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Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,729 ratings  ·  299 reviews
The best-selling guide for coping with changes in life and work, named one of the 50 all-time best books in self-help and personal development

Whether you choose it or it is thrust upon you, change brings both opportunities and turmoil. Since Transitions was first published, this supportive guide has helped hundreds of thousands of readers cope with these issues by providin
Paperback, Revised 25th Anniversary Edition, 208 pages
Published August 11th 2004 by Da Capo Lifelong Books
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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This was assigned work reading! Who knew bosses could assign you books!

The last year has meant a lot of changes at work and the vast majority have been good ones, like, 99.99999%, but our department has had to get used to it, so that's where the assigned reading came from.

Anyway, like most self-help-ish books, you kind of have to figure out what parts work for you and the part that I really valued was the idea of a "neutral" zone between the ending and a new beginning. And this neutral zone is a
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 01, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author recommends taking some time--preferably on a retreat--when faced with a major change before deciding anything. That's reasonable but did not strike me as being enough for a book. Nevertheless, in our time-pressured world, I can see how it could be useful to listen to this nice gentleman encouraging us to pause.

Oct 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Glenn Williams
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I believe this is considered a classic in its genre, and after reading it I can understand why. It provided me with some valuable insight and some reasonable ideas on how to use the new information: ideas that I could start to work with right away. The information felt timeless as well. I did feel the book could have been organized better. The major ideas were revisited several times in different places in the book, as if there was nothing more to say, so we'll just say the same thing a bit diff ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
My review may be biased, as I'm not a fan of self help books.

I found the book itself to be a bit bland and repetitive. The prologue and epilogue alone covers the bases of the content in between. I think I may read this again once I find myself in a more significant transition.
Jim Thomas
Oct 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
Lots of words, not much meat.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I read "Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes" by William Bridges, considered a classic in the genre in preparation for a workshop that I am co-facilitating in October.

I found the material presented here useful and thought-provoking. Bridges takes us through his theoretical model of how we move through transition in our lives: "endings," "the neutral zone," and "new beginnings." And, as is the intent, inspired me to apply these concepts to transitions in my own life. Some things that I fo
Loy Machedo
Apr 24, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Rebecca Waring-Crane
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
There are useful nuggets in this, but this book seemed to be quite heavily targeted at those who are going through the retirement or unemployment process. A lot of the explanations hinge on analysis of Greek mythology - Odysseus, Oedipus, Psyche - which makes it feel a bit like a student’s essay rather than an authoritative text.

The most insightful section focused on the ‘neutral zone’ - the period between an end and adjusting to a new beginning - and the advice for coping with the neutral zone
Feb 18, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
I barely got into this book before I had to return it, but it wasn't the right book for me at this time. I know lots of people have found it very helpful - and that's great! - but it wasn't the one for me. ...more
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wish I had read this book several years ago when I went through a major transition in my life.
May 08, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to me by my pastor, but it is mainstream (not Christian focused) advise on navigating transitions in life. The author breaks transitions down into three stages: ending, neutral zone, new beginning. It was interesting to read as I thought about transitional stages I've been through in my own life and it gave me some tools to navigate future transitions that will surely occur. And just because the author broke the stages into three sections does not mean there is an easy, linear path t ...more
Kolby Golliher
Some good nuggets, especially in the latter half of the book, but gosh this book is annoyingly circular
Rev. Linda
For a Januarymester Brite Divinity Course for those of us graduating soon --- From the Publisher: Whether it is chosen or thrust upon you, change brings both opportunities and turmoil. Since first published 25 years ago, Transitions has helped hundreds of thousands of readers cope with these issues by providing an elegantly simple yet profoundly insightful roadmap of the transition process. With the understanding born of both personal and professional experience, William Bridges takes readers st ...more
Katie T
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
This 2 star rating is very personal. I can tell this book has value and helpful information but I couldn't connect with it. Maybe listening to it in audiobook format isn't the right route. I should prob have a real copy and be highlighting and making notes and lists.

