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Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,613 Ratings  ·  195 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 providi
Paperback, Revised 25th Anniversary Edition, 208 pages
Published August 11th 2004 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published January 1st 1980)
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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
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
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
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
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.
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
Johnny Stork
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
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
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
Jessica Powell
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful break down of the transition process and helped to add clarity to not just my present transition but all past ones as well. Definitely a heavy focus on work/career transitions. The section on the Neutral Zone was eye opening and I realized how much I inherently do some of the things suggested but picked up a few more tools. His commentary on the myth of Psyche and Amor in the epilogue was great.
Susan Kavanaugh
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Pretty good book so far...
Micah Grant
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership
This was a great book about how we deal with change. I found organizational applications, but I can see very many examples of how this can be applied in my own personal and family life.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is written for anybody who is looking to gain clarity about how to move forward with their life.
There are a number of plusses about this book and I want to highlight three of them. First, Bridges writes in a very conversational, easy to understand style that draws the reader in. This probably came from the fact that he was a former literature professor before moving into consulting. It reads like a story about how a leader needs to act while leading individuals through a difficult or
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is all about transitions - about recognizing the difference between a transition and simply a change, the stages of transitions (endings, neutral zones, and new beginnings), identifying the transitions and associated stresses in our lives, and understanding how each transition is a "little death" and a partially a loss of our identity. I found some of this book helpful in allowing me to identify the ways I react to certain changes in my life. I also thought it was an overall good guide ...more
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A dear friend sent me this book as I made my latest transition with a move across the country and into a new career. I received it with not much hope, but opened it anyway.

When I first moved, I fought against the sadness and the stagnation. Why was I sad when I was moving to such opportunity? What kept me from embracing my new life with gusto?
After reading Transitions, I realized that I was trying to ignore the natural order of things. I had to let the old life end and live in a neutral zone unt
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Our society focuses on the outward indicators of life's endings and beginnings, while failing to acknowledge the transition period and fundamental inner growth that takes place in between. These inner transitions are uncomfortable, as they are largely uncontrollable and consume our precious time while demonstrating seemingly little outward progress. The author counsels us to hang in there and trust the process.

As someone currently in transition, I found this book comforting. Yes, transitions are
Julia Alberino
A useful resource for people experiencing any type of transition in their lives. When read in the right frame of mind (i.e., open to endings and new beginnings), this book can provide some useful insights. I read it for a class, and it sparked a lively discussion. For me, the most interesting part of the book was the section on the "neutral zone," that period between the ending and the new beginning, when you may think nothing is happening, but when ideas are germinating and pointing the way to ...more
This was a very different perspective on transitions than I though. Very helpful and valuable. My favorite new thought/take away is that a beginning had to have an ending with it. Any time you transition it means a change has happened that requires you to shift internally in some way. This requires leaving the old situation first, and then starting the new part. With all beginnings, there is some type of ending. I liked his writing style and how he pulled in old historical stories about how othe ...more
Kate Powers
Cool concept for sure. A bit longer than it needed to be, but I enjoyed the psychology learning element.

Summary of the book in a quote:
“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 c
Overall, very good. It gave me some very useful, thought-provoking ideas to consider in a time in which I’m experiencing a lot of transition.

I appreciated the attempt to bring in a larger, multicultural perspective, though the book still came across as written from the perspective of a white, COA-gendered, heterosexual man. I think would be enhanced by a more deeply intersectional/multicultural approach. Nonetheless, I would pick up a used copy for my bookshelf if I come across one!
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read the book because my counseling supervisor recommended to our client. There are three phases for life-transitions. Even the seemingly happy change such as promotion or move entails loss of something. Since I am going through life transition, this made sense to me a lot. Also while I was reading this book, it was like I was re-visiting my life transition in the past chronologically and this re-visit was healing to me as well.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this book for professional reasons and realized it was talking about so many different times in my life that I've gone through changes. I kept thinking that I wish I would have read this sooner, but one of the messages of the book is you can't force change so I think I got exactly what I needed to get out of it for the time I am in. This will be a book I return to throughout my life.
Amy Connor
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Corn grows in the night." -- Henry David Thoreau

This is a great read for anyone in between jobs, marriages, homes, etc. A great reminder that the transition itself is an exceptional opportunity for learning/growth and often times more meaningful than the destination.
Kevin Wilkie
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really walks you through transitions that can happen in your life. After having survived many transitions, this explained a lot of things that went on and how I felt.

Highly recommend this book to any one at any time in the life!
Melinda Griffith
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a good time for me to read this. I thought I was reading it for other people, but it was a good exercise for me.
Brian Mount
Nov 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
A classic on transition. Bridges brings so much to the topic, almost too much however, the real meat of the book could have been communicated well in less pages.
Glen Leavens
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Several changes in life with End, Middle than Beginning.
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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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“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.” 2 likes
“You can’t follow the thread of your life very far before you find “the past” changing. Things that you haven’t remembered in years reappear, and things that you’ve always thought were so turn out to be not so at all. If the past isn’t the way you thought it was, then the present isn’t, either. Letting go of that present may make it easier to conceive of a new future.” 1 likes
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