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Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life

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A transformative book about the lives we wish we had and what they can teach us about who we are.

All of us lead two parallel lives: the one we are actively living, and the one we feel we should have had or might yet have. As hard as we try to exist in the moment, the unlived life is an inescapable presence, a shadow at our heels. And this itself can become the story of our lives: an elegy to unmet needs and sacrificed desires. We become haunted by the myth of our own potential, of what it might be that we have in ourselves to be or to do. And this can make of our lives a perpetual falling short.

But what happens if we remove the idea of failure from this equation? With his flair for graceful paradox, the acclaimed psychoanalyst Adam Phillips suggests that if we accept frustration as a way of outlining what we really want, satisfaction suddenly becomes possible. To crave a life without frustration is to crave a life without the potential to identify and accomplish our desires.

In this elegant, compassionate, and absorbing book, Phillips draws deeply on his own clinical experience as well as on the works of Shakespeare and Freud, of Donald Winnicott and William James, to suggest that missing out, getting away with it, and not getting it are all chapters in our unlived lives--and may be essential to the one fully lived.

224 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2012

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About the author

Adam Phillips

137 books476 followers
Adam Phillips is a British psychotherapist and essayist.

Since 2003 he has been the general editor of the new Penguin Modern Classics translations of Sigmund Freud. He is also a regular contributor to the London Review of Books.

Phillips was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1954, the child of second-generation Polish Jews. He grew up as part of an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins and describes his parents as "very consciously Jewish but not believing". As a child, his first interest was the study of tropical birds and it was not until adolescence that he developed an interest in literature. He went on to study English at St John's College, Oxford, graduating with a third class degree. His defining influences are literary – he was inspired to become a psychoanalyst after reading Carl Jung's autobiography and he has always believed psychoanalysis to be closer to poetry than medicine.

Adapted from Wikipedia.

Phillips is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books. He has been described by The Times as "the Martin Amis of British psychoanalysis" for his "brilliantly amusing and often profoundly unsettling" work; and by John Banville as "one of the finest prose stylists in the language, an Emerson of our time."

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 301 reviews
Profile Image for Bradd Saunders.
61 reviews3 followers
April 12, 2013
Adam Phillips is one of my favorite writers, though I understand why he drives some people crazy. He doesn't write self-help books, per se, so much as psychological and philosophical essays made with the idea that to better understand the nature of the self and the world results in a kind of self help -- you live better and in greater harmony with events, or, as he might put it, in greater harmony with your occasional disharmony when you operate from a more sophisticated understanding of your world. At the very root of what he does is always paradox. If he could be said to have discovered one thing about life which applies to all his work it is that the truth exists in the middle of a contradiction and can only be understood in that sense, so therefore almost everything we tend to believe about life is actually the opposite of what truly is -- like looking into the world through a mirror. Occasionally, when he's not thinking as deeply as he usually does, this approach comes across as an affectation. But when he's at his best he is often on to something and in this book he is in high form. One thing, in particular, that's interesting in this set of essays is the idea that we are all experts on experiences we don't have: we tend to give more credence to beliefs we have about projected futures than thought to the actual past experiences we've lived. Maybe this helps us make decisions about what to do next, but it does nothing to tell us what the likely outcome of those choices are going to be. His work is erudite, playful and speculative, littered with far more questions than answers. There's nobody out there, that I've seen, writing and thinking quite like this. it's beautiful as well as maddening.
Profile Image for Deb.
349 reviews80 followers
June 11, 2013
**Missing it on Missing Out**

My head is still spinning from this book. And, unfortunately, not in a productive way.

Similar to the experience of other reviewers, I had expectations that this book would offer a useful exploration of how looking at the yet-unlived aspects of our lives can help guide us towards more meaningful lives. Perhaps I was lured by the subtitle of “In praise of the unlived life” and the reviews on the back, which, in retrospect, were more about the undelivered promises found in the prologue of the book. (I’m kind of thinking these reviewers never actually made it through the remainder of the book.)

To me, the book (following the promising prologue) was a series of mental ramblings thrown together that provided a tour of the author’s own personal intellectual pet projects. Much of the book consisted of the author’s exploring ad nauseam the concepts and definitions of the words and phrases of "frustration," “not getting it,” “getting away with it,” “getting out of it,” “satisfaction,” and “madness” with a dizzying array of citations from Freud and Shakespeare. Maybe I was missing out (subtitle pun intended) on something, but I did not find these mental wanderings to be interesting or useful. It felt like the author was not writing for an audience, but for himself.

Some readers may love the content, style, and impressive attempts to marry psychoanalysis and Shakespeare, but, it just didn’t work so well for me.

