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Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World
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Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  191 ratings  ·  42 reviews
From the best-selling author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, an illuminating book about fear—and what we can do to overcome it.

An inescapable component of our lives, fear comes in many guises: fear of unemployment; fear of aging, illness, losing beauty; fear of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. In uncertain times, coping with these fears can be especially c
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Knopf (first published 2009)
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Jason Koivu
Though I tend to have allergic reactions to self-help books, I saw Conquering Fear... on the shelves and thought about reading it, then put it back thinking, "What do I need a book about fear for?" A minuscule part of me was also afraid of what people would think if they saw me reading a book about fear. Yes, I feared people would think I harbored some form of fear. "Perhaps I should read this book," I said in defeated resignation.

Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World follows a li
A quick read. I like Rabbi Kushner's writing, though it's a bit like reading mystery novels by a favorite author; you sort of know what to expect.
This book takes on different types of fears in the various chapters (fear of death, fear of loss of self, etc.). Nothing earth-shattering, but comforting without being platitudinous.
As with all of Rabbi Kushner's books, I always find both comfort and inspiration from his writing. While addressing humanity's fear in the 21st century, he has an interesting perspective on issues as varied as technology, aging, terrorism, and rejection. This is definitely a book to be read more than once and one that everyone could find something that relates to their own life.
David Phillips
While you might not always agree with this theological framework, Kushner provides words of wisdom for overcoming fear through different periods of life. It is a volume that encourages and inspires, provokes and challenges and causes you to question your own actions. At the same time it provides help for those dealing with uncertainty and fear.
I suffer from Anxiety and Depression. I wish I would have read this book years ago and gotten over some of my fears that I've lived with in my lifetime. Also, I love how he weaves his words throughout historical events, human sociology/psychology, religious views of several religions on the topic of fear. I also loved how he used his own personal experiences to relate to the topic and the choices one can select to overcome fears--whether founded or conjured up with worry, anxiety, physical ills ...more
Dr. Kushner has written a dozen bestselling books, including a classic that will remain in vogue a century from now. His latest work differs from the rest in that the publisher requested it rather than waiting for him to submit a topic. I'm happy to tell you that Dr. Kushner has risen to the occasion with his usual warmth, empathy and vast reservoir of knowlege: religious, historical, and sociological. Written simply enough for the average person, yet encompassing complex issues, he discusses Fe ...more
Debra Ham
Sep 20, 2011 Debra Ham rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Debra by: No one
I thought that this book did a great job at identifying the things in our lives that people typically fear. There could have been more expounding on ways to conquer the fears. At times I felt as though the author was saying "get over it", but of course that doesn't work for everyone. Other times I felt like the author was rambling. There were many points where I thought the chapter was surely going to end and then there was an additional 10 pages in the chapter. So, that alone made this a book a ...more
I've read many of Kushner's books and I can always recommend them. While I have some qualms about his theology because I have a deep need to both pray for protection and express gratitude for the good things in my life, Kushner's insights still touch and inspire me. Here are some my favorite quotes from this book.
P.162 "Don't let the fear of the unknown rob you of the pleasure of anticipating all the good things that await you."
p. 165 "The alternative to success is discovering that people don't
Christy Terry
Not such a great book for me. Supposed to be about helping with anxiety/fear. Well, if I wasn't already freaking out about terrorism, I am now. Don't read this book if you overly anxious about anything. It just made me worse. Thought it would be a more personal help with fear. Not such a broad history lesson, etc.
Going into this book, I was unprepared for how much of it would be influenced by religious beliefs. I'm not a religious person and am usually turned off by religious text. However, I decided to give the book a chance and was pleasantly surprised. Although I was initially hoping for discussion on smaller fears that were not laced with religious beliefs, I instead was able to absorb a lot of good advice about overcoming big fears. And while the religious bent is off-putting at times, the author wh ...more
Read for retreat in 2013. Led to a discussion of how to be bold(er). Not as easy to have a group discussion on a self-help book.
I agree with others who feel this isn't the most powerful of Rabbi Kushner's writing but there were moments of insight that rang true for me. For instance, praying for God to just be with you rather than prayer for a specific outcome was one moment of transformative thinking for me. There are little gems of thought like this scattered throughout the book. Nevertheless, the reading became labor-some towards the end and I was glad to move onto other reading.

