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Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up Paperback – Mar 16 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham Books (March 16 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592402070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592402076
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The midlife crisis is familiar enough, but as in previous works, Hollis (The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning at Midlife), brings a Jungian perspective to it that goes deeper than the idea of finding mere self-fulfillment. That feeling that you've been living the wrong life, that you're lost and confused, is "an insurgency of the soul," he says poetically, which "overthrows the conscious conduct of our lives." This mental suffering presents an opportunity to embark on a journey transcending expectations foisted on us by others, such as parents, and to find true self-knowledge. Hollis offers not a simple how-to on facing this crisis, but rather a deep Jungian exploration of individuation, the process of becoming the person one was meant to be. Sprinkling his discussion with references to prose, drama, poetry and popular culture as well as examples from patient histories, Hollis recommends working toward a mature spirituality by being true to personal experience and embracing the mystery of life. This spirituality is a reconnection to the voice of the soul, dramatized by images that appear to us in dreams. Hollis is humane and compassionate regarding the human condition, and his focus on the underlying meaning of life will resonate for many, though they may not respond to his somewhat mystical, god-laden language. (May 1) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“How to find your way out of the woods (figuratively)…what’s at stake is what Hollis calls the biggest project of midlife: reclaiming one’s personal authority…”More magazine "Midlife is a time when people can lose their way and flounder. Jungian analyst James Hollis knows this terrain, describes it well and asks the important questions that can lead to clarity, maturity, and meaning"—Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., author of Goddesses in Everywoman and Gods in Everyman

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Getting older, we look back on events and wonder, "What was I thinking?". This is not to be lamented (unless you did some truly nasty things), it is part of the process of learning about life, of maturing. We humans are imperfect and will always be. The primary purpose of this book is to make you more "conscious" of your choices and move you to a more reasoned and mature level.

I use an example. I have a friend who has been divorced 17 years. Despite his many (non self recognized) eccentricities and way of being that would not be easy to live with, the breakup of his marriage was always and remains the exclusive fault of his wife. She was not perfect, but to believe it was all her fault is for my friend to ignore his reality - or as the author says, to not be "conscious" - is a psychological dead end.

Another friend has been divorced for 10 years. At the outset he was bitter and blaming of his wife. But over time he began to recognize there were things he brought to the relationship that were negative, that he was not perfect, nor his ex-wife imperfect. In fact he began to realize there were many strong points in the relationship, which he appreciated and valued in retrospect. It happened these feelings were reciprocated and over time the two became friends again.

What a better ending to the second story. Not only better in that the couple resolved their differences, but better in that they recognized on both sides that much value had been given each by one another. Yet more critically from the position of my second friend, he left the anger and bitterness still being experienced by my first friend - he went to a new, more reasoned and happier level. He in effect "grew up" - though there will always be room for more given our human imperfections.

This is not a glitzy self help book. Nor is it a quick read, it requires concentration and thought. But I think it is one fine book, a bit exceptional I believe.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting and thought provoking book, not what I expected to read but better. A glimpse at soul searching.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great service and goods
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa146fad4) out of 5 stars 161 reviews
212 of 221 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa148766c) out of 5 stars Forget Dr. Phil - Here's the Real Deal!! May 3 2005
By Ava - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
James Hollis is far and away the most brilliant psychologist of our time. His latest contribution to a series of books I cannot live without is as exceptional as the rest. In an intelligent and thought-provoking manner, Hollis encourages the reader to examine what lies under the emptiness at mid-life despite having attained all of society's achievements such as marriage, career and financial success. He challenges us to discover what forces and fears formed us, and how our lives have been shaped as a result. His words lead you towards finding meaning and also a personal spiritual connection for your life. This is no "Step One: Do This" and "Step Two: Do That" formula that is all too common in self help literature. Instead, Hollis takes you to the place where you can actually understand why you do what you do, why your intimate relationships fail, why your work lacks meaning, and why you feel disconnected from the world around you. He teaches you how your responses to normal anxiety have taken you further and further away from understanding your life by avoiding the things that discomfort you. He gives you the courage to put aside your frenzied existence, and confront the wounds carried since childhood. I feel blessed to live in Houston where Hollis heads the C.G. Jung Educational Center and routinely teaches. It is rare to have access to such great wisdom. This book and the many others by Hollis, most especially The Eden Project, provide readers an opportunity to access the knowledge and experience of the world's leading expert on Jungian psychology. My life has been completely changed by learning from Hollis.
69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa14876c0) out of 5 stars Engaging, compassionate, insightful and wise Dec 6 2005
By Gail D. Storey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book, really a synthesis of many undercurrents of psychological wisdom explored in contemporary terms. I savored it over several weeks, reading a few pages a day, so that I could fully absorb and reflect on James Hollis's insights. Both penetrating and accessible, the book also provided a common vocabulary to talk over the real issues with a friend going through a hard time. ("This book is me," was how he expressed his feelings of relief and validation.)

James Hollis writes with clarity and compassion about profound and complex dilemmas, in a deeply engaging way that reflects his personal and professional experience. The best thing about FINDING MEANING IN THE SECOND HALF OF LIFE is that rather than providing easy answers it asks the right questions, so that one is inspired to further evolve toward her own truth. I also recommend James Hollis's other books for their soulful exploration of meaning that can be pragmatically and creatively absorbed.
63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa148799c) out of 5 stars So Helpful and Provocative! Aug. 6 2005
By Joanna - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've read a ton of books about psychology and the inner life. The vast majority are so simplistic as to be mind-numbing. Hollis is, I think, the best psychologist writing today, and this latest (I recommned ALL of his previous books) is an empassioned guide towards getting real with yourself. The best "self-help" book I have ever read. I think it should be required reading for everyone when they turn 40.

Rock on, James!
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1487eb8) out of 5 stars A Classic Oct. 17 2005
By GrantC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is not a book that will give you sequential bits of advice on how to change your life but will instead offer insights which will encourage internal changes through the increased knowledge of our own personal and human condition.

Neither is it a book, at least for me, to be read at one sitting. But it is a pleasure to read in small bits and then ponder what was just read.

I gave a copy to an alcholic friend of mine, who is also looking for some deeper understandings in life, and he said it was the most important book he'd read since he quit drinking over 20 years ago. It is not a 'how to' book, but if you approach it with some patience and curiousity you will be immensely rewarded.
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1487ed0) out of 5 stars A Good Read, A Good Guide May 11 2005
By E&T Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In these times of extensive power-posturing, blame and fear-mongering from our leaders, it is a relief to have this voice of genuine strength and courage gently working its way into our psyche and society. This voice is James Hollis, Ph.D and he blazes the path toward giving meaning to the second half of our lives.

We can learn how to forgive the unavoidable mistake called "the first half of our life" and go confidently forward into the second, with our compassionate guide, James Hollis.

With his writings, he serves as the scout that we need to enter this uncharted territory within ourselves. We need not be scared to enter these depths. We can do this effectively if we read and heed the words of this sage.

I credit Hollis and his book "Eden Project, in Search of the Magical Other" for saving my marriage. I would recommend this book to anyone in a relationship. Hollis will guide you in an eloquent way through relationships and where we tend to go wrong in them. I look around me, at all the dissatisfied couples and think, they could save a lot of misery and money if instead of getting new partners, sports cars and face lifts, they just bought a copy of the Eden Project. It is not light reading, it is not band-aid psychology, but it is well worth the effort.

Now Dr. Hollis will guide us through the second half of life with this book. This is the stuff of real strength, written by a real hero. He has lead us to the promised land that is within.