On the bright side, I need not wonder if I was missing out by not reading _Missing Out_.
Profile Image for فادي.
545 reviews817 followers
January 25, 2022
والله الكتاب حلو والمعاني التي فيه رائعة، وأحياناً قد تقع منه على سطر فيه فكرة ذكية يغنيك عن شرح طويل.
لا أدري لو كان ينفع تصنيفه تحت كتب علم النفس أو علم الاجتماع أو علم فقه اللغة، لأني رأيته مشتملاً على هذه المواضيع في طيّات الكتاب، وبعض الأفكار فيه لدرجة بساطتها وعمقها غابت عن كثيرين ( كتحليل النكتة، وكيف أن الحسد أحياناً يكون ضرورياً لفهم سياقات أخرى من النفس البشرية).
لا أزعم أني فهمتُه كله، واظن الترجمة العربية ظلمته قليلاً فقد كانت شاقة عليّ.
شكراً حنان على الترشيح وشكراً خلود لقد قرأته بنسختك المصوّرة.
Profile Image for Sara.
82 reviews11 followers
September 16, 2023
به شخصه سخت خوان بود!
تنها ویژگی‌ای که برای من داشت کتاب اتللو، هملت، تریسترام شندی رو اسپویل کرد :|

پ.ن: در باب کم نوشتن: واقعا کلیت کتاب رو به زور و بلا متوجه شدم، دو: حداقل دو هفته از تموم شدنش می‌گذره و عملا جزئیات رو به خاطر ندارم!
Profile Image for Hossein.
224 reviews95 followers
March 18, 2022
این کتاب مثل هم‌صحبتی با دوست خردمندی‌ست که می‌توانی از او چیزهای زیادی بیاموزی. تا ببینی چقدر چیزهایی که نمی‌دانی، می‌تواند بر نگاه‌ت به زندگی تاثیر بگذارد. به نظرم بیشتر از همه چیز، تمام تلاشِ نویسنده پیشکش کردن نگاهی نو برای نگریستن به جهان است.
Profile Image for Nataliya Yaneva.
165 reviews330 followers
February 23, 2020
Някои смятат, че думата „кенгуру“ означава „не разбирам“ на езика на местни аборигенски племена в Австралия. Това симпатично объркване произлиза от навярно напълно измислена случка, свързана с Джеймс Кук и изследването му на тази част от света. Предполагам това, както и много други заблуждения, във и с които живеем, са плод на нечий имагинерен живот.

“History is not merely what happened; it is what happened in the context of what might have happened.”
Есето на Адам Филипс е кристална решетка, наподобяваща творбите на Мориц Ешер или пък онази сцена с невъзможните стълбища в „Лабиринт“ (с Дейвид Боуи, да), където гоблинският крал Джаред елегантно отбягва прекрасната си жертва. С помощта на няколко основни концепции и анализ основно на Шекспирови пиеси и фройдистки заключения Филипс с известна нотка надменност ни разкрива тъжната истина за нас самите – съжалението ни, че се проваляме да бъдем хората, които бихме искали да сме. И че споделяме живота си с тези хора – поне във въображението си. Страданието, според психоаналитика Джоузеф Сандлър, е именно пропастта между Аз-а и идеала за Аз-а.

Ние не сме нищо специално, наравно с мравките и нарцисите, твърди Филипс, но нашата култура активно се е заела да ни накара да се почувстваме специални. Как иначе ще понесем тегобата на собствената си незначителност във великолепния пъзел на сътворението? Тази си нищожност се опитваме да надбягаме, когато водим двойствения си живот – онзи, реалния, и другия, който протича само в ума ни. Представяме си какво бихме искали и как ще се чувстваме, ако го получим. Невъзможни сценарии сред картонените декори на живота. Литературата и киното също отдавна се занимават с идеята за паралелните реалности (вече позастарелият сериал “Fringe” е страхотен пример). Всъщност алтернативните ни животи не са бягство от истинските, а неизменна част от тях, ще ви покаже Адам Филипс, докато ви разхожда из фрѐската на размислите си.

“You must lose your life in order to find it.”
Филипс педантично изследва идеята за постигането на удовлетворение, за „главозамайването от свободата“, както го нарича Сартр. Пътищата, по които вървим, за да го постигнем, лъкатушат и имат множество разклонения. Често се развличаме с незначителни удоволствия, неспособни да утолим жаждата си за нещо повече. Може и да знаем какво не искаме, но това не означава, че сме съвсем наясно какво искаме. Представяме си сбъднатите си желания и постигаме моментно и смътно удовлетворение, без да рискуваме. Уаби-саби – несъвършени, преходни същества в един несъвършен, непостоянен свят.

