Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop Black Friday Deals Week in Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Amazon Fire TV Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Paperwhite Listen in Prime Shop Now Shop now
The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
  • RRP: £8.99
  • You Save: £2.70 (30%)
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books.
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
The Examined Life: How We... has been added to your Basket
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Over 2 million items sold. Fast dispatch and delivery. Excellent Customer Feedback. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 4 images

The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves Paperback – 2 Jan 2014

478 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
£3.18 £1.17
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more

Black Friday Deals Week in Books
Visit our Deals in Books store to discover Amazon's greatest ever deals. Shop now
£6.29 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. In stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves
  • +
  • Love's Executioner
Total price: £16.27
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (2 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099549034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099549031
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (478 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

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)

Book Description

Longlisted for the Guardian first book award, a Sunday Times bestseller and Radio 4 Book of the Week. 'Marvellous' (The Times), 'Excellent' (Guardian), 'Completely magical' (Mail on Sunday)

See all Product Description

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Rayner on 27 Feb. 2013
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.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
125 of 135 people found the following review helpful By Uncle Barbar TOP 100 REVIEWER on 8 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover
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.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
153 of 167 people found the following review helpful By katy thomas on 6 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover
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.
22 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Purpleheart TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 July 2013
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
...says the narrator of Stephen Groscz's The Examined Life in the preface. He points out that we all use stories to make sense of our lives to ourselves and others. He also says that there is nothing magical about psychoanalysis and that it's about listening to what is said and what is said in the spaces of what is said. The stories range from those in his early, inexperienced days as a a psychoanalyst when a patient faked his own death, to the more recent past where he describes visiting his father's former home in what was then Hungary and how he was unable to recognise anything. He quotes Karen Blixen in the preface when she says '"All sorrows can be borne, if you put them in a story, or tell a story about them." Groscz's view is that if "we cannot find a way of telling our story, our story tells us -- we dream these stories, we develop symptoms, or we find ourselves acting in ways we don't understand."

I listened to this in the car, as I often do with audiobook CDs, and it the episodic nature of the chapters suits car journeys where the narrative is necessarily interrupted. As other reviewers have said this is not a self hop book but it doe shave some nuggets for immediate change - one example is that Stephen Groscz talks about recent research on praise and how praise of children for their 'cleverness' which is as prevalent now as the opposite was in the 1970s, is less effective in building confidence children than praise of application and hard work. He then takes that into a meditation on the importance of being present with children - that that is the real confidence builder.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse