Seasons of a Man's Life Paperback – 1 Dec 1991
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The first full report from the team that discovered the patterns of adult development, this breakthrough study ranks in significance with the original works of Kinsey and Erikson, exploring and explaining the specific periods of personal development through which all human begins must pass--and which together form a common pattern underlying all human lives.
"A pioneering and radical theory of adult development."
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Or more correctly, it helps you change your life. I first read this book during my last transition ten years ago, and I'm reading it again for this one. It made all the difference last time, and I'm dipping into the same well a decade later.
Levinson reasoned that while Piaget and Freud had well documented the stages of development of infants and children and adolescents, it mostly stopped at 20. It's as if that's it--you're all grown up now!
He thought perhaps there were changes, phases and stages of adult life akin to those of children. When he researched this with a large number of American males he was surprised to find just how consistent they are.
You can almost set your watch--oops! 25 years old! Time to find a mentor! Ooops 55 years old! Time to be a mentor!
The major transitions he identified at the decade turnovers. They seem to be times of significant discomfort, questioning, reassessment, and redirection in a man's life. They are followed by a period of consolidation and stability--until the next transition ten years later. While the transitions are different for each person and the results are different for each person, each of us in our way goes through them. The "mid-life crisis" he calls the "mid-life transition", since it's only a crisis if you don't get through it well.
This is not a particularly easy read (Gail Sheehey's "Passages" is easier), but if you, or someone you know is trying to figure out "what next?" try this book.
Hey, it worked for me.
The book may be a bit too much for a person to read unless they like psychology. No, it is not hard reading, it just may be too much material unless you were looking for specific advice. Although you may be tempted to jump to your immediately applicable section, I would suggest reading chapter 2 (on men's different eras) before doing that.
The author has a friendly, mature, informed approach. It is analytical, yet comforting. Certainly a book to recommend for men in your life that are going through changes.