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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1974 and the culmination of a life's work, The Denial of Death is Ernest Becker's brilliant and impassioned answer to the "why" of human existence. In bold contrast to the predominant Freudian school of thought, Becker tackles the problem of the vital lie: man's refusal to acknowledge his own mortality. In doing so, he sheds new light on the nature of humanity and issues a call to life and its living that still resonates more than 30 years after its writing.
©1973 Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.; (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A brave work of electrifying intelligence and passion, optimistic and revolutionary, destined to endure." (New York Times Book Review)
"Ranks among the truly important books of the year. Professor Becker writes with power and brilliant insight." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    319
  • 4 Stars
    120
  • 3 Stars
    65
  • 2 Stars
    37
  • 1 Stars
    35

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    218
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    117
  • 3 Stars
    48
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    22
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    15

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    236
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    80
  • 3 Stars
    50
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    26
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    21
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

"Euman"

"Euman" This book really makes you reflect on your own consciousness in a good way!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

DENIAL OF DEATH is very mediocre

Would you try another book from Ernest Becker and/or Raymond Todd?

Absolutely not

What do you think your next listen will be?

ANGLE OF REPOSE

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Reader was fairly good, but he read too fast.

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

Very disappointed as I had heard that it was a great book!

Any additional comments?

I would NOT recommend this book. Becker speaks or refers to Freud a great deal. Most Freudian ideas have almost uniformly been discredited. Note: I only listened to the first two chapters because I was so turned off by the ideas.

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Great book, but the reader sounds disturbingly cheerful and totally disconnected from the material, like he's reading a manual.

Great book, but the reader sounds disturbingly cheerful and totally disconnected from the material, like he's reading a manual.

  • Overall
  • Performance

Piercing straight to the heart of the human drama

An incredible framework for understanding the mechanisms by which man on his earthly journey produces evil as a by product of his best intentions.
Expect no miracle cure or new age religion to turn back the clock on the psyche after finishing this book. This book is haunting.

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Moments of real insight

There are moments of real insight in this book. I can see why it is considered a classic of existential psychology. Unfortunately these moments of insight are often intermingled with really dated and unsubstantiated psychoanalytic psycho-babble which can be annoying at times.

Becker's woefully dated and frankly embarrassing assessments of major psychiatric illness such as major depression and schizophrenia are pretty annoying, particularly the psychoanalytic explanations of these diseases representing a pathetic failure of the sufferer to properly deal with their fear of life and fear of death resulting in them burdening themselves on others, is particularly reprehensible.

Sometimes I had to remind myself that Becker was writing in 1973, although much of the time it felt like this book had been written in the early 1900s.

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Insightful

I'm not certain I need to listen to another psychoanalytic book again. Just love out my physical years on a journey to create words of art.

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Death Anxiety, a book to think about.

Would you listen to The Denial of Death again? Why?

I would listen to this book again. It is wonderfully written, much to ponder. The only problem is the reader goes to fast. The subject matter is complex. The reader goes so fast one does not have time to ponder what just slapped him/her across the face! It is delightful. A must read.

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A combination of weltanschauungs from great minds

My brain hurts real good.

I've read some of Alice Miller, Jung, Ayn Rand, and Aristotle, Buddhist texts, and popular anarchist literature and this is an amazing psychoanalytic work. It helps me to understand a lot more about my place in society and the universe, tying together the knowledge I gained from previously mentioned authors and expanding my view further, or maybe rather more narrowly. Love it. Absolutely recommend it if you have a pretty good grasp of the practicalities of objectivism.

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Could've done without the chapters on Freud, but excellent overall. I think Ill buy the book for reference.

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Stimulating

Nice mesh between existentialism and psychoanalysis. Freud makes more sense if we switch the sex repression out for existential angst!