Buy Used
CDN$ 2.44
+ CDN$ 6.49 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Ships from Texas; please allow 15-20 business days for delivery. Unbeatable customer service, and we usually ship the same or next day. Over one million satisfied customers!
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 this image

The Force of Character: And the Lasting Life Hardcover – Aug 17 1999

4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
CDN$ 42.06 CDN$ 0.61

Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping for Six Months When You Try Amazon Student

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

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

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (Aug. 17 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375501207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375501203
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.6 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #585,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

From Amazon

This philosophy/psychology work on character and aging is not a self-help book but rather a self-perception book--philosophical, wise, and deep. "What does aging serve? What is its point?" asks James Hillman, and proceeds to examine those questions fully. The loss of short-term memory, for example, enables us to better recall the past and review our lives. "On the one hand, brain cells may be flaking off like autumn leaves in a deciduous forest; on the other hand, a clearing is being made, leaving more space for occasional birds to alight." Hillman also likens short-term memory loss to a warehouse packed full of the inventory of life, emptying the latest files "to preserve enough emotional space for evaluating what has been there for a long time." Other aging markers also have benefits for character, reflection, and imagination. We wake up at night not only because our old bodies have to urinate, for example, but also because our minds are open to the wonders and mysteries of night.

Hillman discusses the three major changes that character undergoes in later life. First is "lasting," which is the desire to live as long as possible. Next is "leaving," where we change from holding on to letting go, and our character becomes more exposed and confirmed. The final stage is "left": "what is left after you have left," and Hillman interweaves all the connotations of that word. --Joan Price

From Publishers Weekly

Our culture treats aging like a disease to be cured, but in this provocative volume, iconoclastic psychologist Hillman, former director of the Jung Institute, describes aging as the process through which character reveals itself. Extending a theory he introduced in his bestselling The Soul's Code, Hillman describes character as a force that shapes our genetic inheritance and all our traits, including seeming irrelevancies, into a unique whole. Applying ancient thought in a galvanizing way, Hillman draws on Plato and Aristotle to develop the idea that there is a form or a paradigm that makes each of us a recognizable individual through all the changes we go through in our lives. While modern psychology, he contends, strains out seemingly subjective qualities like modesty or bravery or timidity, favoring abstractions like "ego" and generalizing profiles, Hillman argues that such qualities are "the ultimate infrastructure" of a body and a life. He describes how the aging tend to shift from a focus on maintaining the health of the body to one on what is important for character. "In later years," he writes, "feelings of altruism and kindness to strangers play a larger role, as if psychological and cultural factors redirect, even override, genetic inheritance and its aim of propagation." Hillman maintains that the debilities of age allow us to better savor the irreducible complexities of character. He also describes a sweetening and softening of the old, including the adoption of concerns of charity over profit. Many of the views here may strike readers as romantic. Still, as always, Hillman breathes new life into a venerable concept, and in so doing helps us to rediscover the soulful possibilities of aging. Author tour; simultaneous audio. (Aug.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

See all Product Description

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
First Sentence
In our competitive societies, "lasting" has come to mean outlasting. Read the first page
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on Aug. 27 1999
Format: Hardcover
I thought about aging in a whole other way after reading this book---and as someone in their fifties, the subject has been much on my mind. James Hillman treats the wonders of old age and aging as reverentially as we always have that of teens and those in their twenties. I hope to maintain my sense of discovery for a long time and this book helped me realize I can and will.
3 of 3 people found this helpful. 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
By A Customer on Sept. 18 1999
Format: Hardcover
Hillman once again underachieves with this one. He wrote some brilliant stuff in the 1970s -- but I guess that was when he was 30 years younger. His writing has deteriorated over the years, and his creativity seems to have gone limp. You have to wonder why the man -- who is, or was, brilliant -- continues to embarrass himself with the string of bland books he has turned out in recent years. An appearance on Oprah Winfrey helped put his previous book on the bestseller list, although the returns of his book to his publisher were allegedly very high and the "bestseller" status was a fluke created by orders from bookstores (like the one I manage). One of the other reviewers said "ho-hum" or something like that, and once again it is true. Maybe his next book should be channelled messages from Carl Jung or seomthing -- at least that would be more fun to read than this book. And maybe more inspiration, too, for members of my advanced age group.
1 of 1 people found this helpful. 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
Format: Paperback
James Hillman, an archetypal depth psychologist, whose post-Jungian conception of the human experience is essentially imaginative, and whose amoral fluctuation between endurance and immaturity lies nascent in the temporal grains of salt which gather and line the throat with ever increasing grab as aging commences upon the personality. Written at an old age, the author speaks clearly against any kind of aging therapy, and humanizes the current malaise which treats aging as a virus.

