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The Way Of Transition: Embracing Life's Most Difficult Moments
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2001
I read Bridges' "Transitions" about four years ago, when I had just been laid off unexpectedly from my job, and I found it extremely helpful and reassuring. So I bought this book mostly out of curiosity how Bridges himself would handle one of life's most painful transitions. He begins by alternating between an autobiographical account of his wife's final illness and death, and more theoretical chapters discussing transitions in general. But as the story continues with his stunned reaction to her death, and his attempts to embark on the next phase of his life, the personal and the theoretical merge. I was impressed by his honesty -- he's candid about his self-doubts, about himself and his late wife (warts and all), and about the joys and struggles in their 37-year marriage. This made his story all the more compelling by showing him not as the all-knowing "expert," but as someone who's gained his expertise from hard-won personal experience. As he points out repeatedly, life changes don't follow a neat, predictable pattern; but if we embrace the process of transition and are open to what it brings, everything DOES work out eventually (his tentative, bumbling attempts at dating a casual acquaintance develop into love and a second marriage). The book is a fascinating story, but along the way I learned a great deal about life transitions in general (every parent should read his remarks about planning your children's lives!). And at a time when we in the US have just gone through a painful transition ourselves, and are struggling to redefine ourselves and our role in the world, I found his remarks surprisingly relevant on a larger scale too.
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on November 28, 2001
In the wide-ranging realm of self-help books, "The Way of Transition" is something of a cross between "Passages" and "Tuesdays with Morrie." Like "Passages," it describes in simple, easily understood terms the stages one goes through when dealing with an important life transition. Like "Tuesdays," it draws on a painful yet inspirational encounter with fatal illness - in this case, that of the author's wife.
Those attempting to deal with big transitions in their lives are likely to find this book comforting and helpful. I did. But don't pick it up if you're looking for easy answers, clever techniques, or lists of things to do to turn your life around. As the author himself puts it, the "way" in the book's title is meant to describe a path, not a technique. So his approach is more descriptive than prescriptive. He wants to help you understand what you're going through but doesn't presume to have the answers. He leaves it up to you to figure out what to do.
Bridges' main point is a fairly simple one: that the rootless, confusing transition period one undergoes following a death in the family, divorce, career change or other transformative event should be embraced, not avoided or evaded. These difficult periods of transition, he argues, are precisely the times when we are most likely to be creative and open to inspiration. He illuminates this deceptively simple message with stories from his own life, especially how he dealt with his late wife's battle with cancer. He also sprinkles in lots of poignant quotes from others to help get the point across.
At times, the book borders on the spiritual. There is an underlying assumption that each of us has a sort of personal spiritual quest buried within us and that the purpose of our lives - and all those painful transitions - is to somehow coax out this latent quest and bring us a little closer to enlightenment. Most people who read self-help stuff would probably accept that assumption. But those whose temperament and tastes are more clinical than spiritual might find this short volume a little too warm and fuzzy.
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on January 10, 2001
If you have read any of his earlier work, you already know of Bill Bridges' honest, witty and compelling style. It is his generosity and wisdom that are at the heart of this, his newest book. More than 3-years ago, the pending and eventual death of his wife, Mondi, called him to reexamine every aspect of his 25+ years of experience helping thousands deal with transition. This deeply emotional time also afforded him the opportunity to explore in detail his 37-year relationship with Mondi. His heartfelt descriptions of the trauma serve as an opening for him to share how he came to know himself and his wife in very honest ways. He also is able to tell of his renewal...his new love and second wife Susan. Interspersed with the touching narrative, Bill revisits his thoughts about how transition holds out the promise of renewal. This book made me cry, allowed me to laugh and touched me deeply.
It is difficult to imagine him giving the world a more honest, touching, and thoughtful gift.
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on January 19, 2001
My wife recently passed away after a three year battle with breast cancer. I happened to see this book in a bookstore and was drawn to it because I'd read Bill Bridges' earlier books and found them insightful and refreshing. But I was totally unprepared for my personal connection to this book, which was written after Bill lost his wife through an almost identical struggle with cancer. It was as if he was telling my story and then helping me to both get through my own deep sadness and make some sense out of the painful process of mourning and grieving. This book does deal with transitions but it deals with much more and does so with great openness, sensitivity, and wisdom. I strongly recommend it to anyone dealing with the process of grief for the loss of a loved one. I learned far more from this book than I learned from any of the many books specifically written on that subject.
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on January 25, 2001
My wife recently passed away after a three year battle with breast cancer. I bought this book because I'd read Bill Bridges' earlier books and found them insightful and refreshing. But I was totally unprepared for my personal connection to this particular book, which was written after Bill lost his wife through an almost identical struggle with cancer. It was as if he was telling my story and then helping me to both get through my own deep sadness and make some sense out of the painful process of mourning and grieving. This book does deal with transitions but it deals with much more and does so with great openness, sensitivity, and wisdom. I strongly recommend it to anyone dealing with the process of grief for the loss of a loved one. I learned far more from this book than I learned from any of the many books specifically written on that subject.
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on April 20, 2001
Bridges work is valuable from so many perspectives. Reading it is embarking on a journey through the lens of a expert in transition. Or one can say an ordinary man touched by a deep loss, or a friend reaching out to others by sharing his pain, or as a mentor/healer allowing others to re-live his personal journey and in doing so, discover and make new meanings on their own journey. As a Ph.D. student whose focus of research and future dissertation will be on career crisis, transition and renewal, Bridges work further validates my own personal/professional transitions as journeys of learning and discovery, and openness to the "neutral zone". One of the very best books I have read in this subject area.
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on April 20, 2001
Bridges work is valuable from so many perspectives. Reading it is embarking on a journey through the lens of a expert in transition. Or one can say an ordinary man touched by a deep loss, or a friend reaching out to others by sharing his pain, or as a mentor/healer allowing others to re-live his personal journey and in doing so, discover and make new meanings on their own journey. As a Ph.D. student whose focus of research and future dissertation will be on career crisis, transition and renewal, Bridges work further validates my own personal/professional transitions as journeys of learning and discovery, and openness to the "neutral zone". One of the very best books I have read in this subject area.
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on April 19, 2001
Bridges work is valuable from so many perspectives. Reading it is embarking on a journey through the lens of a expert in transition. Or one can say an ordinary man touched by a deep loss, or a friend reaching out to others by sharing his pain, or as a mentor/healer allowing others to re-live his personal journey and in doing so, discover and make new meanings on their own journey. As a Ph.D. student whose focus of research and future dissertation will be on career crisis, transition and renewal, Bridges work further validates my own personal/professional transitions as journeys of learning and discovery, and openness to the "neutral zone". One of the very best books I have read in this subject area.
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on January 24, 2001
Having read all of Bill Bridges books I came to this with the expectation that I would gain additional insight into managing transitions, especially that ever recurring and potentially most uncomfortable "neutral zone." My expectation was not only met, but exceeded, as I could sense the very deep emotional level that Bill had to reach in order to write about his own most personal transitions. This is a book of courage and anyone who reads it cannot help but be moved. In using his own experiences, Bill provides the reader guidelines to managing transitions in their own lives. That is a gift!
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on January 25, 2001
I was familiar with Bridges' Transition work in a corporate setting -- but this book brought "transitions" to a much more personal level. He put words to the confusion and feelings that I had been grappling with myself. William Bridges has written an important resource to living more consciously as we move through life's phases of death and rebirth. This is a wonderful book particularly for those faced with "life's most difficult moments".
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