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9780787996680

Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death

Yalom, Irvin D.

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Written in Irv Yalom's inimitable story-telling style, Staring at the Sun is a profoundly encouraging approach to the universal issue of mortality. In this magisterial opus, capping a lifetime of work and personal experience, Dr. Yalom helps us recognize that the fear of death is at the heart of much of our anxiety. Such recognition is often catalyzed by an "awakening experience"—a dream, or loss (the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job or home), illness, trauma, or aging.

Once we confront our own mortality, Dr. Yalom writes, we are inspired to rearrange our priorities, communicate more deeply with those we love, appreciate more keenly the beauty of life, and increase our willingness to take the risks necessary for personal fulfillment.

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From the Back Cover:

Praise for Staring at the Sun

"Irvin Yalom has written a brave, intelligent book on the last forbidden subject—death. I honor his courage and rare insight."
Erica Jong, author, Fear of Flying, Shylock's Daughter, Inventing Memory, and Sappho's Leap

"This thoughtful treatment of the ultimate fear has much to offer people of faith, especially Western Christians. Instead of fearing death, which gave birth to religion itself, we can confront it in a true act of faith and stop denying it through fantasies of immortality. This is a wise book by a wise man about the most taboo of all subjects. Read it, and fear not."
Robin Meyers, minister of Mayflower UCC Church of Oklahoma City, and author, Why the Christian Right Is Wrong

"Staring at the Sun is a thoughtful reinforcement of the stoicism that we all need in a time when babble and denial are all the rage."
Christopher Hitchens, author, God Is Not Great

"Staring at the Sun looks experientially and psychodynamically at our deepest fear and describes with uncommon eloquence and deep humanity how we may arrive at a form of peace. The book is witty and kind and unflinching, a generous meditation that should give comfort to the dying and to those they leave behind."
Andrew Solomon, author, The Noonday Demon, winner of the National Book Award

"One of America's finest therapists guides us through one of life's most challenging tasks in this profoundly helpful book. It will benefit anyone who reads it."
Rabbi Harold Kushner, author, When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Praise for Irvin Yalom

"Yalom is the Scheherazade of the couch, his work a marvelous exercise in storytelling."
Laura Miller, New York Times

"Irvin Yalom writes like an angel about the devils that besiege us."
Rollo May, author, Love and Will, The Meaning of Anxiety, Man's Search for Himself, and The Courage to Create

From the Inside Flap:

Staring at the Sun

From the acclaimed author of the best-selling Love's Executioner, The Gift of Therapy, and When Nietzsche Wept comes an inspiring book that confronts the most demanding challenge we all face: overcoming the terror of death.

Written in Irv Yalom's inimitable story-telling style, Staring at the Sun is a profoundly encouraging approach to the universal issue of mortality. In this magisterial opus, capping a lifetime of work and personal experience, Dr. Yalom helps us recognize that the fear of death is at the heart of much of our anxiety. Such recognition is often catalyzed by an "awakening experience"—a dream, or loss (the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job or home), illness, trauma, or aging.

Once we confront our own mortality, Dr. Yalom writes, we are inspired to rearrange our priorities, communicate more deeply with those we love, appreciate more keenly the beauty of life, and increase our willingness to take the risks necessary for personal fulfillment.

Filled with touching personal stories of people who are grappling with the terror of death—including the author—Staring at the Sun offers specific methods to cope with terror and is ultimately life affirming. Most important, Dr. Yalom encourages us to strive for more direct engagement with others. Compassionate connection, combined with the wisdom of the great thinkers who have wrestled with mortality, enables us to overcome the terror of death and lead happier, more meaningful lives.

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