Overcoming Life's Disappointments
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Overcoming Life's Disappointments

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  276 ratings  ·  45 reviews
From Harold S. Kushner, author of the inspirational #1 bestseller When Bad Things Happen to Good People, comes a book that shows us how to be our best selves even when things don’t turn out as we had hoped.Kushner turns to the experience of Moses to find the requisite lessons of strength and faith — the lesson that teach us how to overcome the disappointments that life inh...more
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Published August 15th 2006 by Anchor (first published 2006)
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David
This book did not disappoint, except maybe for its title. The austere observer might contend that the solution to “overcoming life’s disappointments” is no complicated matter. It can be adequately expressed in just as many words as the title: “Get over it.” But although the title is not very imaginative, the author’s approach is. He is a rabbi and invokes scripture on many occasions, using Moses as his primary exemplar. But the book has value even to the secular, even to someone like me who sees...more
Andrea
Rabbi Kushner uses the story of Moses and his ability to overcome major life disappointments to help his readers see that they too can overcome disappointments in love, work, dreams, etc. I enjoyed his ability to incorporate the life of Moses as well as many present day examples and anecdotes, all with a friendly, conversational tone. Uplifting and encouraging.
Devika Koppikar
This book helps makes sense of "bad things" and other disappointments in your life instead of making you fear them. It gives you strategies for working through these setbacks, so that you can have a substantive positive attitude and not a shallow one. However, as anyone reading this book would have likely faced disappointment, it is a tough read. The chapters are long and it will be intense to get through them as it will likely bring up your "disappointing" circumstances.

I would say this book is...more
Steve
kind of like a jewish self-help book
Ensiform
The author, a rabbi and author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, uses the story of Moses to gently guide the reader into an acceptance of his or her broken dreams. Some of Kushner’s themes grow tired (notably, the image of Moses carefully gathering up the broken pieces of the original tablets on which Commandments were written, just as we should keep our broken dreams as reminders of what we once aspired to, along with our new and more realistic dreams, etc drone) and at times he veers i...more
Mary
Written by Rabbi Harold Kushner, this book heavily relies on the Biblical figure of Moses and Judeo-Christian beliefs to offer comfort for those who are struggling with life's problems.

I often found the book difficult to relate to for two reasons: first, I didn't identify with its religious emphasis, but that is no fault of the author's - just "not for me." I think many faithful Jews and Christians alike could appreciate the lessons Kushner draws.

On the other hand, I did take issue with the auth...more
Nicole
I have two enduring images of this book, both from midrash.

The first is from when Moses came down the mountain with the original tablets containing the Ten Commandments, the ones he smashed. Legend has it that he kept the shards in the Ark of the Covenant alongside the second, intact, set because they symbolized his broken dream. A dream that his people would unite under G-d's covenants and enjoy their freedom after the Exodus. Instead, they betrayed G-d by fashioning the golden calf in Moses's...more
Jonathan Mandell
Jul 23, 2007 Jonathan Mandell rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with marital problems, frustrated at their job
The author of "When Bad Things Happen To Good People," Harold S. Kushner now tackles disappointment, especially in love but also in work, framing this short book with lessons from the life of Moses. Yes, Moses led his people out of slavery, brought them the word of God, and took them to the Promised Land. But he had lots of disappointments too -- he had to take all their whining, and he didn't have much of a family life, and even though he spent 40 years in the desert, he was not allowed to go i...more
Jane
Another in my series of reads by Rabbi Harold Kushner. His pearls of wisdom never fail to inspire and/or put things in perspective. He makes the point here that it's how we react to the events/things that happen to us in life that's important, not the events themselves. In other words, rotten things can happen to us or our families, but we do not have to be prisoner to that. We can define our own outcome. As in his other books, Kushner emphasizes again the need to look at life with an "attitude...more
Nicole
A life revolutionary book, teaching about modern life and experiences through the interpretation of Moses, not in his success but in his failures, teaching that failure is human and natural. This book verbalized the problems many people struggle with about their lives and not necessarily how to fix them, but why they bother us so much, and just by knowing that (and that we are not alone in those feelings), is healing.
Kathleen
Okay, so I know this is a technically a self-help book, but in my defense... this rabbi-writer-guy is really cool. Harold Kushner writes as if we've just sat down for americanos, as he explains the world with a combination of stories from the Old Testament, various other self help books and a few pop culture references (my favorite in this one is when he invokes the movie Gattaca).

This book is based on the life of Moses as a lesson in how things really can work out even when we don't get what w...more
Carl Avery
I like Kushner's perspective on Old Testament topics. This book gives interesting insight into Moses in ways I had not considered.
Drew
I suppose I chose to read this book because of my current interest in Genesis. I've recently listened to Bill Moyer's multi-part series on Genesis, I've listened to John Claypool tapes and I'm reading The Beginning of Wisdom.

Overcoming Life's Disappointments is a self-help book that uses Moses as the teaching model. Kushner is a good writer and dispenses lots of wisdom--too much in my opinion. Not that what he has to say is not wisdom,it's too thinly offered with not enough depth.

