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Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,588 ratings  ·  129 reviews
O knjizi:

“Nije mi namera da ova knjiga bude turobna. Naprotiv, nadam se da ćemo razumevanjem, istinskim razumevanjem ljudskog stanja – naše konačnosti, našeg kratkog boravka na svetlosti – ne samo naučiti da uživamo u dragocenosti svakog trenutka i zadovoljstvu samog postojanja, već i povećati saosećajnost prema sebi i prema svim drugim ljudskim bićima” – piše u pogovoru
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Some smart person, back in the early days of Amazon decided that, while books should be rated on a five-point scale, reviews should be either ‘useful’ or ‘not useful’. Good idea. Something that helps you decide to buy or not-a perfectly binary process-should be judged in a similarly binary fashion. Either it helps or it doesn’t.

A book that makes the immodest claim of helping the reader overcome the terror of death can probably best be judged the same way. Did it help or not?

In spite of the claim

Though a very special view (Epicurist) of the ageing process and the challenges man and woman face throughout, death included, it's a very important book for any psychotherapist,regardless of the philosophical or psychotherapy school espoused.

Yalom cites plenty of clinical cases, including his personal record: as child (his view on Religion), as therapist (his masters,...W.H. Bion, namely) and himself (as father,husband...)... ageing.

[the meaning o
Dec 29, 2009 Talat rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: You who seek to make death an ally of creativity
Shelves: psychotherapy
Yalom, a psychiatrist (Emeritus Stanford University School of Medicine) has written a manual and memoir to show us how he, his patients and many people have been able to transmute the foreknowledge looming before all humans that we will one day die into a catalyst for consummating one's own life. Yalom directly addresses the question of how can we, even if we are not theists leave our own traces of "immortality."

Although Yalom maintains he is an atheist, he demonstrates a great respect and nurtu
It's hard to go wrong with Yalom. Great book on death anxiety. In the couple of years before reading this book I had 4 acquaintances in their early 40's, all with young children, die of cancer. Having young kids myself, I was really starting to worry about my an untimely death of my own. I wouldn't say reading this book fixed all that, because hey, none of us know how long we have, but was a good exploration of the topic.

I read this about a year ago and had quit putting reviews up on Goodreads b
“To become wise you must learn to listen to the wild dogs barking in your cellar”

Yalom’s new book about overcoming the terror of death was a surprise to me. Although I have thought about death, I am not afraid of death itself. Even at this age – approaching 50 - my thoughts are mainly consumed with making plans about the future, and definitely not death.

Nevertheless, I read this book with great interest. I was surprised to discover that Yalom refers to the knowledge and tranquillity he found in
This book was sent for review.

To be sure, the subject matter of this book greatly interested me at first, even though the book was written in a somewhat simplistic style that I'm not really used to.

I've always been concerned and perhaps even obsessed with matters of death and the existential dilemma; however, as this book went on, with some great quotes from Nietzsche by the way, the author begins to show his true colours. He doesn't seem very fond of religion, the idea of "God," or anything spi
Usually any book written by Yalom would get close to five stars and this probably should be rated higher by me....The reason I went lower is probably due more to my wanting to avoid the subject matter....death. And then in addition to the subject not being "happy" Yalom's view of death equating to consciousness ceasing to exist (that's all folks) goes against the years of upbringing that I have never questioned (at least the life after death aspect). Now I do have to say that I "get" why Yalom b ...more
Feb 10, 2010 K rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: therapists in particular, but many people would probably like it
Shelves: professionallit
Yalom frequently poses the following thought experiment to his clients:

Suppose you were told that after your death, you were destined to relive your entire life exactly as it is, with all the same choices and all the same consequences.

1. Would that be a reward or a punishment?
2. What can you do now in your life so that one year or five years from now, you won't look back and feel dismayed about the new regrets you've accumulated?
3. Even if you are subject to forces which seem beyond your contro
This book is beautifully written and flows like a conversation. It addresses the difficult (for many) topic of facing our own mortality and how to turn the knowledge of our mortality into a force for living better. While Yalom directly addresses fellow therapists in one part of the book, it is still an approachable and useful read for anyone. Coming from my perspective as a future existential therapist, this was a perfect read.

