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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an in-depth and entertaining dicussion of emotional health
2 things very unique about this book: 1) it is a discussion of robust mental health (as opposed to mental pathology). 2) the discussion is layed out as a dialogue/script between the co-authors.
Instead of discussing the symptoms, causes and cures of mental pathology, the authors discuss the "olympians of mental health" and the things they all tend to...
Published on 9 Nov. 1997

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Not an easy read, battled with this book then finally gave up.
Published 7 months ago by Ally


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an in-depth and entertaining dicussion of emotional health, 9 Nov. 1997
By A Customer
2 things very unique about this book: 1) it is a discussion of robust mental health (as opposed to mental pathology). 2) the discussion is layed out as a dialogue/script between the co-authors.
Instead of discussing the symptoms, causes and cures of mental pathology, the authors discuss the "olympians of mental health" and the things they all tend to have in common.
After covering the aspects of individual mental health, the authors expand their scope to the mental health of families, organizations, businesses, countries and cultures.
For my second reading "Life.." became my morning "devotional" book. I found myself being transported to an imaginary room where I sat and listened quietly to John and Robyn, looked them in the eyes, laughing and crying with them. The profound effect of these daily trysts was that over time I was developing the same awe, wonder and respect for the "olympians" that the authors had. I also found myself becoming more like the "olympians of emotional health" that we admired so much. I've read thousands of books and this one has had a more profound effect on me than any other that I can recall.
I gave the book a score of 9 only because in a few places the discussion and banter become a bit boring (but you listen patiently because you're with friends).
If you like this book, you also will like "Families and how..". If you've read this book and enjoyed it like I have, please send me e-mail, I'd really like to hear from you.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent follow up to "Families & How to Survive Them", 18 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Life And How To Survive It (Paperback)
I'm surprised this has never been reviewed !! Written by Dr Robin Skynner and John Cleese (of Fawtly Towers fame), it's a discussion about "mental health" - and how to get it.
Skynner points out that most research into the subject is all about mental "unhealth" - like Schizophrenia and the "Norman Bates" side of mental health. It's curious there's been little research about "how to be healthy - and what does it mean".
He then goes on to discuss how daft we can all be - and of course John Cleese helps this along no end.
It it takes a psychological or psychotherapy viewpoint on "the world", explaining some of the more basic questions of life like:- Why people choose a particular company (not just a profession), why is laughter so good for you (that was an eye opener) and what exactly does it mean to be "mentally healthy".
Easy to read and understand, and for me - full of insights.
10 out of 10. Also have a look at "Families and How to Survive them" - a laymans view of family therapy, and how to avoid it !!! (By being mentally healthy).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this has to be one of the best books written, 15 Jan. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Life And How To Survive It (Paperback)
This has to be one of the best books ever written - much much better than the mass of low quality books out there that proclaim self help. This one drives straight to the heart of these issues, and is very readable. I challenge anyone to read the first chapter and not feel more positive about themselves and life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stimulating, Interesting, Well Written, 23 April 2012
This review is from: Life And How To Survive It (Paperback)
I read this a few days ago, having just finished 'Families'. They flow pretty seamlessly from the one to the other. I give this 5 Stars as a book because as a book, I love it, even if I disagree with some of it. It's generally engaging, I really enjoy the dialogue style of writing. They cover a helluvalot of ground, which makes it interesting and stimulating. There is a certain amount of repetition, summaries, but these help retain the key points. It really feels like a real conversation. It's not as humorous as you might expect from Cleese, so don't expect it!

Things I'd throw into the dialogue if I was there - society and governments are not the same as families, I felt they pushed the similarity a bit too far. There was also a massive philosophical elephant in the room which was anarchism, which was a shame as it fits in with their arguments quite well. The book is in general surprisingly pro-quo, which for me felt out of whack with some of the ideas of psychological health, but which is unsurprising given their businessy background. As another reviewer mentioned, it's a very straight book, aimed at very straight 'undisadvantaged' people, which did grate from time to time. Despite that I don't think it's valueless for people that have had 'real' problems... But perhaps not as a book to read when you're in the middle of a crisis. (Does such a book exist?) The chapters on religion and spirituality were amazing.

The apparent lack of knowledge of socialist history, despite which they felt able to talk authoritatively on the subject was disconcerting - however as many avowed socialists know nothing of their history, it's perhaps forgiveable! The concern being that if they don't know about this thing, in other areas of which I'm less knowledgeable I'll learn half truths. A half truth is better than no truth, but still.

I intend to reread it and no doubt I will learn a few new things and disagree with a few others. FIVE STARS!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE BIG PICTURE, 2 Nov. 2002
This review is from: Life And How To Survive It (Paperback)
I had read (and loved) 'Families And How To Survive Them' and was curious about this one - surviving Life?!... No esoterics here, though. John Cleese and Robin Skynner apply the principles of 'Families...' to analyse larger groups of people such as communities and even countries, and they discuss just about everything from nasty dictatorships to brilliant civilizations, and why a repressive system is an improvement compared to total chaos ... A good attempt at explaining the Big Picture, again written in plain dialogue (how socratic!), with hilarious cartoons. In our troubled times, when we believe the scheme of things may have gone lost, 'Life...' reassures us by showing that societies still act in the same old, familiar human patterns, in spite of all technological progress. We only have to keep our hearts open, our minds sharp, and enjoy the ride!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh , fantastic book !! Read most of it back in 96 .Need it more in 013, 8 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Life And How To Survive It (Paperback)
Yeah this book is awesome , witty , down to earth and incitefull as they get . I have since learned concepts that were above my head when I was first reading this in a library , but now can totally grasp and apply ! A god send !!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The psychologically healthiest people are more likely to vote Lib-Dem! ;), 23 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Life And How To Survive It (Paperback)
This is the best popular psychology book I've ever come across. I first read it nearly 20 years ago, and having dipped my nose into it again recently, I still think it is. Having John Cleese co-write the book with psychologist Robin Skynner keeps the prose lively, humorous, and conversation-like in style. The basic premise - the 20-60-20 theory of mental health - is applied throughout the book to individuals, families, groups, workplaces, politics and even whole societies. It turns out that the healthiest people of all aren't necessarily the most successful or the wealthiest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 11 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Life And How To Survive It (Paperback)
The witty points of John Cleese , informative and empathic insights of Robin Skynner and great illustrations all help this book in achieving a greater understanding of life and the world. Helps make sense of so many other self help books, and why certain things help certain people ect. Funny and fantastic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A real insight into the way we behave in our ..., 28 Dec. 2014
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A real insight into the way we behave in our familys and what shapes us as human beings. Made me relise a few things in my life and how to deal with it. A must have book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It was recommended to me and I am really glad I bought ..., 31 July 2014
This review is from: Life And How To Survive It (Paperback)
If you have trouble with your family relationships then read this book. It is entertaining and informative. It was recommended to me and I am really glad I bought it.
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Life And How To Survive It
Life And How To Survive It by John Cleese (Paperback - 24 Jun. 1996)
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