“All the world’s a stage and there are no other worlds. We are always and only acting, and the question asked in Twelfth Night – ‘Are all the people mad?’ – has been answered in the affirmative. Madness is part of our potential.”
Според някои теоретици има няколко вида интелигентност, не само една. Видът, който мен ме интригува най-много, е екзистенциалната. Тази, при която си задаваш въпроси като „Защо съществувам?“, „Защо умирам?“ и „Какво наистина се случва между тези две събития?“. Камю например счита, че единственият философския въпрос е дали да се самоубием или не. Фройд смекчава тази острота и пита „За какво си струва да се живее?“. Адам Филипс също задава (и отговаря) на някои доста добри въпроси в своята книга. Макар да e енигматичен и своенравен разказвач, ако сте търпеливи и внимателно надавате ухо, ще ви помогне да отчупите още няколко клона в гъстата гора на самопознанието.

“The only phobia is the phobia of self-knowledge.”
Profile Image for Hazal Çamur.
172 reviews214 followers
May 28, 2016
Beklentimin altında kalan, ama okuduğuma pişman olmadığım bir eserdi. Özellikle alt başlığının yarattığı heyecanı karşılayamadı. Bunda benim Jungcu düşünceyi benimsemiş, kitabınsa Freud'u referans alan bir yapısının olmasının da etkisi olabilir. Yine de belirtmem gerek, kendi düşüncemle hemfikir olan eserleri değil de, farklı olanları okumayı severim.

Kaçırdıklarımız, benim için tatlı küçük notlar barındıran bir kitaptı; ancak bekleneni veremedi. Beklediğim kadar ufkumu açmadı ya da beklediğim ölçüde düşünce pistonlarımı çalıştırmadı. Çok güzel noktalara değindiği gibi, kimi yerlerde sözün gereksiz uzadığını düşünüyorum.

Psikanaliz kitaplarıyla haşır neşir olanlar için hafif kalacağına inanıyorum. Ama bu tarz kitaplara başlangıç için güzel bir nokta olabilir.

Son olarak, çeviri ve editörlük harikaydı. Metis bu konuda çizgisini bozmuyor ve beni çok mutlu ediyor.
Profile Image for Keith Wilson.
Author 5 books43 followers
June 22, 2016
British psychoanalyst, Adam Phillips, must have had enough of writing about life as we actually live it. He’s the author of On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored; Flirtation, etc. Now, he’s come out with a book that explores the life we have not lived, the effect of what we believe could’ve been. In the process of examining our fantasies, he illuminates reality.

Missing Out is written in non-technical language, but don’t attempt the book if you’re not up on Shakespeare. He relies far too much on the Bard’s tragic heroes to provide us with examples.

Let me attempt to summarize his main points without resorting to King Lear.

I’m hungry. If I have nothing to eat close at hand, I have a choice. I can work this frustration and use my hunger to motivate myself to score a meal. Getting satisfaction might be as easy as driving to McDonalds or as hard as preparing beef bourguignon. The harder it is, the more I’m going to need my imagination. The more I’ll have to tolerate frustration and hazard the rigors and risks of desire. I’ll have to be clever. Successful people tend to be flexible. If they have no burgundy in their wine rack, they settle for beef stew.

If I can’t eat, the other choice is to fantasize about a delicious meal. This can only take me so far, however. One cannot sustain life on fantasies.

It turns out these fantasies bedevil us in other ways that we never would’ve imagined. We can see this clearly in the phenomena of craving. When I crave beef bourguignon, I form a picture of myself eating it. The rich browns, the pungent smells, the complex tastes become almost real to me. My mouth waters. In this picture, I’m an omnipotent, satiated hedonist. In obtaining the beef bourguignon, in my fantasies I leap over obstacles and evade frustration, rather than modifying it. I replace uncertainty with certainty. I’m triumphant. This triumph is a form of magic. The original hunger is still there, there is only an illusion of triumph over it. I enact a childish view of what it means to be satisfied. I seem to triumph over my need for food.

The problem is, the more I crave beef bourguignon, the less I’ll be satisfied with anything else. I may not even enjoy the bourguignon, if I get it, because the actual dish can never compete with my fantasy of it, except for the fact that I can actually eat it.

I think I know more about the experiences I don’t have, my fantasies, than I know about the experiences I do have, the reality of hunger and cooking. The only time I entertain doubts about my craving, they tend to be about whether we can get the beef bourguignon, not about the nature of the satisfaction.

