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Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life Paperback – 4 Jul 2013

3.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141031816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141031811
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"A wonderfully concise appeal for presentness...Elegantly stated."--"The Boston Globe
"""Missing Out" is [Adam Phillips's] most poetic, paradoxical, repetitive, and punning yet; he doesn't argue in a linear fashion but nestles ideas within ideas, like Russian dolls."--Sheila Heti, "The New York Times Book Review"

"[Adam Phillips] has an elegant prose style...with a talent for turning a phrase, a knack for epigrams--"Los Angeles Review of Books"

"Extraordinary...Always humane, never reductive, Phillips is one of those writers whom it is a pleasure simply to hear think."--"The Sunday Telegraph" (London)


A wonderfully concise appeal for presentness...Elegantly stated. "The Boston Globe"

"Missing Out" is [Adam Phillips's] most poetic, paradoxical, repetitive, and punning yet; he doesn't argue in a linear fashion but nestles ideas within ideas, like Russian dolls. "Sheila Heti, The New York Times Book Review"

[Adam Phillips] has an elegant prose style...with a talent for turning a phrase, a knack for epigrams "Los Angeles Review of Books"

Extraordinary Always humane, never reductive, Phillips is one of those writers whom it is a pleasure simply to hear think. "The Sunday Telegraph (London)""

A wonderfully concise appeal for presentness...Elegantly stated. The Boston Globe

Missing Out is [Adam Phillips's] most poetic, paradoxical, repetitive, and punning yet; he doesn't argue in a linear fashion but nestles ideas within ideas, like Russian dolls. Sheila Heti, The New York Times Book Review

[Adam Phillips] has an elegant prose style...with a talent for turning a phrase, a knack for epigrams Los Angeles Review of Books

Extraordinary Always humane, never reductive, Phillips is one of those writers whom it is a pleasure simply to hear think. The Sunday Telegraph (London)

" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Adam Phillips, formerly Principle Child Psychotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital, London, is a practising psychoanalyst and a visiting professor in the English department at the University of York. He is the author of numerous works of psychoanalysis and literary criticism, including most recently Unforbidden Pleasures, and Missing Out. He is General Editor of the Penguin Modern Classics Freud translations, and a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book, and expect to be re-reading it for a long time to come. I came to it from the copious recommendations on the Brain Pickings blog.
General comments - Philips' prose style is not easy to read. He expects you to read his words with the same sort of care that a psychotherapist listens to the words of an analysand. So you have to invest a bit of attention. This is necessary in the same way that a warm-up is necessary before a work-out. If you can't do this, you won't be develop the mental muscles you need to put his ideas into practice (and that is the idea).

This is not pop psychology or a how-to manual. You have to accept a lot of the basic precepts of Freudian psychology, although Philips is willing to point out when he hits the limits of this approach. He also draws on the work of those who have taken Freud's tools and developed them, like Winnicott and Bion. But if you think Freudian psychology is poppycock, then you won't like this book. There is a lot of analysis, and that is not everyone's cup of tea.

What I've taken away from the book - it's about "getting it", both in terms of getting what you want, and understanding (getting) what you want. He also goes into ideas of what "getting away with it" means, and what revenge means in terms of getting satisfaction. And how satisfaction can generally be a form of revenge. He does this using King Lear and Othello as his main texts, and I would say that if you are a fan of these, two of Shakespeare's plays, then his analysis of them more than justifies the book.

This brief paragraph doesn't do justice to the density of the analysis and the precision of the prose. There's the occasional bravura flourish or allusion that could be read as "showing off".
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fine for the academics and super brains, but I found this too high-brow for my liking. Read it to the end but I'm not sure how much I really understood. Its not an easy read for the average punter I'd say.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't miss out on this gem from Phillips.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Prologue and Chapter 1 are fantastic - well written and easy to understand. The rest of the book is dense and at times incomprehensible.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book arrived in excellent condition. The content is difficult but well worth the effort . It attempts to describe what it is that makes life worth living and why it is so difficult to find the answer.
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Format: Hardcover
Nobody thinks quite like Adam Phillips, and therefore nobody writes like him, either. He is, among today's essayists, unique. A profoundly insightful analyst, yes, of course, but one who travels in zigzag or roundabout fashion towards his conclusions, which makes him continuously surprising and illuminating (and vastly enjoyable to read). Mr Phillips gives the impression that he is often discovering the answers to his questions as he writes, and that makes for truly thrilling reading. At least, it does for me. Read him and see if you agree.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It looks like the author shows off how much he knows/reads... full of quotes which does not seem to related to the title very much...
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Format: Paperback
This is a disappointing and pretentious book, if it can be so graced with even being described as a book. Rather it is a bundle of essays, loose leaf papers even, bearing little if any relation to the title, endlessly dropping quotes from Othello and the OED. It needed to be red inked and started again - how did it get published?

There is no structure at all - some attempt has been made to construct the thoughts into a semblance of coherence by inserting a sudden end to each chapter to lead the reader to the next.

The style is dense circulatory, contradictory and full of self conceits. Most sentences seem to be inside out or backwards and I was just not interested enough in any of them to unravel them.

There is a sense that something quite important may be struggling to be said but it is so obscured by the pretentious prose, the lack of structure, the overall sloppiness that it dies within a few pages.
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