Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life: Opening Your Heart to Confidence, Intimacy, and Joy” as Want to Read:
How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life: Opening Your Heart to Confidence, Intimacy, and Joy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life: Opening Your Heart to Confidence, Intimacy, and Joy

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  195 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
"Susan Piver shows us how to create a fearless life." -Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Healthy Aging

"…a beautiful book about how to overcome fear and be empowered in your life…"

-Susan Orloff, M.D., author of Positive Energy

In this inspirational and practical guide to conquering fear and embracing joy, Susan Piver gives you the tools you need to break down the barriers that ar
Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published April 3rd 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 437)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 30, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Piver shares some of the best explanations of Buddhist ideas I've encountered. Her insights on fear, fear's antidotes, and our relationships with ourselves and others were helpful and meaningful. Her honest personal stories were often reassuring. I liked her short, practical recommendations for dealing with fear in the moment. I connected with and benefited from a lot in this book.

That said, this book suffers from some structural issues, including an incoherent conclusion. The book culminates in
Nov 01, 2015 Cara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book about how to approach life with balance, acceptance, and equanimity. It also includes instructions for a 7-day retreat. I want to do that, maybe starting this coming weekend. And, awesomely enough, you can buy that part as a Kindle book so you can still do it even though the main book has to go back to the library! :)

p. 40
"One good way of testing whether your motivation is rooted in skillful action or stuck in emotional sludge or codependence is to check for your s
Paul Bard
I understand the need to create an interesting title, but I take titles at their word when they make a promise. So when I read this book, it was to answer one question: how to overcome fear.

The answer is on pages 129-130. The way to overcome fear is to create confidence, and the way to create confidence is to share something real, authentic, and undoubtedly true. In the case of this book, the "undoubtedly true" stuff shared in Tibetan Buddhist Mahayana meditation practices.

In fact, Mahayana medi
I liked how this book was concise and relatable. The author lets her personality shine through in a way that encourages readers who are intrigued but maybe intimidated by using meditation and Buddhist ideals as tools for their own lives. The book is a good source to pick up for quick reference when one is starting a routine practice for the first time or just getting back on track. I have to agree that the final chapters ask a lot from a beginner (and even non-beginners) which is surprising cons ...more
Jun 01, 2012 Jayme rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a clear and accessible introduction to Buddhist ideas and the author keeps it interesting by offering personal stories and insights. The story about Captain Denny still makes me tear up a little bit. The audiobook version of this book is great and offers a great support to some of the meditation techniques discussed.

I gave it three stars because I detested the 'seven day meditation' programme that takes up half of the book. I don't what planet this author lives on, but I don't know
Aug 24, 2010 Tricia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Piver's How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life just didn't hold my attention—I made it about halfway through to page 108.

Calling it Buddhism 101 or Meditation Lite would be unfair, but I just didn't find much substance. Although I learned quite a deal about her decision to pursue Buddhism and how she uses it to deal with her life, the book didn't really deliver on its title. I was looking for insight, not "here's something you might try because it worked for me."