Craving begins as a flight from wanting, but it makes the wanting all the more problematic. Craving steals my hunger and pre-empts it with a ready-made, uncompromisable solution. The solution to hunger becomes more of a problem than hunger, itself.

I could go on, but I’m getting hungry.

For more book reviews and articles on mental health go to my blog, Madness 101.
Profile Image for Mahdi.
45 reviews32 followers
July 4, 2022
نکاتی که قبل خوندن این کتاب بهتره بدونید:

یک) عنوان کتاب گمراه‌کننده‌ست. این کتاب درباره حسرت نیست. بیشتر درباره‌ی "اشتیاق‌داشتن" هست شاید؟ یا "میل‌ورزیدن"، "خواستن"، "سرخوردگی از به‌دست‌نیاوردن". "ترسیدن از ازدست‌دادن و نرسیدن"، "انتظارات و خیال‌پردازی‌های آرزومندانه غلط درباره‌ی خواسته‌هامون که بعدا باعث مشکلات زیاد می‌شه و backfire می‌کنه."
ولی بازم کاملا نه. چون کتاب متشکل از پنج‌تا مقاله + یه ضمیمه هست و واقعا نمی‌تونید انتظار داشته باشید که درباره چی قراره حرف بزنه؛ چون پراکنده‌ست و بعضی جاها انگار نویسنده داره بلند بلند فکر می‌کنه و افسار افکارش از دستش خارج شده.

دو) کتاب سخت‌خوان و frustrating هست. خودم خیلی جاها رو نفهمیدم و اول فکر کردم مشکل من یا مشکل ترجمه‌ست، اما ریویوها رو که خوندم، فهمیدم سبک نویسنده‌ست و در واقع هیچ‌کس نفهمیده!

سه) اگه اتلو، هملت و مکبث رو خونده باشید، احتمالا کتاب رو بهتر متوجه بشید. چون کتاب تئوری‌هاش رو ربط می‌ده به شخصیت‌های این نمایشنامه‌ها. (رشته نویسنده هم ادبیات بوده و هم روان‌کاوی)
البته من خودم نخونده بودم اینا رو.
اگه با نظریه‌های فروید و باقی روان‌کاوها هم آشنایی داشته باشید، بازم کمک می‌کنه به فهمیدن بیشتر. (که اینا رو هم باز خودم نخونده بودم و اطلاع نداشتم)
ولی اشتباه نکنید. حتی اگه اینا رو بدونید، بازم قرار نیست واقعا بفهمید. چون حرف‌های کتاب واقعا پیچیده و دیوونه‌کننده‌ست!

(تجربه‌ی خودم از خوندن کتاب:
ده بیست صفحه اول واقعا سرم رو می‌خواستم بکوبم به دیوار از بس هیچی نمی‌فهمیدم و متن آشفته بود، بعد تا صفحه پنجاه اسکیپ کردم و دیگه می‌خواستم کتاب رو دراپ کنم که یه جمله خوندم و گفتم هوم، جالبه. و باعث شد به خوندن ادامه بدم. و خوشحالم که دووم آوردم و ادامه دادم.
با اینکه خیلی جاها رو نفهمیدم و متوجه نشدم (و واقعا عصبانی‌کننده بود. هوووف) اما اون‌جاهایی رو که متوجه شدم، واقعا واقعا جالب و زیبا و تفکربرانگیزناک بود. یعنی کتاب برای من حرف‌های واوبرانگیز زیاد داشت که زیرشون خط کشیدم.)

حالا نکته‌ی چهار) این کتاب قرار نیست راه‌حل بده. حتی قراره بیشتر از جواب، سوال‌های بیشتر ایجاد کنه و بعضی جاها آدمو گیج کنه. و نویسنده هیچ قطعیتی نسبت به حرف‌هاش و نظریه‌هاش نداره و تقریبا آخر هر مقاله می‌نویسه "و این جای تامل دارد". یعنی می‌خوام بگم این کتاب هیچی برای اثبات، و هیچ نقشه‌ای برای نجات و هیچ راه‌حلی برای ارائه نداره. فقط نظر و فکره.
و بله، این ممکنه عذاب‌آور باشه، ولی نه عذاب‌آورتر از کتاب‌ها و نویسنده‌هایی که فکر می‌کنن راز زندگی و جهانی رو پیدا کردن و می‌خوان به هر زوری اینو برای خواننده‌ها اثبات کنن. راز زندگی و جهانی که واقعا اونقدرها هم ازش نمی‌دونیم و پره از عدم قطعیت‌ها، سردرگمی‌ها، گیجی‌ها، روانی‌شدن‌ها، چراها، نمی‌دونم‌ها، نمی‌فهمم‌ها، سوال‌های بی‌جواب و...
چون به قول فرانسوا ویون (و خیر اصلا نمی‌دونم ایشون کی هست و چی کاره بود و اسمش رو هم حفظ نیستم، فقط این نقل‌قول ازش رو اول کتاب «مهمانسرای دو دنیا» خوندم):
«از نظر من هیچ‌چیز مطمئن‌تر از نامطمئن نیست.»