I'm not sorry I...more
Elizabeth Olson
Insights into the life of Moses, Biblical and psychological interpretations of possible motives at different points in his story, explorations into language and shades of meaning, numerous other stories and personal anecdotes are all individually interesting and even thought provoking, but overall I found the book's message of "if you're disappointed in not fulfilling a big dream, then find a smaller dream" to be more depressing than inspiring. For my money, if one dream didn't come true, then y...more
Juli
I thought Rabbi Kushner had a lot of good things to say but was left feeling a bit like I needed to pull up my boot straps and make my life what I want on my own. While I agree that it is important to engage with life and make choices toward a healthy and good life that you want I felt like something was missing. Since Kushner is writing from a Jewish perspective I think that the something missing I was feeling was the hope found in Jesus. This one read more like a self-help book.
Burnettkw
I think one of the best lines from this book was about days being divided between sunshine and darkness. People who live in places where there's either too much light (Alaska in the summer) or two much darkness (Alaska in the winter) have a hard time. Life is like that too. Mostly useful advice about how to redesign your dreams when necessary. Occasionally annoying -- a sincere discussion about a t-shirt slogan comes to mind -- but overall thought provoking and encouraging.
Bill
Kushner uses Moses' life as a framework for understanding disappointment, loss, and frustration. I appreciate his ability to wade into the difficult aspects of life and find meaning. Lots of great stories and an interesting analysis of Moses, but moroever, the book feels real in its at times tenuous assertions of good overcoming evil and of struggle making us more human, loving, and connected. Even in its assertions, at times it reads more like a yearning prayer.
Jeremy Pedersen
Wonderful book.. I love how he describes Moses taking the broken tablets of the first laws ( tablets he smashed after seeing the golden calf) and keeping them as a memory of "broken dreams". Likewise we may have "broken dreams" but those dreams don't have to create tyranny in our lives. Overall very thoughtful and generally quite good
Ashlie
I really enjoy Rabbi Kushner's take on the world - in all his books that I've read. This is no exception - I was in tears in some parts. My only complaint about the book is that I think sometimes he takes the Moses analogy too far, to a point that became uninteresting for me. But a few pages of uninteresting are definitely worth the rest of the book's insights.
Ramakrishnan
Another gem of a book of practical wisdom from Rabbi Harold Kushner. The Rabbi hails Moses as a hero and using his life presents a very practical, yet powerful psychological tools including: "Dared to dream", "A hard road, Not a smooth one", "Keep promises", "It's Not All about you", "The mistakes good people make", and "write your own happy ending".
Nichole
Harold S Kushner is the person to read when grieving. The book is centered around Moses. I learned more about Moses in this book then 8 years of parochial school. Kushner cites many psychologist and therapist making his point clear,take the good with the bad. His writing style is easy and interesting. I also enjoy his quotes and stories.
Sonyajohnston
I heard Harold Kushner speaking on the radio and decided to read his book. I had read When Bad things happen to Good People many years ago. I enjoyed his religious spin on this book. I think this book will give anyone who is disappointed with how life is should read this book. I know it helped me.
Spider
Rabbi Kushner gives interesting stories & advice based on Moses & how he dealt with life. I liked the perspective & the stories, even though I'm not a believer of Old Testament stories, there are valuable grains of truth in stories. Also, my version was an audio CD, not cassettes.
Lori
"Humility is the realization that not everything that happens in life is all about you. Things may work out well, but you may not have been the primary reason for their success. Things may fail, but the failure may not have been your fault." (p. 120)
Brendan Howard
I agree with criticism of Rabbi Kushner's narrow gender stereotypes, but I found the heart of the book, Moses' disappointment at the end of his life and maybe his sense if peace, to be affecting. A first step at post-divorce tonic.
Shirley
Always like Kushner, and this one no exception. Daughter was reading it so decided to give it "a go." Based on the story of Moses. The theme will be helpful for class I will be doing in the fall.
Kaye
I love two of Kushner's books, but everything else has been kind of a dud. Even though I finished about 70% of this one, I couldn't generate the interest to finish it up. Eh.
Lucy
Not as good as his classic When Bad Things Happen to Good People, but nice and insightful. Uses the story of Moses to teach about overcoming the frustrations of life.
Inder
Aug 04, 2007 Inder rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Seekers
I'm a huge fan of Rabbi Kushner's - his books are all about finding what is truly important and focusing on that, letting go of the our superficial and hurtful urges.
Julia
May 22, 2008 Julia rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one really
ah the world of self-help books which are so marginally helpful...nothing new in this one. just a different way to frame things. aka "what would Moses do?"
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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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“Forgiveness is not a matter of exonerating people who have hurt you. They may not deserve exoneration. Forgiveness means cleansing your soul of the bitterness of ‘what might have been,’ ‘what should have been,’ and ‘what didn’t have to happen.’ Someone has defined forgiveness as ‘giving up all hope of having had a better past.’ What’s past is past and there is little to be gained by dwelling on it. There are perhaps no sadder people then the men and women who have a grievance against the world because of something that happened years ago and have let that memory sour their view of life ever since.” 24 likes
“God is the light shining in the midst of darkness, not to deny that there is darkness in the world but to reassure us that we do not have to be afraid of the darkness because darkness will always yield to light. As theologian David Griffin puts in, God is all-powerful, His power enables people to deal with events beyond their control and He gives us the strength to do those things because He is with us.” 12 likes
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