The book, I think, would have bee
Aug 15, 2011 Clara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't a particularly well-written book, and it's not the only meditation book you should own or read. Having said that, it's accessible and gets the job done. One of its strengths is its 'groundedness.' You get the sense that Piver is pretty much like yourself and that, therefore, what she's suggesting you do -- establish a disciplined meditation practice -- may well be as helpful to you as it has been to her. She also brings a sense of joy to her expression of her meditation practice that ...more
This is a meditation how-to book with a focus on working through fear issues. I got some good meditation techniques from this book, but The "7-Day Freedom From Fear Meditation Program," which is an annoyingly oversimplified concept to begin with, starts out by requiring a slightly unrealistic 36-hour solo retreat. She suggests going to a spa or a spiritual retreat center, or if you can't do that then staying at a motel! Then as a last resort she gives suggestions for creating a spa ...more
Kristal Cooper
Oct 27, 2015 Kristal Cooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Terrible name for a very good book about meditation and Buddha dharma. There are at least a hundred useful thoughts and exercises here that I plan to revisit when I feel the need to re-focus on myself. I also plan on loaning this to a few family members who need to be kinder to themselves.
Jan 09, 2016 Jocinda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Too much narrative about the author's own life, and the meditation techniques are not in line with my own. As with all self help books, take what works for you and discard the rest. I got one thing only from this book: the question "what can't I say?"
Jay Bhayani
Jan 28, 2014 Jay Bhayani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only read this as I am starting to get into Buddhism and the author was one of the names I recognised from some Internet searching. I'm very glad I did read it. It is possibly titled a little inaccurately as it doesn't tell you it's about Buddhism or meditation but for me it couldn't have come at a better time.
Jan 11, 2013 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is much less self-helpy than the title would lead you to believe. Susan guides the reader through the principles and practice of Shamatha meditation; of sitting with and letting go of your thoughts, feelings, and physical responses to emotion; and of working through the barriers that we put up in life, to protect us from feeling uncomfortable. But she doesn't do this in a super teachy way; instead, she relates it directly to her own life experiences--with relationships, employers, stra ...more
Byron Despres-Berry
My intro to Buddhism, mindfulness, meditation, and fear management. Timely.
Jun 07, 2014 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good practical book on medication
Elsha  Craig
Feb 26, 2014 Elsha Craig rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. The technique of working with the passion of heartbreak I use a few times a day. I've been divorced now for seven years and some wounds still feel fresh. It's nice to know that the pain won't last forever, This book has really helped me. I still have to do the 7 day meditation program, but I need to talk to a medical professional first. The examples from her own life were also helpful.
Oct 10, 2008 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone willing to see potential of others' beliefs and practices
Recommended to Susan by: Susan Piver, author
Shelves: keeper, author-gift
I was most flattered to receive this book as a gift from author Susan Piver who I am lucky to know via twitter and I found it to be an excellent resource for anyone willing to see potential of others' beliefs and practices.

I found it inspiring to read of the author's own experiences and how she used these techniques to live a life of joy, not fear. That alone is a daunting job and this is a book I'll keep nearby in the months ahead as I go through my cancer treatment.
Feb 18, 2010 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It is somewhat difficult to rate this book at this time. Most of the book reiterated basic Shamatha Buddhist mediation ideas and ways to practice. This was a good review, but the 7 day Meditation Program is somewhat involved and is recommended to be undertaken when you have already established a meditatiion practice. The 7 day plan is intriguing and it sounds like it would be a wonderful do-it-yourself retreat to try at a later date. I may change my rating then.
I relish the moment when you discover a new path of understanding. Piver explains meditation as actually our mind's natural state, so it is not something you learn. Rather, it is something you return to and rediscover. I LOVE that notion. And now I can connect with that thought whenever I feel my mind becoming a swell of butterflies. This book breaks the practice of meditation into practical + inspiring common sense that any reader can navigate with grace.
Caroline Crayons
I had high hopes for this book since I am so interested in mindfulness and other buddhist practices. This struck me as having been written from the head. There are far too many personal, coy asides for my taste. There were a few good passages, especially those covering the practice of Loving-Kindness. Also, it rubs me the wrong way when people speak of "becoming Buddhist." Rather it is something that one practices for the duration of one's life.
Jul 19, 2008 Anthony rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: wannabe buddhists
I went to the library, looking for a book to read, and found this one. I don't think it's quite what I was looking for - I had hoped to pick up a Pema Chodron-type tome, but this was fine. There is a nice plan for a seven-day personal meditation and reflection session near the end of the book, if you would like to try that. I also liked some of the stories the author contributed about her own life. Thank you Susan for writing this book.
Feb 07, 2012 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: denver-library
Ugh, it pains me to give this book only 3 stars because I really love Susan Piver. This book, however, is not really breaking any grounds on meditation, and Pema Chodron is much better for an overview of using Buddhism in your real life. BUT! The chapter on relationships in this book is excellent. Really, really excellent. I've reread it a few times already.

