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The Schopenhauer Cure

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  12,480 ratings  ·  820 reviews
Suddenly confronted with his own mortality after a routine checkup, eminent psychotherapist Julius Hertzfeld is forced to reexamine his life and work -- and seeks out Philip Slate, a sex addict whom he failed to help some twenty years earlier. Yet Philip claims to be cured -- miraculously transformed by the pessimistic teachings of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer -- ...more
Paperback, 358 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published June 4th 2000)
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Zoé In case you haven't found the quote yet, here it is:
"The cheerfulness and buoyancy of our youth are due partly to the fact that we are climbing the…more
In case you haven't found the quote yet, here it is:
"The cheerfulness and buoyancy of our youth are due partly to the fact that we are climbing the hill of life and do not see death that lies at the foot of the other side."(less)

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4.21  · 
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 ·  12,480 ratings  ·  820 reviews


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Ahmad Sharabiani
The Schopenhauer cure : a novel, 1st ed, c2005, Irvin D. Yalom
Julius Hertzfeld is a distinguished psychotherapist when a sudden confrontation with his own mortality forces him to re-examine his life and work. Has he really made an enduring difference to the lives of his patients? And what about those he's failed Ð what has happened to them? His attempt to make sense of the past places him on a collision course with former patient Philip Slate a handsome but arrogant and misanthropic sex addict w
...more
Glenn Russell
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing

“Live right, he reminded himself, and have faith that good things will flow from you even if you never learn of them.”
― Irvin D. Yalom, The Schopenhauer Cure

This book receives a five star rating not because the author is on the level with Vladimir Nabokov or Leo Tolstoy, but because this novel is a real page-turner and teaches as great deal about two topics: the dynamics of group psychotherapy and the illustrious nineteenth century philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer. Highly recommended! Take this
...more
BlackOxford
Cancer Cures Neurosis

An episode of the British sci-fi comedy, Red Dwarf, has a disturbing female character with a heavy Germanic accent proclaiming, "Schopenhauer was rrrright: Without pain, life has no meaning. I am about to give your life meaning." This is more or less the central theme of Yalom's novel.

Like Robertson Davies' Manticore, The Schopenhauer Cure follows a series of psycho-analytic therapy sessions, interspersed with background material. But Yalom uses group not individual therapy
...more
Deea
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in psychoanalysis and philosophy
Relationships are difficult: they can cause frustrations, misunderstandings, self-loathing and a whole range of negative feelings, especially if our own mental formation was biased by hurtful past events, even by traumas that we are not able to acknowledge as such. Human mind is a very powerful tool and most of us don’t have any clue how to understand it and use it to our advantage.
”Imagine an ancient city that built a high wall to protect it from the high torrents of an adjacent river. Centu
...more
Ade Bailey
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Irvin Yalom, The Schopehahauer Cure

This is a lovely novel. Its apparently ridiculous ending is not so: it is a wink from the other side of the grave, a fatuous and caring slice of the humour by which we warm ourselves against death, perhaps Schopenhauer’s wink and rare shy smile. In fact, it is a brilliantly constructed novel of ideas. It’s theatrical in that most of the action takes place in a group therapy session, one set (with moveable furniture it turns out), and theatrical in its drawing o
...more
Wendy
Jul 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I know a book was good when I miss the characters for a few days after I finish the book.
Jennifer
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Schopenhauer Cure is a book that lives right at the corner of book nerd street and therapy nerd avenue. I gave it 4 stars because, coincidently, I live on that same corner. Irvin Yalom is more or less the reigning Godfather of group therapy and has written extensively in the field, both in educational theory/practice and fictional "teaching novels". A lot of my appreciation for this novel had to do with reading it for class in conjunction with Yalom's text book "Theory and Practice of Group Ther ...more
James
This is a novel of ideas by Irvin D. Yalom. Given its' title the publisher decided that it would be useful to add the words "a novel" at the top of the front cover; presumably so that it would not be confused with self-help psychology or philosophy texts.
The "novel" portrays the operation of group therapy under the direction of Julius Hertzfeld, an experienced therapist, at the center of the novel. But it also contains contrasting chapters highlighting the life and thought of Arthur Schopenhauer
...more
Kaya
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
“It's not ideas, nor vision, nor tools that truly matter in therapy. If you debrief patients at the end of therapy about the process, what do they remember? Never the ideas—it's always the relationship.”

