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Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  1,278 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
Whether it is chosen or thrust upon you, change brings both opportunities and turmoil. Since first published 25 years ago, Transitions has helped hundreds of thousands of readers cope with these issues by providing an elegantly simple yet profoundly insightful roadmap of the transition process. With the understanding born of both personal and professional experience, Willi ...more
Kindle Edition, Revised 25th Anniversary Edition
Published (first published January 1st 1980)
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Oct 21, 2008 Alexis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alexis by: Kaari
This little book is one of the first that I've read that deals with all the psychological and relational shifts involved in a state of transition or change. I wish I'd read this earlier in my life.

This could be read by anyone who has left school, gotten married, lost a partner, changed jobs or careers, lost a family member or had a baby. So in other words, everyone!

It's not self-helpy and it's not esoteric. It's very practical and allows one to reflect on times of change.

***I first heard about i
Oct 26, 2007 Bernice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our area received this book from AVR. Every section I read has been helpful during my time of transition. He just names the feelings and experiences I've been having and makes me feel less crazy. I'd recommend it to anyone in the midst of transition.

I just finished the book yesterday. I'd say that there are some really good sections and some average parts. He is not writing a Christian book (I am not sure of his spiritual background), so keep that in mind. I do think it would be interesting to
Glenn Williams
Jun 12, 2011 Glenn Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Want to make sense of life's transitions? This is simply and outstanding book on navigating through life's transitions. Practical and enormously insightful (and even inspiring in places)m Bridges helps the reader to understand the difference between 'change' and 'transition', and ultimately, to appreciate that the ending of a chapter is the actual beginning of a new one.

His ability to confront the questions we all ask when we find ourselves in a transition is remarkable. Questions such as Why is
Rebecca Waring-Crane
Engaging wisdom for navigating the inevitable in life -- change. I read this book as background for writing The Small Guide to Life's Big Changes. My focus is the practices that healthy people to use in times of change, so I found William's work with individuals in transition very helpful. Happily, I own a copy and underlined with abandon.

No coincidence I'm sure, but as I read, I realized that I am processing my own transitions -- as a writer completing a project, as well as a human revisiting
This book helped me name a lot of discomfort in my current situation (repatriating after four years overseas, changing jobs--maybe even careers, living with family instead of on my own, etc.).

I appreciate the understanding I gained about the messiness of transition. The clarification of what is external change in our lives and what is internal transition was helpful. The author presented several prompts and suggestions of how to process and navigate the stages of transition.

I'd recommend this
Jessica Powell
Jun 11, 2016 Jessica Powell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful break down of the transition process and helped to add clarity to not just my present transition but all past ones as well. Definitely a heavy focus on work/career transitions. The section on the Neutral Zone was eye opening and I realized how much I inherently do some of the things suggested but picked up a few more tools. His commentary on the myth of Psyche and Amor in the epilogue was great.
Susan Kavanaugh
Apr 08, 2014 Susan Kavanaugh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book for anyone living a life. It is only "self help" in that it gives you a clearer idea of what change and transition are. With this clarity, one gains a great deal more patience with themselves and others in transition. I read this in the midst of processing a spouses death, but will recommend and reread it frequently in good and bad situations. They all require skills in juggling the uncertainties of shifting sands.
Mar 22, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was very helpful and spot on for me in terms of my current life transition and very encouraging in the process. I see myself giving away many copies of this book in the future, although probably only to people 30 or older.
Micah Grant
May 14, 2016 Micah Grant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
This was a great book about how we deal with change. I found organizational applications, but I can see very many examples of how this can be applied in my own personal and family life.
Pretty good book so far...
This was assigned work reading! Who knew bosses could assign you books!

The last year has meant a lot of changes at work and the vast majority have been good ones, like, 99.99999%, but our department has had to get used to it, so that's where the assigned reading came from.

Anyway, like most self-help-ish books, you kind of have to figure out what parts work for you and the part that I really valued was the idea of a "neutral" zone between the ending and a new beginning. And this neutral zone is a
Dean Brodhag
Jan 06, 2017 Dean Brodhag rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pete Templeton
Recommended to Dean by: Charles Butler
Shelves: relationships
Well worth the time! Bridges differentiates between changes and transitions. He takes a broad approach to changes/transitions and points the many places in your life that these occur and the effect they have not only on you but those around you. He emphasizes three stages of transitions:
1. Letting go, 2. Adrift and 3. Finding the new direction.
Very readable and in this 2nd edition , written 20+ years after the first , highlights his learning over that time. Additionally reference authors that h
Liked the core concepts of this book about life transitions having an end, a middle, then a beginning, whether they are big or small and good or bad. The first chapter I really enjoyed and was excited to read the rest. But then the middle felt meandering. It came together a little more for me at the end. Liked the comparisons to greek mythology. Overall decent, was just a little disappointed after being so engaged in the first chapter.
Joseph Mole
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joan Martin
Dec 19, 2016 Joan Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviews the stages of grief. An ending, the 5 stages of transition,and then a new beginning.
Sep 08, 2012 Maura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1. What did you find moving, notable and/or surprising about the information or point(s) of view introduced in this book?
I had never thought about how we should go slow in our life's transitions, nor how we can experience internal emotional transitions without external change.

2. There are many provocative ideas in this book. Name one and explain why it captured your attention.
It's sad that the sacred-ness of the time between the prior and new paths is not acknowledged by our society.

3. Did readi
Loy Machedo
William Bridges is an internationally known speaker, author, and consultant who advises individuals and organizations in how to deal productively with change. His ten books include an expanded third edition of his best-seller, Managing Transitions (2009), and the updated second edition of Transitions (2004), which together have sold over one million copies.