با وجود این‌ها، کتاب برای من خیلی مفید بود و اگه توی زمان درست خونده بشه و صبر زیادی داشته باشید، می‌تونه براتون مفید باشه؛ اون درصد اندکی که از این کتاب فهمیدم خیلی کمک‌کننده بود و باعث شد نسبت به خودم و احساساتم و مشکلاتم (اون‌ دسته از احساسات و مشکلاتی که کتاب درباره‌شون صحبت کرد) شناخت بیشتری داشته باشم، بیشتر به ریشه اون‌ها و approachم نسبت به بعضی‌هاشون فکر کنم و احساس بهتر و آروم‌تری نسبت بهشون داشته باشم.
Profile Image for AthenaAfs.
4 reviews1 follower
June 28, 2022
شروع کتاب، بیشتر شبیه به مراودات روانشناسی مبنی بر فلسفه روزمره عامیانه بنظر میرسه، اما رفته رفته بار فلسفی و ادبی به ایجاد سبک کتاب مبنی بر بسط اندیشه های فلاسفه و روانکاوان(مشخصا فروید و ژیژک و سارتر)، تا نمایشنامه های شکسپیر، منجر میشه و همین ویژگی، علاوه بر اینکه توجیه احتمالی حفظ روند ادبیاتی_نمایشی انتشارات بیدگل هست، سبکی جدید برای ارائه مطالب نه چندان یک دست، هم بنظر میاد.
در هر صورت، کتاب برخلاف عنوانش، مبانی میان رشته ای، ادبیات- نمایش و فلسفه را در برداره که بنظر میرسه گامی نه چندان کافی و جذابی، در توضیح عنوان فرعی بسیار جذاب (در ستایش زندگی نازیسته) هست.
Profile Image for Mohamed Khaled Sharif.
819 reviews922 followers
January 6, 2023

"إننا لا يمكن أن نتخيل حياتنا بدون ما تحتويه من حيوات لم نعشها. إننا لدينا شعور دائم، وإن كان غامضًا وغريبًا، بأن الحيوات التي نعيشها تدفعها الحيوات التي تفوتنا. وتُعرّف حيواتنا بالفقدان، لكن فقدان ما كان يمكن أن يكون، فقدان أمور لم نجربها قط. وبمجرد أن تصبح الحياة الأخرى، الحياة الأفضل -الحياة الأكمل- هي هذه الحياة التي نحياها، تكون لدينا مهمة كبيرة بين أيدينا. وكأن شخصًا ما يطلب منا لا أن نعيش وحسب؛ بل على أفضل نحو ممكن. بل أن نعيش في رخاء، ليس مجرد حياة طيبة وحسب؛ بل على أفضل نحو ممكن، وهذا نوع مختلف من المطالب. وتصبح قصة حياتنا هي قصة الحيوات التي حرمنا عيشها."

كتاب "فوائت الحياة: في مدح حياة لم نعشها" عبارة عن كتاب مقالات يتحدث عما يفوتنا من الحياة، وتلك لأسباب كثيرة، الاستحالة مثلاً، أو صعوبة المرور بهذه الحيوات وخياراتها المُتعددة، ويُعدد الكاتب "آدم فيليبس" الأسباب المُختلفة والمتنوعة التي تجعل تلك الحياة تفوتنا، منها الهروب مثلاً، واختيارك الشخصي ألا تمر بها، ألا تُنجب فلا تُصبح أباً بالتبعية، وغيرها من القرارات التي نتخذها، وحاول أن يقرب أكثر الصورة من خلال أمثلة من مسرحيات "شكسبير".

في الحقيقة، لا أنكر أن الكتاب أضاف لي، ولكن لم يضف الكثير، المقالات شعرت أنها مُتشابهة، فقط تختلف في التعقيد، أحياناً كانت الفقرات شديدة التعقيد، وأحياناً يسيرة الفهم، وفي الحالتين يؤدوا إلى نفس المعنى والغاية، فكان التكرار عاملاً أساسياً آثناء القراءة. وأظن السبب في ذلك، أن مقالات الكتاب نُشرت بطريقة مُتفرقة فلما جُمعت في كتاب واحد، كان هناك العديد من الأفكار المُتشابهة. بالإضافة إلى أن الترجمة، لم تكن في أفضل أحوالها. ولكنها لا تزال تجربة مهمة لمن يُحب أن يقرأ في الموضوع.

