- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (4 July 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141031816
- ISBN-13: 978-0141031811
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life Paperback – 4 Jul 2013
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More About the Author
About the Author
Adam Phillips was born in Cardiff in 1954. He is the author of numerous works of psychotherapy and literary criticism, including Winnicott, On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored, Going Sane, Side Effects, On Kindness, co-written with Barbara Taylor, On Balance, Missing Out, One Way and Another and Becoming Freud.
Phillips is a practising psychoanalyst and a visiting professor in the English department at the University of York. He writes regularly for the London Review of Books, the Observer and the New York Times, and he is General Editor of the Penguin Modern Classics Freud translations. His new book, Unforbidden Pleasures, comes out in November 2015 and is published by Hamish Hamilton.
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Top Customer Reviews
General comments - Philips' prose style is not easy to read. He expects you to read his words with the same sort of care that a psychotherapist listens to the words of an analysand. So you have to invest a bit of attention. This is necessary in the same way that a warm-up is necessary before a work-out. If you can't do this, you won't be develop the mental muscles you need to put his ideas into practice (and that is the idea).
This is not pop psychology or a how-to manual. You have to accept a lot of the basic precepts of Freudian psychology, although Philips is willing to point out when he hits the limits of this approach. He also draws on the work of those who have taken Freud's tools and developed them, like Winnicott and Bion. But if you think Freudian psychology is poppycock, then you won't like this book. There is a lot of analysis, and that is not everyone's cup of tea.
What I've taken away from the book - it's about "getting it", both in terms of getting what you want, and understanding (getting) what you want. He also goes into ideas of what "getting away with it" means, and what revenge means in terms of getting satisfaction. And how satisfaction can generally be a form of revenge. He does this using King Lear and Othello as his main texts, and I would say that if you are a fan of these, two of Shakespeare's plays, then his analysis of them more than justifies the book.
This brief paragraph doesn't do justice to the density of the analysis and the precision of the prose. There's the occasional bravura flourish or allusion that could be read as "showing off".Read more ›
I found that they got infuriating close, but then the chapter ended abruptly and the next chapter seemed to me to be a non-logical leap - it wasn't really a surprise to find out (as I did in the acknowledgements) that each of the chapters was originally a separate lecture.
But then what do I know? This is the first book on psychoanalysis that I've read, and it has two five-star reviews already, including one that reads "Because of its fascinating aspects i [sic] reckon allot [sic] of people will find it hard to read." - so maybe it's me, the reader, that's at fault rather than the writer.
All I know is I'm glad I got it out of the library rather than buying it - sorry Amazon!
Though I read avidly, I have not previously written an Amazon review but I am sufficiently moved to do so on this occasion because I found this book so unreadable, the text being so irritating and neurotic: in a word, digressive.
I am not by temperament tolerant of verbal diarrhoea and prefer writers who get to the point and am happy if they entertain or write beautifully on the way.
This thesis might make an interesting read as bullet points on one page of foolscap, which could allow some of us to know why others find this book so marvellous.
I have tried twice and will try reading it again in the Spring, when the sun is out.
Psychoanalysts are prone to write in this manner, expecting us to believe that every impulse in every neurone is fascinating; this latter not being the case, I prefer writers who think the universe makes sense and may even be moral, taking a more classical approach and adopting a more continent style, perhaps the noble simplicity and still greatness proposed by Goethe; these such writers usually have a good writing style and tend not to be post-modernists. So it could just be me.
I will give the book another go eventually and will write again if I become a convert.
No stars till then or maybe one, as that seems to be the minimum. Sorry Adam, if I am missing out.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Like several reviewers who have given low ratings I too have asked myself the question 'Is it me, is it my fault I can find so little sense in this book? Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jiment
I have to say that this is the most unreadable book I have ever tried to read. I have missed out on buying something worthwhile, don't make my mistake.Published 17 months ago by B. Kelly
It looks like the author shows off how much he knows/reads... full of quotes which does not seem to related to the title very much...Published 19 months ago by International Nomad
A difficult review. I felt that there is a lot of repetition in this book-could have been much more concise.Published 21 months ago by henryju