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Transitions: Making Sense Of Life's Changes
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Transitions: Making Sense Of Life's Changes

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  671 ratings  ·  128 reviews
Whether switching jobs or moving house, leaving school or retiring, change brings both opportunities and turmoil. Most of us struggle through such periods. This classic book shows how making a successful transition lets you recognize and seize new opportunities.Transitions has helped hundreds of thousands of readers to cope with changes by providing a road map of the trans...more
Paperback, 170 pages
Published January 21st 1980 by Da Capo Press (first published January 1st 1980)
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Oct 21, 2008 Alexis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
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...more
Glenn Williams
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...more
Susan Kavanaugh
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.
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...more
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
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.
Ev Mungovan mccaffrey pape
I found this to be a very insightful book, describing the stages involved with major life transitions. As Bridges describes these, they could be internal as well as external transitions. Having lived through many life transitions myself, I found that his description of these stages rang true for me: first, the ending (of a stage, a relationship, a goal); second, the uncomfortable in-between, living in limbo stage; and last, the new beginning. This was a fresh perspective on change, especially on...more
Michael James
This book was one of the recommendations to me while going through my divorce. I was also very active in teaching change management classes in corporate America.

Frankly, this book helped me to put a simple yet profound framework around the process of change. Equally important was the revelation from this book that change actually begins with an ending. So much focus is on next steps, or a new beginning, that we forget to consider all of the losses.

Outstanding book for those going through change...more
As most of you know, I generally detest "self-help" books, mostly because I think most of them are filled with a lot of goobedly-gook. But, this book really had a message with a life changing message. If you don't want to read the book, here is the gem I gleaned from it:
"In order to move on with life and find what you really need to be doing, you have to stop defining yourself as what you were." So, for me, I had to stop saying "I used to be a teacher." I'm not a teacher....move on with life tra...more
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...more
Emily Green
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...more
Johnny Stork
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it's very sexist and outdated regarding gender roles, to a laughable extent, at times. On the other hand, I found certain passages very moving, articulate and insightful. Sift through the 1950s caveman mentality and keep the gems. I got some good ones from the chapters about work life transitions and endings, neutral zone, beginnings. The difference between 'change' and 'transition' was eloquently defined.
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
Doug Dale
I picked this book up because they referenced in (and the author's model for transitions) in an orientation class for parents at my son's university. They gave some very good advice about the transition of sending your child to college, so I thought the book might be helpful. While I think the basic model for transitions is good, the book seemed to take some of the ideas to extremes and I didn't find it as helpful as I had hoped.
John Fletcher
So impressed with this book. I think I'm adding it to my yearly read list. It's a great book about life's hard transitions that everyone goes through and as adults we seem to go through more frequently. Talks through the idea of change versus transition. He has a great model on how transitions unfold. Really validated some ways to dealing with transition and how to embrace it to receive the things your supposed to receive. I think it's a great mentor for anyone due to life's many transitions.
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...more
Elle Wolfe
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...more
Jeremy Serrano
This is a good book to read for those who are going through some kind of transition or who walking with others going through a transition. This author helps the reader identify the three main stages of transition. The last chapter is the best as it gives specific steps on the last step to being in transition. This will be a book I reference when helping parishioners with transitions in their lives.
Bill Donhiser
I pick up this book as part of the required reading I was to complete during a management class. I ran short of time and did not tackle it when I should have. It is well written and has some good points but I rely did not gain much from the reading. Hope it is more helpful for you
Worth reading if you are going through any of life's transitions. A reference and mentor recommended it to me as I was encountering "a time in between" with my career. It kept the focus on the long-term and was very enriching and uplifting.
I found this book tremendously helpful as I moved away from a long career in corporate. I actually bought this book after a manager workshop many years ago, but never read it. Recently it literally dropped at my feet while I was searching the attic for something else. I picked it up and could not put it down. It spoke to me about this stage of my life and career. Bridges' view of transition is that it begins with an "ending" and ends with a "beginning". The emotions that one experiences while in...more
Sean Conner
An amazing and short book, it is the missing instruction manual for life, which is basically one long string of transitions. Recommended by one of my best friends, Martina Welke =) ... top 5 books recommended to me ever.
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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
More about William Bridges...
Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change The Way of Transition: Embracing Life's Most Difficult Moments The Character of Organizations: Using Personality Type in Organization Development Jobshift: How to Prosper in a Workplace Without Jobs Creating You & Co.: Learn To Think Like The CEO Of Your Own Career

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