• The Examined Life

  • How We Lose and Find Ourselves
  • By: Stephen Grosz
  • Narrated by: Peter Marinker
  • Length: 5 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (813 ratings)

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The Examined Life

By: Stephen Grosz
Narrated by: Peter Marinker
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Publisher's Summary

An extraordinary book for anyone eager to understand the hidden motives that shape our lives.

We are all storytellers—we create stories to make sense of our lives. But it is not enough to tell tales; there must be someone to listen.

In his work as a practicing psychoanalyst, Stephen Grosz has spent the last twenty-five years uncovering the hidden feelings behind our most baffling behavior. The Examined Life distills more than fifty thousand hours of conversation into pure psychological insight without the jargon.

This extraordinary book is about one ordinary process: talking, listening, and understanding. Its aphoristic and elegant stories teach us a new kind of attentiveness. They also unveil a delicate self-portrait of the analyst at work and show how lessons learned in the consulting room can reveal as much to the analyst as to the patient.

These are stories about our everyday lives; they are about the people we love and the lies we tell, the changes we bear and the grief. Ultimately, they show us not only how we lose ourselves but also how we might find ourselves.

©2013 Stephen Grosz (P)2013 Blackstone Audio

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What listeners say about The Examined Life

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Worthwhile read

Each chapter is a story of a psychoanalyst's (Stephen Grosz) experience with a patient or series of patients. These vignettes are clearly selected to demonstrate valuable principles about how the human mind works. Each story is entertaining and insightful and beautifully read by the narrator who has a soothing baritone voice.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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As a person who took a few psych classes...

As a person who took a few psych classes in undergrad, and I reflect on my life a lot, I really enjoyed that this book is entirely patient stories, extrapolating insights about individuals and humanity, and explaining the author's professional technique.(

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Not Pop Psych; actual observatns of psychoanalyst

This book is worth a credit. This isn't Dr. Phil. A psychoanalyst examines common problems observed in patients over many years. Interesting, significant and relevant problems, some of which you have either seen or suffered [er, well, losing the wallet, losing everything, yes].

If the book were a little longer, I'd have given it 5. I'll say 4.5, erring on the side of 4 overall and 5 on the substance. ANALYZE THAT!

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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It was mildly interesting

The subject matter is interesting however the book jumps around and at times it's hard to keep track of what the narrator is talking about. At the end I found the narrators voice monotonous and I could hardly pay attention. The stories started to drag and I was unsure of what he was talking about or where it was going. There's really no end to any story, no completeness so it feels unfinished after every chapter.

4 people found this helpful

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Exceeded my expectations

After reading reviews I was reluctant to try this book as I was looking for books with tangible to do list advice type topics. Still, the premise intrigue me and I am very glad I did not pass it up! I enjoyed each chapter's featured story and definitely feel like I got the insights intended in each chapter. They intend to listen to it again and see if I can come up with my own journaling based on the chapters which I do not expect to be too difficult! I found it to be an enjoyable listen and would recommend!

3 people found this helpful

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Mixed feelings

I wanted the conclusion of each story to be more conclusive. I felt like I was left hanging a little bit. Over all interesting but the stories did not help me to examine my own life. It just told stories of others examining their life. Regardless it was interesting, especially if you have an interest in psychology or the human condition in general.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting insights into psychoanalysis

The idea of seeing a psychoanalyst five days a week for years struck me as self-indulgent, but this book showed how some individuals' destructive behavior needs that ongoing, intense attention to unravel the subconscious reasons. Grosz presents a wide variety of issues and includes how his patients' issues and his response to them prompted him to analyze himself. Two stories affected me deeply: his father's return to the locations where he spent his pre-WWII youth, and a violent child who spat in Grosz's face every day for a year and a half.

The narrator did a wonderful job. He communicated Grosz's obvious intelligence and thought-based approach.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting and Insightful

What made the experience of listening to The Examined Life the most enjoyable?

Great narration. Concise, brief, interesting and an excellent book.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The description of human tendencies in relation to 9/11 - moving, haunting, thought-provoking.

2 people found this helpful

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Baffled

Nice little stories that end with a psychoanalytic conclusion. Unfortunately some of the conclusions seem like stretches. I am baffled the he can see a patient 1 to 5 times weekly for years and then suddenly figure out the motive for their behavior. After reading the book I am less convinced that psychoanalysis is more than psuedoscience.

1 person found this helpful

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Psychoanalysis anecdotes

While it isn't a bad set of stories, I'm not sure they are valuable to anyone other than those mentioned in them.

1 person found this helpful