And the title? Embarrassing to read in public, frankly. :(
Jul 23, 2008 Katherine rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book by the author of the 100 Questions series. Through a discussion of the issues she's faced head-on in her own life, Piver illuminates the role that meditation can play in helping to overcome fear, self-doubt, and many other barriers to happiness and intimacy in our lives. The book includes a guide to meditation and instructions for a self-guided meditation retreat. Highly recommended!
Aug 09, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
Contains some wonderful meditations and thoughts on the nature of fear. A very VERY basic intro to Shamatha style meditation and Buddhism. The friendly, conversational tone made it a pleasure to read through some concepts that could otherwise have been slow going. I'll be returning to this book periodically. It's got some nice, simple one-liners that knock things into perspective.

Apr 25, 2008 Grace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book-- I am not a buddhist but i do like many of their concepts. Susan Piver writes with an authentic voice, I love what she has to say about relationships and marriage. She has a 7 day retreat in the book and on her website. I used the format and enjoyed 5 of the 7 days. I would use her format again and be more aware of stopping when I was really done.
Jan 18, 2010 Leah rated it really liked it
Shelves: wishlist
I really like this book. I thought it was a great introduction into some great meditation techniques. I would love to do the self retreat in the book but unfortunately just started classes and was unable to take the 36 hours to myself. I would definitely like to get the book when more time is available and do just that.
Feb 15, 2013 Gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had such hopes for this book. Maybe I was just too busy when I was reading to concentrate on it fully, but I didn't really get much out of it. It seemed to ramble about unrelated things and didn't really say much about overcoming fear, which I thought was the whole premise of the book.
Jul 02, 2013 Siobhan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
A good book for beginners and anyone who has hit some roadblocks especially where great self expectations are concerned. Her writing is direct, clear and with heart that I think most readers can connect with.
Jenn Givler
Jul 28, 2011 Jenn Givler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like Susan Piver's down-to-Earth style. Not only does she have a great perspective on meditation, but she gives great insight into how meditation can help you make changes in your life.
Melinda Flaugher
If you need a basic book about buddist mediation,then this is the one for you. I feel that the seven day mediation program was more for someone that was more experienced with mediation.
May 11, 2008 Satia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: buddhism, medtiation, inspiration
This is one I strongly recommend to anyone who is interested in meditation. Read my full review for more:
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art
  • The EFT Manual
  • Emotional Sobriety: From Relationship Trauma to Resilience and Balance
  • Emotional Resilience: Simple Truths for Dealing with the Unfinished Business of Your Past
  • Choosing ME Before WE
  • The Think Big Manifesto: Think You Can't Change Your Life (and the World?) Think Again.
  • It's Not about the Money: Unlock Your Money Type to Achieve Spiritual and Financial Abundance
  • Jailed for Freedom: American Women Win the Vote
  • A Resilient Life: You Can Move Ahead No Matter What
  • The New Global Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition, and Get a Truly International Education
  • Keeping the Love You Find
  • Echoing Silence: Thomas Merton on the Vocation of Writing
  • The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life
  • Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End
  • Awake at Work: 35 Practical Buddhist Principles for Discovering Clarity and Balance in the Midst of Work's Chaos
  • Why Sh*t Happens: The Science of a Really Bad Day
  • Awakening to the Sacred: Creating a Personal Spiritual Life
  • Co-Opetition
Author of "The Wisdom of a Broken Heart," "How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life" (winner of Books for a Better Life's best spiritual book of 2007), and the NY Times best seller, "The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say 'I Do'".

My next book is "Start Here Now: An Open Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation" will be published in September 2015.

I'm extremely i
More about Susan Piver...

Share This Book

“Meditating with a goal or in order to accomplish something is not giving the practice a fair shake.Instead let yourself off the self-improvement treadmill, and simply be with yourself in your natural state. The practice isn't about achieving something. It's about letting go.” 3 likes
“Tranquility, compassion, and wisdom are the components of fearlessness, not power, control, and remaining unaffected.” 0 likes
More quotes…