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106 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring tales from master psychotherapist and storyteller
Not so long ago a paper was presented at a large psychological conference in America intriguingly entitled "Professors' office door decorations: what do they tell?" One wonders at the cryptic meanings to be read from the various brass, plastic, glass and wooden runes on professorial doors scattered across the land. Beyond door decorations, and into the seemingly...
Published on 24 Jun 2001 by Andrew Barley

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Respected therapist disappoints
Irvin Yalom has written a number of really insightful books about therapy and its practice. I'd expected to like this as much as LOVE'S EXECUTIONER but was disappointed as it often seemed like a tired recital of cases where the clients read like cardboard characters rather than real people.
Published 6 months ago by Livvy


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106 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring tales from master psychotherapist and storyteller, 24 Jun 2001
Not so long ago a paper was presented at a large psychological conference in America intriguingly entitled "Professors' office door decorations: what do they tell?" One wonders at the cryptic meanings to be read from the various brass, plastic, glass and wooden runes on professorial doors scattered across the land. Beyond door decorations, and into the seemingly mysterious world of human relations behind the therapy door, we are fortunate to have the doubly gifted storyteller and psychotherapist Irvin Yalom to let us in. His new book 'Momma and the Meaning of Life' is a second collection of therapy tales which, I am glad to say, carry the same spellbinding quality, grasp and erudition as his first collection contained in 'Love's Executioner'. For reader's unfamiliar to Yalom the pleasure of his writing is his darned ability to pluck sparkling insights from the darkest of places. Add to that a genius for telling stories and you are a little closer to understanding why this man's writing is so compelling. In 'Momma' Yalom reveals more about himself than any of his other books. His mother and a dream are the start of a trail that criss-crosses his life.
What about momma? What was she like? Yalom draws a picture of an ill tempered, overpowering and vain woman with whom he never remembers sharing 'a warm moment'. But she's not all-bad. Yalom shares a moment of them together; a moment when she enjoying her son's books. Unable to read them because of a sight problem, she handles then tenderly and says, "Big books. Beautiful books". The rational son, on the other hand, points out that it is what is in the books that is important not how they feel. "Oyvin, don't talk narishkeit - foolishness. Beautiful books!" This motherly sense and presence is something that returns in different shapes to all of the six tales within the book. The tales are: Momma and the Meaning of Life; Travels with Paula: Southern Comfort; Seven Advanced Lessons in the Therapy of Grief; Double Exposure; and The Hungarian Cat Curse. All the tales have elements, in varying degrees, of non-fiction. Some like Southern Comfort (my favourite), a story concerning a remarkable black woman in inpatient psychotherapy, are pure non-fiction 'flecked only with fiction to conceal the patients' identity'. But, as the author also says, 'not only does fiction have its own truth, but every story, no matter how "true," is a lie because it omits so much.'
Yalom is both a storyteller and teacher. His 'academic' books succeed, having sold in thousands and having been translated in some twenty languages, because they impart knowledge through stories. These stories engage us regardless of whether or not we are health professionals because the only qualification we need are that we are human. Hence he has sold 700,00 copies of a book that looks more like a building block than a book (need I say one of his 'Big books', Group Psychotherapy) and has charted novels and tales into best-seller lists about, of all things, existential psychotherapy. As a therapist of dialogue he has done a great justice to psychotherapy and the notion of 'healing through meeting'.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eloquently written and needs to be devoured, 20 May 2001
By A Customer
An extremely intresting and insightful read for general public and I believe professional counsellors and health professionals. He writes with great poignancy and allows the reader to follow his stories with excellent accuracy while still sustaining an amount of mystery and intrigue. After having read these stories, I found they really do make one take an inner examination of one's self and what our actions, dreams, desires and needs actually tell us about ourselves, as well as how we portray these things. It has definately encourged self growth and devlopment and a hunger for more of Yalom's work. I would reccommed this book to anyone with an interest in self exploration as well as those who simply care about others and may want to engage in 'helping'. Although I must admit, I did prefer his other title 'Love's Exectioner'.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Irv on Great Form, 29 Nov 2007
By 
William Cohen (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
This is the third book by Irvin Yalom I have read, and they're all fun.

The same ideas pop up from time to time, but the characters that come into Yalom's life are always fascinating, and they change in very unexpected ways. There are lots of laughs in this book - it also goes into fantasy mode towards the end.

I like Yalom's literary references, his emphasis on being in the 'here and now' and his passionate honesty.

I work as a speechwriter and I see his books being about 'communication' in its many forms. They also inspire you to go out and live more, as Nietzsche said, "Become he who you are".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yalom never fails, 24 Sep 2012
By 
Mrs. N. E. Begley "Nicky B" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
Irvin Yalom with typical humility shares thoughts and learnings from his psychotherapeutic practice.His books are a wonderful aid to learning both about life and as a model for a psychotherapist.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr Irvin Yalom - always a good read., 9 Sep 2010
This review is from: Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
I have now read three books by Irvin Yalom and have found them all to be entertaing, inspirational and motivating - this being no exception. I recommend reading this book if you have an interest in this field.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief, 30 May 2010
By 
Longjohn (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
Good introduction to accessible psychotherapy. Easy to read and insightful. Left me pondering with a practicle edge.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 30 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
Brilliant!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Respected therapist disappoints, 25 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
Irvin Yalom has written a number of really insightful books about therapy and its practice. I'd expected to like this as much as LOVE'S EXECUTIONER but was disappointed as it often seemed like a tired recital of cases where the clients read like cardboard characters rather than real people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 11 April 2014
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This review is from: Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
I have read a good few books by Yalom and find his style very accessible and enjoyable , he takes us on a journey through his own process with his usual charm and humour
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5.0 out of 5 stars momma and the meaning of life, 30 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
Yalom writes simply,understandably and with such empathy and compassion,each story touches on aspects that many of us or people with whom we may work or indeed family encounter.
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Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy
Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom (Paperback - 25 Aug 2006)
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