Yalom addresses the different ways death anxiety can show up in our
Hilal Altun
Ölümü düşünmek güneşe bakmak gibidir, uzun süre yapamazsın diyor yazar... Ölüm anksiyetesini varoluşsal yaklaşımlarla azaltmaya çalışıyor ve klinik örneklerle bu konuda yalnız olmadığımızı hissettiriyor. Kitaptaki Nietzsche'nin düşünce deneyi beni çok etkiledi... Ayrıca Çekoslavak varoluşçu yazar Milan Kundera'dan yaptığı alıntı bir kaç gündür aklımda: "Aslında unutma davranışı hayatın içinde her zaman var olan bir ölüm biçimidir.” Gerçekten öyle değil mi?
Privind soarele în faţă, cartea lui Irvin D. Yalom tradusă la noi la Editura Vellant, tratează subiectul morţii şi anxietatea privind efemeritatea noastră. Cartea cuprinde lucrurile pe care Yalom le-a învăţat despre depăşirea fricii de moarte în lucrul cu pacienţii săi, dar nu este un compendiu de reflecţii despre moarte, ci este mai mult o carte personală prin intermediul căreia autorul ne ajută să supravieţuim lucrului pe care toţi îl avem în comun: rana mortalităţii, viermele din miezul exist ...more
I honestly think Yalom is the only author who can write a self-help kind of book without ruining everything completely. His writing is really good and, as always, he makes me think of and at things. And think with seriousness, not just skim through important matters and forget, but compare, question, ponder on an endless basis of notions and concepts.
An inspiring and educational read. Although non-fictional, this book is easy to read and a very interesting approach to anxiety and death.
Oblivion: not just a bad Tom Cruise movie, but also, according to Yalom, what each of us face when it's our turn to pop our clogs. Hmm, I'm not entirely sure how that concept helps with facing death anxiety. I'm not a strong believer in the afterlife (I'll let you know if there is one when I get there), but Yalom's approach that there is nothing - yes NOTHING AT ALL waiting for you when you die is quite scary, isn't it? He argues that since we will cease to exist we won't care that there's nothi ...more
The Ultimate Fear of a Human: The Death Anxiety

The fear of death confronts all human beings at some stage in life, especially the old age. This fear is as old as the evolution of human beings. The author is an eminent psychiatrist, and he discusses the results of some of his case studies, and provides some insights in this area. The book is described in seven chapters. After a brief introduction (chapter 1), the author describes the symptoms of death anxiety (chapter 2), and how to confront it (
This book was recommended by a friend for me to read the chapter on Phil whom she said resembles me a little. But to my surprise the part of that character is quite small, I did not get the point of that story, nor did I get a lot of other stories told. There was another story about a religious man came in with paintings of his dreams and wanted to explore the significance of such, Yalom tried to convince his sense of "god" onto "himself" simply because "it is yourself who did it didn't it?" to ...more
David Elliott
Irvin Yalom is, after Rollo May, the most influential proponent of existential psychotherapy in the United States. A longtime faculty member at Stanford University, his texts remain influential at all levels of study and practice; additionally, his novels have been widely read and appreciated. This book is his relatively recent (2008/2009) examination of the universal human anxiety about death and how best to encounter and treat this anxiety in the therapy session. With characteristic depth of i ...more
Michael Bambery

Glad I read this book. I think the general premise of the book is true, the more (directly) we think about our mortality the more we are liberated. It is certainly a sobering book at times, however, and perhaps not for everyone. I also disagree with some of his interpretations of epicurean philosophy. That being said, Yalom is Yalom and he remains one of my favorite authors.
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
I discovered this through this excellent radio show's (the complete archive can be found here ) interview with the author:

