Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World” as Want to Read:
Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  278 Ratings  ·  56 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. In uncertain times, coping with these fears can be especially challenging, but in this indispensable book, Harold S. Kushner teaches us to confront, master, and even embrac
ebook, 182 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Anchor (first published 2009)
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 Conquering Fear, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Conquering Fear

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
Feb 20, 2016 Alyssa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, maybe I should have read the descriptor of this book before reading it, because it wasn't at all what I was expecting. Still a great book, but I was looking for something more along the lines if helping me conquer my fear in everyday situations/my own self doubt. This book focuses more on the "big" fears in life in general that everyone worries about. Still a great read. I found it comforting. It jis wasn't what I expected.
Mar 03, 2010 Margie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, society
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.
Oct 19, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 02, 2012 David Phillips rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kevin Orth
Sep 09, 2015 Kevin Orth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am consistently impressed by Rabbi Kushner's ability to situate his writing in the narrow spot among easy reading, deeply insightful, and pearls of wisdom.

This book is among the consistent wonderful reads this wonderful author has offered us. The fact that he is able to accomplish such depth and meaning in concise books further adds to his appeal. Highly recommend.
Mar 26, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a new look at an old problem by the author of When Bad Things Happen To Good People. It deals with the fears most of us have at one time or another about terrorism, natural disasters, climate change, job loss, security, death, losing loved ones and so on. He distinguishes between normal levels of fear and the crippling fears that can take hold of someone's life resulting in panic and/or anxiety disorders. His take on these subjects are refreshing and reassuring without being trite or "Ch ...more
Debra Ham
Sep 20, 2011 Debra Ham rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 10, 2013 Jacqueline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 18, 2014 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 06, 2014 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 10, 2016 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I greatly admire Kushner's humility. He does a fantastic job of dissecting modern fears, presenting them in a kind and thoughtful manner. However, the book was too theological for me to fully relate to it, despite trying my best to the isolate the overall message. I appreciate that this is how Kushner personally relates to readers, though. And, it was extremely refreshing to be presented with theology from such a humble and inquisitive standpoint. There were definitely some gems.
Jun 23, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
I didn't know going into this book that it was written by a Rabbi but I was pleasantly surprised. This wasn't a 70 year old Rabbi living in the past but a Rabbi who had kept up with times and knew what he was talking about. Only drawback was that he kept talking occasionally about what he hopes to see in the future or what should people do to bring a change but that might be good in sermons it was of no value in a book.
Jul 02, 2016 Simon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Don't really remember this book at all, but I'm sure at the time (when I was going through a self-help book phase) it was something more impactful for me.

I don;t really have insignificant human fears that much. Like I;m not a pessimist or fear about things. There is the odd day where I am concerned about what my life is and where it may go, but really I've got plans that are coming out and into play. I work hard and am now making more of an effort than I ever have before.
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).
Dec 08, 2012 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Andrew S.
Written by a rabbi, the book is solidly established on religious beliefs which is not for everyone, and it wasn't for me. But I made myself to read through chapters that offer nothing more than “God is here to help us” and I have to say I still enjoyed this insight into Judaism. The author makes some brilliant nonreligious points along the way and makes a beautiful conclusion what religion is and what it means for him.
Jan 21, 2010 Barb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Christy Terry
Aug 09, 2014 Christy Terry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
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.
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.
Apr 01, 2015 Rafael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book! I love how Rabbi Kushner covered various fears that people face and tied it in to faith and the unkown without being "preachy." There are a lot of great quotes and pieces of wisdom throughout the book that I found very helpful and encouraging. It's also a short read, only 173 pages so it didn't take very long to finish. I got a lot out of this book, especially it being a short read.
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.
Dec 24, 2013 Sofia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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".
Dec 03, 2009 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Bobbie N
An easy-to-read, easy-to-understand, common sense approach to grappling with fears of such things as terrorism, natural disasters, rejection, growing old and death by living with purpose, trust, hope, courage, and faith.
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.
Feb 22, 2010 Barb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 18, 2013 Marge rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 06, 2016 T.E. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books where your heart finds it for you. It found me and I'm grateful for the finding. It touched my heart in places that I forgot I had and needed to find. I read it slowly to ingest what I needed to read and not too quickly that I would miss something important.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Mental Traps: The Overthinker's Guide to a Happier Life
  • Mindfulness and Acceptance: Expanding the Cognitive-Behavioral Tradition
  • The Power of Coincidence: How Life Shows Us What We Need to Know
  • Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work
  • Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration
  • The Grammar of God: A Journey into the Words and Worlds of the Bible
  • Kaddish
  • Supercoach: 10 Secrets to Transform Anyone's Life
  • The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think Is Right Is Wrong
  • Messengers of God: Biblical Portraits and Legends
  • God Was in This Place and I, I Did Not Know
  • In the Valley of the Shadow: On the Foundations of Religious Belief
  • Hey! Listen to This: Stories to Read Aloud
  • The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason
  • Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying: Embracing Life After Loss
  • A Point in Time: The Search for Redemption in This Life and the Next
  • The Modern Quilt Workshop: Patterns, Techniques, and Designs from the FunQuilts Studio
  • Get Organized the Clear & Simple Way: Reclaim Your Home, Your Office, Your Life
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...

Share This Book

“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.” 8 likes
More quotes…