet as it nears closer to end of the book the message is increasingly less compassionate, and more that you and your thinking and behaviors are a problem.

As you can probably tell, I am not very open to spirituality and was hoping for something more grounded. However, the book did bring me to some helpful questions and I do not regret taking the time to listen to it. I feel more confident to move into the second half of life, and see that things that served me in the first half might not be useful going forward. I am willing to embrace the search and uncertainty and I’m grateful for the authors words of encouragement for shifting towards that perspective. In the end, however, this book left me feeling slightly swindled emotionally and philosophically, and, weirdly, that that is somehow the point of book.

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