Overcoming the Terror of Death: A Discussion with Irv Yalom in Front of a Live Audience
Jason Verwey
great read! Irvin Yalom is brilliant. I would recommend reading anything he writes. I can't think of another writer out there with the same point of view as Yalom. This book especially. It my universe it would be required reading for every human being. I never read truer words than Yalom's.
Annie Merrill
I love Yalom...reading anything by him reminds me of why I chose to become a therapist. This book is a great resource for therapists and for anyone interested in learning how to confront our existential issues!
Jt O'Neill
I have enjoyed Irvin Yalom's books since my grad school days and "Staring at the Sun" did not disappoint. Yalom is a masterful storyteller who weaves knowledge and insights into the stories. I appreciated the opportunity this book gave me to move myself a bit closer to being alive. Death can be a tough topic to consider and most people don't want to think about it. I applaud Yalom for having the courage to write and intelligent and thoughtful reflection on the inevitable. I highly recommend this ...more
I am a very big Irvin D. Yalom fan. The first book I read was "Love's Executioner." Then I bought the rest. "Lying on the Couch" and "When Nietsche Wept" are novels. Several of the others are like the first--tales from his experience as a psychotherapist. He has been a professor at Stanford for years. This most recent book is about sessions with a wide range of individuals experiencing a terror of death. I have a friend and a relative who are experiencing terror at the thought of dying. I picked ...more
This is a fantastic book and it has really helped me face my death anxiety. My death anxiety has been terrible for such a long time and nothing has offered any relief until I picked this book up. I am still obsessing about death but I am starting to see it in a new light and my fear is gradually fading and being replaced by a feeling of freedom, I love life and my eyes are open fully.

I have several anxiety disorders but reading this book has shown me that most of my anxiety is down to my absolu
This is actually my second time reading this book. I originally read it in 2009 as part of a college course on death, but reading it now has given it much greater meaning as it deals with thought about existence and mortality that became more present after college graduation and leaving the bastion of infinite vitality that college dorms tend to be.

Reading this in tandem with the Dalai Lama's "The Art of Happiness" was a happy accident, as the two texts dovetail well in their content and ideas-
Dr. Yalom says that everyone, on some level, lives in fear of his own mortality and as that fear manifests in manifold ways it hampers our enjoyment of the moment to moment pleasures of living.

(I'm no expert, but I say if you're one of those claiming not to be freaked out by the prospect of your own end, well, you're just not paying close enough attention to what your subconscious is yelling at you! Think Munch's painting "The Scream".)

The author explores conclusions that some philosophers have
A longtime psychoanalyst, Yalom argues that it’s important for each of us to face our mortality head-on, with full awareness. Although such awareness is difficult, bringing with it great anxiety, it can motivate us to embrace life and to live more fully and compassionately. As he puts it, “Although the physicality of death destroys us, the idea of death saves us” (33). Yalom offers Ebenezer Scrooge, Pierre Bezukhov, and Ivan Ilych as literary examples of people who had “awakening experiences,” t ...more
"Death makes me live more in each moment- valuing the sheer pleasure of awareness, and increasing our compassion for ourselves and others" Yalom

The person who recommended I read this book also said that when she first saw it on the shelf she recoiled in terror after reading the title. Thinking of death is not something most of us do. Yalom wrote on this topic of death and refocused more on living than dying. He states that when we look it in the eye and come to terms with its unavoidable truth
If the many, many vignettes taken from his personal sessions are any indication, Dr. Yalom is an excellent therapist. His approach to patients appears to have enough detachment to be professional without losing any of the intense connection that therapy is supposed to both foster and maintain. His writing isn't florid or fancy, and he doesn't hide behind obscure terminologies or lofty proclamations.

However, although the man himself may be accomplished (seventy-five years young, he has many credi
Aurelia Brouwers
I really like a book about death. It's a topic most people tend to avoid but it's something that connects us with eachother: everyone will at some time die. So I started this book with much motivation.

I am happy I didn't buy the book since it is never worth the money. Yalom discusses death, that's a good thing, and the book had many beautiful quotes which I wrote down to remember, but in fact, that's the only reason why this book gets 3/5 instead of 2/5.
Yalom uses this book, at least that's my o
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Unflinching, brilliant, profound …. 1 17 Mar 01, 2008 03:53PM  
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Irvin David Yalom, M.D., is an author of fiction and nonfiction, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University, an existentialist, and accomplished psychotherapist.
More about Irvin D. Yalom...
When Nietzsche Wept Love's Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy The Schopenhauer Cure

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