Profile Image for C.M. Subasic.
Author 1 book72 followers
May 9, 2023
Are you missing the joke of life? Are you ever satisfied? Do you seem to always live the life you don't have? Do fantasies seem more real than the world around you?

Adam Phillips is a psychoanalyst who also spends his Wednesdays writing. Originally standing firmly in the Freudian camp, from essay to essay and book to book he has drifted into the world of philosophy. In this book he looks at:

* How we can never understand what we really want until we can recognize the nature of our frustration.
* How knowing what we don't want -- what we are running from -- may show us more about ourselves than what we think we want.
* How (in my view) our world has shifted from one where morality meant something to one where morality is a game, where the Good Person is replaced by the Impressive Person, and being caught lying is now the crime as opposed to lying itself.
* We always want to be somewhere other than now, and we spend our time searching for the escape. To paraphrase Anna Freud, fantasies are the one area of our life where we can have our eggs any way we want them but we cannot eat them.
* How our yearning, our striving, our continual hope for satisfaction is a game we play with ourselves to deal with the shifting sands of life. That frequently, our search for satisfaction is about revenge.
* Some thoughts on why we get pleasure watching the mad attempt to get what they want. About how the mad are actually those who are filled with the certainty of their view of the world, and how seeing them in character form helps us to face the madness of the world around us.

Whew! Heady stuff.

And not written for the pleasure reader, either. Phillips has this annoying habit of using clauses within clauses within em dashes and brackets. This style makes some of his passages difficult going. For example:

But one of the strange things about satisfaction is that its anticipation precedes its realization; that it happens twice -- not quite the first time as farce and the second time as tragedy -- but first wishfully (in fantasy) and then in reality if one is lucky.

Each sentence is itself a Russian doll, then each paragraph enters the realm of thought tornado, with so many ideas flying about it makes you dizzy. Luckily they are all thoughts packed with insight.

He is a fan and student of literature, particularly Shakespeare, and uses the verbal arts as a launching pad for many of his thoughts.

The back flap of the book promises that Phillips will explain how, "if we accept frustration as a means to finding out what we really want, satisfaction becomes possible." But I must admit, these plot points are made only through the subtextual connections in this book. Leaps of thought are required.

One can fault this book for its optimistic marketers who wanted to sell it to a mass audience, the inability of the editor to help refine the focus and for the copy editor letting Phillips get away with dense prose. But it does have immense value.

As a writer with a background in theatre and a keen interest in the origins and purposes of story, I found this book eminently thought-provoking.

I would recommend it to those who love Shakespeare, theatre, writers interested in delving into the depths of their characters and anyone who has looked at the world and wondered why they are not driven mad by its workings.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
3,671 reviews2,667 followers
July 26, 2016
A very promising subject, but I never got past page 34. Here’s an example of Phillips’s occasionally repetitive, almost tongue-twister style: “Knowing too exactly what we want is what we do when we know what we want, or when we don’t know what we want.” (Starting to sound like Rumsfeld and his ‘known unknowns’ there!)
Profile Image for Eliza.
478 reviews16 followers
February 14, 2013
2/14/2013: Well. That was tough. I was looking forward to reading this book, as it got good reviews and I love the premise that we all have unlived lives that are actually part of our lived lives, and that we need to accommodate those unlived lives into our lives and not feel regret that we can't have lived them. (Or…something like that. At least that's what I gleaned from the reviews!)

But I was not expecting what I got, which was a dense academic psychoanalytic study of frustration, satisfaction, "getting it," "getting away with it," and "getting out of it." Reading the Prologue, I thought, uh-oh. I got kind of where he was going with the expected premise, but only barely. And the Prologue was the easiest part, and the closest he ever gets to discussing that premise--as far as I could tell.