He focuses on the Transition, or psychological reorientation, people must go through to come to terms with changes in their lives. His three
Claire Nassutti
Good therapy tool, well written
May 23, 2013 Martha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have read. Insightful and thought provoking! Took me on a journey I didn't know I needed to go on, but am so glad I did. A couple favorite quotes, "We have to let go of the old thing before we can pick up the new one--not just outwardly, but inwardly, where we keep our connections to people and places that act as definitions of who we are. There we are, living in a new town, but our heads are full of the old trivia..."

"One of the ways that you could divide the histories o
Jul 04, 2014 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a man blindly careering toward a midlife crisis, I was interested to read a book that sought to explain how people transition from one life phase to another.

I was particularly intrigued to learn how to do so in a healthy and reasonably normal way (not that I ever aspire to normality, but as I'm talking about territory that is personally uncharted, I'm happy to hold hands with someone who knows the best way through).

I wasn't disappointed.

At least not initially.

Bridges (an apt name) talks about
May 01, 2012 Kendra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I started my new job there were a couple weeks’ worth of appointments already loaded in my Outlook calendar. One of them the second week was labeled “Transition Meeting”. Those invited to attend were the adult services staff and the library director. I had no idea what to expect, but it ended up being a positive experience. That meeting was based on the concepts presented in Transitions by William Bridges.

When life shifts happen, there are a few “universal” phases that almost everyone goes
Johnny Stork
Sep 29, 2012 Johnny Stork rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have likely read well over a thousand books to date, maybe more. I have read hundreds in the categories of spirituality, comparative religion, mythology, psychology, self-development and Buddhism. Many of the hundreds stand out for various reasons. I now have a new one that I can HIGHLY recommend to everyone from young to old, satisfied or unsatisfied with their life. I can also HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone facing the stress, the uncertainty, the fear associate with transitions in the ...more
Aug 08, 2012 JoAnn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book can provide a lifeline to any individual encountering a significant life change, positive or negative. I recommend it to people undergoing voluntary or involuntary career changes, but it’s just as valuable for first-time parents or people considering retirement. It can serve as a tremendous foundation for working with change efforts within organizations, but first you have to experience it on a personal, individual level.

Bridges describes how an external change is part of a larger, mo
Emily Green
Aug 29, 2012 Emily Green rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do not usually read books that might fall under the category if self-help. I will read fiction and poetry and reflect on how it relates to my life, but I do not turn to non-fiction for help. However, I am very appreciative that a friend lent me Transitions in order to help me through my big move to Princeton.

Transitions reflects on the three stages of big life changes and offers advice to help the reader with these changes. Bridges identifies the three stages as ending, neutral zone, and begi
Apr 27, 2014 Virlys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Transitions are inevitable...and often unsettling, frightening, or confusing--even when the transition is overall a positive one. I retired a few months ago, and someone helping me transition from busy teacher to retiree suggested that this book might be helpful. It was. I had looked forward to many good things with retirement, but to my surprise despite my anticipation, not everything was rosy. Through Bridges' book I realized that I was not nuts; many others struggled with the same loss that I ...more
The Career Transitions group at my church was working with this book and I found it very helpful. Bridges distinguishes between changes- a shift in one's situation- moving, new job, marriage, divorce, death of family member etc. and transition- the psychological reactions one goes through as a result of the change. He studied how various traditional cultures structure rites of passage to help people move through transitions, and notes that they are often much better at dealing with these things ...more
Victor Cushman
Jan 23, 2015 Victor Cushman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 18, 2013 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have recommended this book to many clients. In particularly those going through any sort of change or upheaval in their life (even apparently positive changes).

This very practical book takes you through the 3 stages of any effective transition. First there must be an ending, then a neutral zone, followed by a new beginning. Packed with common sense and clear examples of why change is difficult when we seek to embark on a new beginning without having first leg go of our attachment to how things
Danyelle Read
Aug 04, 2014 Danyelle Read rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am no novice to psychology and self-actualization, yet this book offered information I neither thought of nor encountered elsewhere. I think particularly for Westerners, but for all, it will bring a shift in the way you view relationships and experiences. The shift is a freeing and kind one. Reading this book has bolstered and added new ways to navigate living and love for my beingness.

The writing is convoluted. Bridges is a cerebral, analytical thinker. He often writes in the "subjective abs
Feb 08, 2016 Shaun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Judging this book by its cover, I had low expectations. But I gave it a chance and was pleasantly surprised to find the author, William Bridges, wove together insights from psychology with cultural anthropology to explore the universal patterns of transition. He presents a useful framework for identifying such transitions within ourselves, our friends and loved ones, and even (I would suggest) the culture writ large. And it's here that I think Bridges's approach is especially useful: as a way to ...more
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William Bridges is an internationally known speaker, author, and consultant who advises individuals and organizations in how to deal productively with change.

Educated originally in the humanities at Harvard, Columbia, and Brown Universities, he was (until his own career change in 1974) a professor of American Literature at Mills College, Oakland, CA. He is a past president of the Association for H
More about William Bridges...

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“You can’t follow the thread of your life very far before you find “the past” changing. Things that you haven’t remembered in years reappear, and things that you’ve always thought were so turn out to be not so at all. If the past isn’t the way you thought it was, then the present isn’t, either. Letting go of that present may make it easier to conceive of a new future.” 1 likes
“In other words, change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological. It is not those events, but rather the inner reorientation and self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life. Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture. Unless transition happens, the change won’t work, because it doesn’t “take.” 1 likes
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