But I didn't do that. So I was left hearing things but not really connecting to any insight or advice. I literally cannot tell you one thing I took away from this that would help with transitions, change or anxiety. It's like I hear
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book helped me name a lot of discomfort in my current situation (repatriating after four years overseas, changing jobs--maybe even careers, living with family instead of on my own, etc.).

I appreciate the understanding I gained about the messiness of transition. The clarification of what is external change in our lives and what is internal transition was helpful. The author presented several prompts and suggestions of how to process and navigate the stages of transition.

I'd recommend this
Jade Pham Gift
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When going thru dramatic life changes, I often heard well-meaning friends said "when a door is closed, God open another..." or some variation of it which did not thing to easy the stress of going through it. This book was recommended to me by a friend, and it was very helpful to understand what I was dealing with and how I could cope with changes and managed the transition times, within my own power and stayed afloat, until I could find my own way thru and out of the situation.

Sarah Alderbas
Jul 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Couldnt get into it! I tried reading the first 100 pages but couldnt get into it!!
Emily Lewis
Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it
It took me over a year to finish this book. There were some excellent nuggets in there, but I found it quite wordy and hard to follow.
Evan Steele
Feb 26, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

I can certainly see why this book has been so helpful to some. Bridges presents a very helpful paradigm for life change. He asserts that transition is something more than change and that it is best expressed in three steps Ending, Neutral Zone, and New Beginning. He commends that by correctly processing and journeying through each stage we can be in a significantly better position to embrace whats next.

The book contains several helpful examples of people going through life changes. B
Aug 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Suggested by a friend as we were both moving out of our long-term jobs and into a new chapter of life. Not often I give 5-stars to a book, and this one was nearly a 4-star, but I think it was the "right book at the right time", and really gave me a lot to think about when it was helpful to do so (ie, for me, in my 40s).

There is a lot in here, but key messages for me resonated with the idea that "life is change", and that a mid-life crisis is only a crisis if you panic, and is otherwise one of ma
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always meant to read this book, but never did until a friend gave it to Tom. So I nabbed it and turns out that I found it helpful. Not sure I would have liked the original edition, based on what the author says about it, but this edition was certainly worth a read. Of course, what makes it wise is that it draws on a lot of different stories and examples to remind us that we must sort it all out for ourselves. But it does offer some helpful insights about how that can work, and the always-helpf ...more
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is extremely helpful, well written and enjoyable. The stories included, from other cultures, mythology and the author's own experience, make it all very relatable and accessible. It would be helpful for anyone going through absolutely any kind of transition to read this book. I plan to suggest it to several friends, colleagues past and present as well as family members. I am very glad to have read it, and will look to read more of William Bridges' books, some of which are for even more ...more
Aug 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Read the 40th anniversary edition of this book. The best book of the year!
Peter Saunders
Dec 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I wish I had read this book some years ago before I had gone through a number of significant life transitions. It was recommended on a coaching course I am currently doing and I read the later 2019 edition which has a much more attractive cover than shown here. It is subtitled 'Strategies for coping with the difficult, painful and confusing times in your life'. It is essentially an expansion of Bridges' core teaching that any transition in life has three phases - an ending, a neutral zone of reo ...more
Johnny Stork, MSc
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Raphael Donaire
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book is the sake of good reflections about life, endings, changes, and transitions. William Bridges shared with us a mental model to deal with moments of complete and in-depth marks on our experience.
Every transition rises, defining and dealing with an end. This phase has five different moments:
- Disengagement: the separation of what you have lost;
- Dismantling: taking apart the structure;
- Disidentification: the way that loss destroys the old identity you had
- Disenchantment: disillusioned
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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

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Horror fiction, as a genre, can be fascinating to track over time. The scary stories that we tell ourselves often reflect the anxieties we’re...
181 likes · 32 comments
“In other words, change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological. It is not those events, but rather the inner reorientation and self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life. Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture. Unless transition happens, the change won’t work, because it doesn’t “take.” 7 likes
“transition always starts with an ending. To become something else, you have to stop being what you are now; to start doing things a new way, you have to end the way you are doing them now; and to develop a new attitude or outlook, you have to let go of the old” 4 likes
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