The five subsequent chapters just kept reminding me of what it felt like shoveling all that snow last weekend: heavy, endless, and incomprehensible. I kept thinking, is this the sentence that I get to put in my review as the most baffling one in the book? And the next one would be more so! But every once in a while I'd get a glimmer of hope, as I understood the concept explained in one paragraph. Phillips brings literature into his arguments (Othello, King Lear, and Philip Larkin's poetry are his main texts), which sometimes helped me understand his points. And I think the book is well written, as clear as this kind of psychoanalytic theory can be. (Though I have no idea.) But sometimes I had to laugh at the earnestness and ease with which Phillips throws around the ideas and quotes from the Big Guys of Psychoanalysis. I'm not sure whom he is talking to in this book…but it isn't me, unfortunately.
Profile Image for Maher Razouk.
673 reviews188 followers
January 3, 2023
‏«بالطبع علينا أن نشبع رغباتنا بجعل الناس يساعدوننا في تلبية تلك الرغبات . إننا نمارس الضغط على العالم كي تسير الأمور لصالحنا . مع ذلك ، سرعان ما نلاحظ ومنذ الطفولة - إذ ربما يكون هذا أول شيء نلاحظه - أن تلبية احتياجاتنا ، وكذلك تحقيق أمنياتنا ، أمر لا يتحقق دائماً»

آدم فيليبس
Profile Image for Meg.
620 reviews
January 5, 2016
This book was mis-titled to say the least. It's about psychoanalysis and Shakespeare, not life choices and the like. (It appealed to me because one of my favorite lines in poetry is Eliot's "footfalls echo in the memory down the passage which we did not take.")

I think I read most of it despite this, but I was annoyed the whole time.
Profile Image for kübraterzi.
169 reviews18 followers
May 20, 2021
"Yaşam, insanlar öyle her istediklerini elde edemedi diye değil, arzuları kendilerine hasar vermeye başladığında, istedikleri şey katlanılmaz kayıplara gebe olduğunda trajik bir hal alır."

Yanına kar kalmak,
Çıkıp gitmek,
Deli rolü üzerine bildiklerimiz ya da bazen kaçırdıklarımız.

Yeniden yoğunlaştırıcı..
Profile Image for Saeed Ramazany.
Author 1 book67 followers
May 10, 2020
عااااالی بود
شاید چون اولین کتاب روانکاوانه‌ای بود که خوندم (کتاب‌های آلن دوباتن که روان‌کاوانه حساب نمیشن؟)

یه ایده‌هایی در مورد رفتارهام بهم داد که حین خوندن دو سه تاشون ضربان قلبم می‌رفت بالا!

از طرفی کتاب واقعا سنگین بود. هم از لحاظ ارجاع به تئاترهای مشهوری که من هیچ ایده ای در موردشون نداشتم، هم انتخاب کلمات، هم توضیح در توضیح داخل ویرگول بین جملات.

فرصت کنم بیشتر در موردش مینویسم.
بعد از این که دوست عزیزی (پریسا حسینی) آدام فیلیپس رو معرفی کرد، کتاب‌هاش رو مرور کردم و دیدم این کتابی که در مورد «حسرت نداشته‌ها» و همچین چیزی هست تقریبا مچه با زندگی و فکرای فعلیم. بسیار راضی‌ام که خوندمش و یکی از بهترین کتاب‌های زندگیم بوده تا حالا(:
Profile Image for nargesf97.
53 reviews2 followers
February 25, 2023
خوندن این کتاب برای من خیلی طولانی شد و اگه مشغله‌ی ذهنی و زندگی شلوغ این روزها رو کنار بذاریم دلیل اصلیش می‌تونه این باشه که این کتاب من رو با واقعیت‌هایی مواجهه می‌کرد.
واقعیت‌هایی که یا خودم و یا آدم‌های دورم تجربه‌ش کردند و میون روزمرگی قاییمشون کردند.
هر بار که به یکی از این جمله‌ها و تعاریف برخورد می‌کردم غرق در گذشته و حال خودم می‌شدم و یا یاد کسی می‌افتادم. کمی ناخوشایند بود اما قاعدتا تاثیر خود رو روی زندگی‌م می‌ذاره.
Profile Image for Mohamad Amin.
40 reviews7 followers
February 9, 2023
یک کتاب نظری که خوندنش یک سری پیش نیاز ها مثل آشنایی با نظریات فروید و لکان و همچنین مقدار کمی هم آشنایی به نمایشنامه های معروف داره .کتاب رویکردی تحلیلی داره که درک دریافتش به خودی خود اسون نیست به خاطر کثرت جزئیات اما خب مترجم هم خوب از پسش بر امده
Profile Image for andy.
183 reviews31 followers
May 16, 2020
I love humanities, but we all know how boring psychologists, philosophers and sociologists can be. However, just like Harari in philosophy, Phillips can’t be boring in psychology. Both men are brilliant in their fields and yet they talk in our tongue when it comes to what makes us humans.

No labels - the prime reason for loving the man´s pen.

A friend who knows him has promised me the chance to meet him if I go back to visit UK next year. That’d be wonderful.