What can I say, I just don't like the self-help genre. I just couldn't relate to the fears that Harold Kushner talks about. Maybe I'm more together than I think. My professional women's book club always picks these types of self-help books and they really are my least favorite types of books to read. I have thought of quitting this club but I really like the women and most of the time I still gain something from the conversation.
A little comforting, but nothing extraordinary. I've no desire to conquer fears after reading the book.
I have read some of Kushner's books before and used to enjoy them. I can't say I got much out of this one. Kushner writes in a way that tries to appeal to a broad audience; his examples from the Torah are interpreted in a non-literal way, which I appreciated. At the end, though, I felt like I wasn't given any concrete ways to overcome fears, apart from embracing religion (which I'm not about to do).
It hit on all my fears for sure. Kushner put into words my own sense of how faith can be a rich response much different than the utterly ridiculous statements of simpletons like Pat Robertson. I look forward to looking up many of the other authors he cited. I would recommend it. Another quick read good for waiting rooms, etc.
not what i expected, kushner focuses more on the BIG social historical worries of the past 15-20 years. all of which are still valid and very much with us today, but somehow even as i agreed with him on many points... i just felt generally exhausted about it. Still an excellent book, which i recommend reading.
Parts worth 5 stars, parts worth 2. I wish there had been more connection to stories, as it relied a bit too much on "yeah you are afraid but suck it up." Still, I appreciated the fears being stated plainly, without gloss, especially around death and the reality of not knowing what will happen.
Kushner wrote this after 9/11 - and explores a variety of common fears that American’s face, and gives perspectives on how to deal with them. Some resonated with me more than others, but I thought the premise was interesting and it was absolutely worth the read.
There is much to digest in this book and I certainly benefitted from reading it and thinking about our fears in the world at this time such as change and terrorism. I have enjoyed his other books more, but certainly would recommend this one.
This book amounted to a good pep-talk. Nothing earth shattering. But a good reminder to engage in life fully, and question the emotional fears that inhibit us. I most enjoyed Kushner's insightful interpretations of the old biblical stories.
Usually I enjoy Kushner's books and find them helpful as reference for the talks I do. Even when not always agreeing totally with what he says, I usually still find his books helpful, but this one, just didn't do it for me.
It is a life affirming and comforting book with a lot of interesting ideas. However, I really did not like the fact that the author repeats a lot of what he already wrote about in "When bad things happen to good people".
The most important lesson I'm reminded from the book is that I need not fear because I don't have to go through it alone. And that the cure for the fear of life is a sense of duty. Interesting and thoughtful read.
Kushner is probably my favorite non-fiction writer however this my least favorite of his writings. He is a master at weaving other sources into his writing and I appreciated that aspect most about this book.
Tyler Hartford
I may not agree with some of his theological reflections on ultimate destiny but the basic premise of the book is one of the best I've ever found for a realistic view of how fear drives so much of what we do.
There is never anything earth shaking or particularly new in a Kushner book but his compassionate voice and simple writing style make them a bit like a cup of hot chocolate on a wintry night - comforting.
This book isn't bad, but it's not what I thought. However, it's written by a Rabbi so it makes sense. There are some good points for those who are afraid whether you believe in God or not.
I've read several of Rabbi Kushner's books. I always find comfort, strength and much wisdom from his writing. He is truly inspiring and always give me a sense of peace.
Leroy Seat
This is a fine book, definitely written from a Jewish viewpoint, but with an openness and breadth that makes it appealing and helpful for those of us who are not Jewish.
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Harold S. Kushner is rabbi laureate of Temple Israel in the Boston suburb of Natick, Massachusetts. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he is the author of more than a dozen books on coping with life’s challenges, including, most recently, the best-selling Conquering Fear and Overcoming Life’s Disappointments.
More about Harold S. Kushner...
When Bad Things Happen to Good People How Good Do We Have to Be?: A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness To Life: A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking Living a Life That Matters: Resolving the Conflict Between Conscience and Success The Lord Is My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom of the Twenty-third Psalm

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“God’s job is not to make sick people healthy. That’s the doctor’s job. God’s job is to make sick people brave.” 2 likes
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