Yalom has such flow and ease in his writing that the the reader just flies through the pages. The plot is straightforward and Yalom has a strong voice and opinions and so do his characters. Everything and everyone have a purpose. The sessions were surprisingly fun to read despite the severe top
...more
Tiger
Nov 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
The characters were such unlikable jerks it was difficult to sludge through the stooopid plot ... much much better were the biographical chapters about Herr Schopenhauer's life and times!

And the dialogue! Who talks like that? But I suppose it is likely that people in therapy groups might babble like that. The author is talented but could use a lot more humor and media references to spice up the text. I would have liked to see how Britney Spears changed the group's dynamics for example. Or maybe
...more
Sarah
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
“Live right, he reminded himself, and have faith that good things will flow from you even if you never learn of them.”

This is the second book I've read by Yalom,
the first one being When Nietzsche Wept.

The two books actually have a lot in common, especially regarding the characters and their development. They both start with a philosopher, who shows few to none emotions and undergoes some kind of therapy by a lovable and gentle psychotherapist, who at the end succeeds turning the lonely and dist
...more
A Reader
Jan 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
“Would you wiling to repeat the precise life you have lived again and again throughout eternity?”

Being confronted with cancer and his own death the psychotherapist Julius Hertzferd, try to re-examine his life and work. For reasons that he cannot clearly understands he seeks out Philip Slate, a sex-addict and old patient, which he failed to help. Philip, now a doctor of philosophy, claims to have been cured with the help of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. He says that he wants to be a philos
...more
نیلوفر رحمانیان
Yalom himself is afraid of death, that became obvious to me the first moment i finished his "creatures of a day". I mean that can be the reason why he became an existentialist psychotherapist in the first place, right? And that i share with him. Im so afraid of death myself even though im 60 years younger than him that even the thought can paralyze me. But something interesting happened in thic book. He started the book by diagnosing cancer, an un curable melanoma to be precise, and gave me the ...more
Nicole
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: underwhelming, meh
"One can never read too little of bad, or too much of good books: bad books are intellectual poison; they destroy the mind."

— Arthur Schopenhauer, 'On Books and Reading', Essays of Schopenhauer

It surprises me that a book with Schopenhauer in the title should leave itself open to such extreme Schopenhauerian criticism. Obviously any novel would fall into a category that was despised in its entirety by Schopenhauer (who lumps together 'political or religious pamphlets, novels, poetry, and the like
...more
Hamed Zakerzadeh
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Mankind has learned a few things from me which it will never forget."

The contents are very amazing, but the story could be much stronger.
Florentina
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The sort of book that reminded me why I love reading. It opened up so many trains of thoughts and when I finished it, I felt like I have a 1% better understanding on people and human relationships in general. It’s truly outstanding how Yalom manages to not get preachy while teaching you so many things.
Michael Shore
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A masterful blend of Schopenhauer’s life and ideas, and the dynamics of group therapy.

Yalom brilliantly weaves nuanced and deeply relatable characters, fantastic multi-character dialog (which makes up the bulk of the book), and deep philosophical exploration into a hard-to-put-down package.
Jafar
Nov 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Not very good as a novel -- the ending was especially weak and forced. This book would have been better as a non-fiction. There's a running biography of Schopenhauer and a character who claims that he's used Schopenhauer's philosophy to cure himself where therapy failed him. The merging of the two is not very convincing. However, I did enjoy reading the sections about group therapy, which Yalom must have drawn from his years of experience as a therapist. If you're curious to know what group ther ...more
Ati
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Out of Yalom's books I have read so far, this one was the least interesting for me specially that I read it after "becoming Myself". Yalom nicely integrates Schopenhauer's philosophy and therapy in this book, through a not so well plotted story. There are a lot of life lessons in the book.
Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This was - on the whole - an excellent book. It serves both as a good introduction to the thought of Arthur Schopenhauer for the lay person and an interesting exploration of various personality types in group therapy with one another.