Not sure if I have posted this before, but it is worth posting again. His “I think people shouldn’t apologize and they shouldn’t forgive, but that’s just me” at 59:18 mark, is quite thought provoking.


Favorite highlight from this book: ‘Tragic heroes are failed pragmatists. Their ends are unrealistic and their means are impractical.”
Profile Image for Ahmed Oraby.
960 reviews3,284 followers
April 12, 2023
كتاب مزعج وأسلوب كتابة ركيك وتحليل سخيف وسطحي لأعمال قرأت بعضها ونسيته والبعض الآخر ربما لم أسمع به يومًا، ولو للكتاب ميزة فهو أنه ذكرني ببعض ما قرأت أو نغص علي حياتي لعدم تذكري أي شيء مما قرأت بالفعل
تحليلات سمجة وسطحية في الغالب وطريقة الكتابة والأسلوب مزعجة ومملة، حقيقة أتمنى أن تختفي تلك الطريقة في الكتابة يومًا ما، تلك الطريقة القائمة على فكرة " من كل لون يا باطسطا" فالالتفاف حول الفكرة والتعريف المعجمي التاريخي لكل مصطلح أو كلمة فالسرد والاستطراد أو تطبيق مناهج علم النفس - لك أن تقول أساطيره - على أي شيء للخروج بموعظة ما أو تحليل ما لن يؤدي إلى إضفاء عمق ما أبدًا إن كانت الفكرة نفسها هراء
لم أتصور أن عنوان ومحتوى الكتاب كذلك، وربما هو خطأي من البداية أنني ظننته سيكون تحليل أعمق لمفهوم الحياة، ربما تحليل على طريقة كونديرا في روايته" الخفة غير المحتملة للوجود"
"لا يمكن للإنسانِ أبدًا أن يدرِكَ ماذا عليهِ أن يفعل، لأنهُ لا يملكُ إلا حياةً واحدة لا يسعه مُقارنتها بحيواتٍ سابقة، ولا إصلاحها في حيوات لاحقة "
Profile Image for Irem Tatar.
63 reviews8 followers
August 3, 2020
Sanırım kitabın başlığından dolayı büyük beklentiler içine girdim okurken. Kaçırdığımızı "zannettiğimiz" şeyleri bir bir anlatacak, okurken beni sarıp sarmalayacak sandım. Yanılmışım :) Kitap aslında daha çok bir Shakespeare incelemesi olarak gidiyor, büyük trajedi eserlerindeki hüsran, tatmin, çıkıp gitme kavramları üzerinden psikanalitik incelemeler yapıyor. Fakat ingilizce çeviriden dolayı mı, yoksa gerçekten bazı kavramları ne yaparsak tercüme edemeyeceğimizden dolayı mı, başlığın sunduklarını veremiyor gibi hissettim.

Bir Shakespeare incelemesi olarak okunabilir mi, bilmiyorum. Bu yorumu yapacak kadar tecrübeli değilim...
Profile Image for Andrew.
4 reviews12 followers
May 23, 2014
Incomprehensible for layman reader,even for the one with academic background in psychology. Few interesting, aphoristically formed insights embedded in the ocean of psychoanalytic verbiage. Otherwise - well, not much more.
Profile Image for Sinem A..
450 reviews248 followers
July 10, 2016
çok da yepyeni birşeyler söylemese de edebiyat üzerinden hayatımaza dair yapılan çıkarsamalar küçük notlar almaya üzerine düşünmeye ve birşeyleri anlamaya değer.
Profile Image for Jojo Maz.
38 reviews19 followers
April 12, 2022
هناك دائما الحياة التي سيتبين أنها الحياة التي عشناها، والحياة التي  صاحبتها، الحياة (أو الحيوات) الموازية، التي لم تحدث في الواقع، تلك التي نعيشها في عقولنا، الحياة )أو الحيوات( التي  نتمناها: المجازفات التي لم نُقدم عليها، والفرص التي تجنبناها أو التي لم تتح لنا. ونحن نشير إليها بوصفها حياتنا التي لم نعشها، لأننا نعتقد أنها بصورة ما كانت متاحة لنا، لكنها لم تكن ممكنة لسبب ما. وربما نقضي قدرا كبيرًا من حياتنا في محاولة البحث عن هذا السبب والتذرع به
Profile Image for Cloudy.
69 reviews45 followers
September 29, 2023
| چنانچه برخی چیزها در مورد ما حقیقت داشته باشند، تاب زندگی را نخواهیم داشت. ما باید از نو رضایتمندی‌هایمان را تنظیم کنیم و دوباره به آن‌ها جهت بدهیم. | ص۱۹۶
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