Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change in a Nonlinear Age

Bruce Feiler. Penguin, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-1-59420-682-5
Feiler (Council of Dads), host of PBS’s Sacred Journeys, offers in this insightful work timely suggestions for anyone adapting to significant life changes. His personal experiences, including his father’s Parkinson’s diagnosis and subsequent suicidal thoughts, and Feiler’s own bout with cancer and near-bankruptcy, motivated him to study if the ways personal narratives are crafted can help one weather difficult times. To that end, he launched the Life Story Project, soliciting 225 life stories from Americans living in all 50 states and of “all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life.” He measures each story against 57 variables, such as how old a person was when they experienced transitions and the life advice they found most useful, and concludes that the idea that certain things should happen as part of the normal “stages of life” (or that everyone goes through a series of life passages) is mistaken and harmful. He also presents evidence discrediting the notion of the midlife crisis and demonstrates that everyone’s life contains multiple significant “upheavals and uncertainties,” which should thus be accepted as normal, contrary to conventional wisdom. The findings buttress practical suggestions for responding to major change, including identifying emotions, giving up old mindsets, testing alternatives, and seeking help from others. This logical, persuasive resource will resonate with any self-help reader. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/01/2020
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-101-98051-4
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