Start reading The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books even without a Kindle device-with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones and tablets.
The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves

The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves [Kindle Edition]

Stephen Grosz
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (299 customer reviews)

Print List Price: 8.99
Kindle Price: 3.49 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: 5.50 (61%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 3.49  
Hardcover 14.99  
Paperback 4.80  
Audio, CD, Audiobook --  
Audio Download, Unabridged 11.80 or Free with 30-day free trial
Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: At least 60% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.

Product Description


"I was enthralled. profound and moving, packed large ideas into a slim volume" (Lucy Lethbridge Observer Books of the Year)

"With deceptive simplicity and gentle wisdom, Grosz teases out a lesson or chases down a fugitive insight. I have distrusted psychoanalysis for years, but I would leap onto Grosz's couch" (James McConnachie The Sunday Times Books of the Year)

"This moving book of patient portraits by the psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz will make the reader think of Freud's keenly observed and literary-minded case studies. Writing with sympathy and insight, Mr Grosz distils 25 years of work into a series of slim, piercing chapters that read like a combination of Chekhov and Oliver Sacks" (Michiko Kakutani New York Times)

"The success of The Examined Life by the psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz has, I think, relatively little to do with his clinical know-how; it rests, as Freud's did, on his story-telling abilities" (Rachel Cooke Observer)

"Grosz is a superb storyteller and tells lots of his patients' stories with sensitivity, but also with great acuity. You might keep thinking you recognise things about people you know" (William Leith Evening Standard)

"A wonderful example of a book that provides a safe space that can be used as a base to explore the less safe" (Alex Clark Guardian)

"Riveting... Grosz is adept at uncovering the little lies we tell ourselves and he's very perceptive about the potentially positive effects of bad experiences" (Daily Telegraph)

"Because of [Grosz's] skill at getting to the heart of the matter, we forget the distance separating us and become quickly involved in the lives of those he discusses" (Mail on Sunday)

"Absolutely fascinating. You'll be amateur psychoanalysing yourself and everyone you know" (Independent on Sunday)

"It made me stop and think, and it has stayed with me. Grosz is a superb storyteller and tells lots of his patients' stories with sensitivity, but also with great acuity. You might keep thinking you recognise things about people you know" (William Leith Scotsman)

Book Description

This book is about learning to live. In simple stories of encounter between a psychoanalyst and his patients, The Examined Life reveals how the art of insight can illuminate the most complicated, confounding and human of experiences.

Product details

More About the Author

Stephen Grosz is a practicing psychoanalyst--he has worked with patients for more than twenty-five years. Born in America, educated at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Oxford University, he lives in London. A Sunday Times bestseller, The Examined Life is his first book.

For more information please visit

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Distilling decades of therapeutic work into a slim volume that reads like a collection of short stories, Grosz offers an intriguing insight into contemporary psychoanalysis. A married father-of-four announces that he is thinking of coming out, aged 71, while a woman who has just celebrated her 50th birthday realises a sexy dream that bothered her was about her son.

Anger, boredom, self-delusion, lying, being stuck, Grosz even shows how boredom is worth thinking about. He draws not just on his patients, but literature too - Scrooge shows us how we can't live a life without loss, a Herman Melville character reveals how `we all have a cheering voice that says "let us start now, right away"' and an opposing, negative voice that responds "I would prefer not to."'