The author unwraps biological naturalism with the psychological bloom of a mind fermented with insightful, though not inundated, research on the literary and aesthetic character of human aging as a welcoming asset to life, in flagrant contrast to the ceremonial traditionalism of preparing for death, a non-issue in the continuous envelopment of life throughout the growing and falling of seasonal lasting.

Dreams are referred to for their imagistic plentitude in bringing the holistic human experience towards fruition in the entire round of consciousness.

In short, Hillman's psychology is life-affirming unto the limits of modern knowledge-bearing with regard to the biological strength of humankind to age well and vigorously, as an essential presence in social reflection, as a memory of characterful belonging in the psyche of an unconscious gathering of the old triumphant spirit of age in all its mythic fortitude and human vulnerability.

Read Scott London's brilliant interview with the late author: [...]

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
Format: Hardcover
I found the Hillman book to be both provocative and deeply optimistic. Here are ways to view the aging process as something other than a final step toward the grave. Here are wonderful paradigm shifts that nudge the reader to see eternity right here, on this side of the grave. Each chapter shows that all one has to do is open one's eyes to the potential of all the stages of life and keep an eye open to see what each has to offer. This is made most evident in the later and last stages of life. Hillman urges one to see heaven seeping in to life as we age and each chapter gently encouraged to enjoy those gifts now and not set it to something that will materialize only after death. Hillman's style of writing is close tho that of Joseph Campbell in its breath of imagination and arch of line. There are parts that can only be described as poetry in prose. I have recommended this book to many of my friends who are, as I, situated between aging parents and raising children here at home.
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
Format: Hardcover
Those who would label this just another book on aging would likely label the Iliad just another book about some guy lost at sea. "The Force Of Character" is the continuation of literary journey that germinated in "We've Had A Hundred Years Of Pyschotherapy and the World's Getting Worse" and continued to ripen in "The Soul's Code." Hillman in not casual reading, nor is his work inpenetrable. This book waxes nearly poetic at times, something quite unexpected from the bard who oft times mercilessly broadsides our culture's staid notions about salvation through psychoptherapy. While Hillman most always cajoles the soul of the reader to open and partake of his wisdom, this book takes on a quality of reminiscence, of the author and the man - and the character of the man - coming to terms with his own advancing years. Those who seek a book on how to age successfully by accumulation of superficial necessity would do well to read Depak Chopra or another popular icon of spiritual ascent. Hillman will not take us gently into that good night.
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
By A Customer on Jan. 14 2000
Format: Hardcover
I purchased Force of Character because a series of things happened that indicated to me that this was something I should do. I heard two radio interviews with Hillman within a short time and found his ideas resonated and were presented very accessibly; and my mother in law, who is having a lot of trouble adjusting to many aspects of aging, was visiting. Great, I thought. This is stuff I need to explore.
Having read the book, I still find the ideas compelling and important, but my hopes of being able to give it to my mother in law to gently urge her to appreciate where she is were dashed by the self indulgence and turbidity of the writing. I'm glad I read the book, I appreciate the new outlook on aging it's helped me move toward, I'm sure it will figure in many conversations with friends. But I wish it had been written with more grace.
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

Most recent customer reviews