But the real joy of this book is that all this is done with such a light touch. I'd take issue with the other reviewer who suggests we go and read Freud instead - many who are attracted to this book are unlikely to, and that's the very point. It avoids jargon, and in an era when CBT is frequently hailed as The Answer to mental health problems (it's just about the only therapy one can get on the NHS these days, though it's still a postcode lottery), it's a timely reminder not to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Don't get me wrong, I think CBT can be invaluable tool, but let's remember looking at our entrenched patterns can help patients who suffer too. To have made complex theories accessible to a mainstream audience is a fine achievement, and to Mr Grosz I'd like to say: THANK YOU.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
146 of 157 people found the following review helpful
I loved this book - reading these short stories ( based on sessions between patients and psychoanalyst) is like lifting the curtains on the lives of your friends and neighbours and, yes, even yourself... To this end I have been posting this book through the doors of aforementioned friends in the hope that we can pepper our walks and talks with some of the insights offered by author Stephen Grosz. Have we over-praised our children? Have we invented fantasy escapes from our everyday lives? Does change scare us? And if, like me, you suspect that psychoanalysis might be a bit of a magician's art, you will be won over by the clarity and humility of the writing and the fascinating insights into how psychoanalysts actually work. The great joy of these highly engaging stories is that, unlike reading fiction where you might think, do I really believe a character would have acted like that, or, is this plot really believable, you know these stories are true: how satisfying it is to be presented with a character in crisis only to discover exactly what precipitated the crisis and how resolution might - or might not - be achieved; such a joy! If I was pressed, I would say this book is a meeting of Jane Austen, Tolstoy and Hello magazine. What a treat.
Was this review helpful to you?
108 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The life analytic 8 Jan 2013
By uncle barbar TOP 100 REVIEWER
To be honest, I am not a fan of Freudian analysis, regarding CBT as a less fanciful, if blunter tool for quickly fixing unwanted behaviour. However, I am fascinated by what people do, why they do it and how they think. I am pleased to say that the author does not shoehorn established Freudian ideas on to individual cases but is more intent on squirreling out a unique reason, based on the client's personal history, to account for their idiosyncratic behaviour. To me, this reflects more what true psychological analysis should be. The author does not confine himself purely to relating the details of his clients. He also describes an intriguing case he learned about while chatting to somebody on an aeroplane flight, proving that the author delights in the machinations of the human mind to the extent that he takes his work home with him.

Each account is gripping in its own right and each gives an insight into human nature and the sometimes obscure reasons which may cause it. As you read, you will recognise the behaviour of friends, colleagues and loved ones of your own and start pondering just what makes them tick... Whether you are a champion of Freudian psychoanalysis or not, there is plenty to enjoy in this book because the stories are well told and intriguing. Whether you agree with the author's reading of the situation is of course open to debate but nevertheless it will get you thinking, and that cannot be bad. I found this to be an absorbing and entertaining read and one that I would highly recommend.
Was this review helpful to you?
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moved to tears 25 May 2013
I echo everything the other positive reviews say about the worth of this book - its elegant style, gripping stories, humble non-judgemental insights into other human beings. I was touched though by the generosity of someone who has spent thousands of hours listening to others, being spat at, lied to, bored, frustrated ... There are windows into Stephen Grosz's life through his account of taking his father to Hungary and the way he relates, via a dream, his own son's illness to that of a young patient who wouldn't be treated for HIV. These made me want to read a companion volume - yet to be written - where SG interrogates his own patterns that led him to becoming a psychoanalyst - he touches on this with his father - and how he feels about the fleetingness of it all. Or is this all my projection? The bit that moved me to tears was the final two paragraphs where he describes a desire to 'say one more thing' to previous patients who are now 'gone or dead' and the fear 'too could disappear into the earth'.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Apparently simple, yet profound
I was surprised to be given this book and wasn't at all sure that I'd like it. With in just a few pages I realised it was something special. Read more
Published 8 hours ago by Ms. J. Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Seems as though I am in the wrong job
How frustrating some of these stories are! Self-indulgent people with too much money and no sense who just need to get a grip. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Plucked Highbrow
4.0 out of 5 stars Very absorbing
a fantastic exploration of human encounters, albeit on a therapist's couch. I felt like a voyeur at times. read if introspection is your thing. It touched me deeply.
Published 6 days ago by K.
I really like this book. It has lots of short stories in it and it is interesting to hear how someone else works with clients. Read more
Published 8 days ago by JOANNE ANDERSON
3.0 out of 5 stars Good case histories but was hoping for more
This popular book on psychoanalysis raises some interesting questions about how we can be shaped and even possessed by our own narratives about ourselves. Read more
Published 13 days ago by El and Steve
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
This book was recommended via the Perfumed Ladies
Book Group. Wouldn't have read it otherwise. Every chapter gives an insight into my self, your self, ourselves and while I... Read more
Published 17 days ago by A. Rainbow
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
I bought this book after reading a review in the sunday times. I usually just read travel and fiction books. Read more
Published 19 days ago by albert1916
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for people interested in how the mind works
This book is not challenging to read and it took me no longer than 2 days to get through, an hour or so here and there each day. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Books2read
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book
What a great read - I am now considering getting psychotherapy. Easy to read and not full of jargon - it's more like a book of short stories. Excellent
Published 21 days ago by Jaqui
5.0 out of 5 stars Give it a try even if not your normal wasn't mine but it is...
I normally don't hold with all this self discovery business, but this was truly a revelation! Straight away I was addicted. So easy to dip into and I will definitely read again. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Joolsy12
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category