All the action for the novel takes places (with very few and short exceptions) during the group sessions of a therapist who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. These are his last session with his favorite group. And, taking stock of his life, he chooses t
...more
Don
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mental-health
Pure magic. The Schopenhauer Cure can serve as a textbook for a group therapy class (or at least an extended case study to be read along with an actual textbook), but it's an absorbing novel in its own right. The book's action primarily takes place in a counseling office, with the characters working out their problems in a psychotherapy group. This might sound like a recipe for a dull read, but as Julius Hertzfeld, the book's therapist and primary protagonist, points out, students required to ob ...more
Aryeh Levine
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the first novel I've read about group therapy, yet I am confident I will not read a better one.
Yalom is a new favorite.
Dajana J.
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Whenever I love a book way to much or when a book leaves me with such great love about it, I'm too overwhelmed to organize my thoughts and I just start of saying "I can't find the words to tell you how much I love this book!" and that is true, really. But today I have so many things to say that I'm afraid my very simple words won't even get close to describe and tell you how much this book means to me. I'm sure saying "I love this book" won't be strong enough or big enough or anywhere close to w ...more
Christy
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely adore Irvin Yalom. He manages to mix philosophical contemplation with psychological analysis while narrating a fantastic story that was actually almost a tear-jerker in the end. This book is absolutely perfect.

As for the plot, a former sex offender claims to have cured himself on the philosophies of Schopenhauer, although his skeptical therapist is unconvinced, offering to swap his own group therapy for a consideration of this magical cure.

There's nothing I could change or criticize
...more
Barnaby Thieme
Jan 22, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, hated
This dreadful, pretentious book is the quintessential vanity project. Its hero, an undisguised version of the author, is a powerful, wise, and beloved therapist who embodies and understands the only possible point of view allowed into the novel's claustrophobic universe. Yalom should have stuck to his magnificent theoretical writings and left art to the artists. This is a dismal failure and one of the worst books I've read in many years.
Carmen
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book so much that I just went and bought it in English in order to read it in its original version. The book has also given me a yearning to read some of Schopenhauer's writings.

Much food for thought, it made me think about many things, for example: when someone asks me a question do I answer directly or do I also evade getting involved
Erfan Hamdi
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was quiet a good book overall .
but at some points like those therapy sessions i couldnt catch the grip of it and got a little bored.
Robin Friedman
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Philosophical Therapy

Irvin Yalom has had a multi-faceted career as a practicing psychotherapist, as a leading writer of texts on group therapy, and as a novelist. Yalom also had a deeply-based interest in philosophy. His novel "The Schopenhauer Cure" attempts to integrate fundamental human concerns, the search for love, for meaning in life, and for a way to accept death, with a novelistic portrayal of group therapy. It does so through a portrayal of Schopenhauer, among other philosophers. The bo
...more
Susanne Beyer
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Inspiring, enjoyable, disturbing.
Maru
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Schopenhauer Cure was a great novel with the added bonus of also providing very insightful lessons on psychotherapy and philosophy. I applaud Irvin D. Yalom for writing novels about psychotherapy, I really think the idea is genius, as this is a therapy that dives deep into the nature of human beings and their psyche. By writing about this type of therapy, there is a lot of potential for three dimensional characters, detailed plot, and interweaving story lines and Yalom definitely delivers in ...more
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Irvin David Yalom, M.D., is an author of fiction and nonfiction, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University, an existentialist, and accomplished psychotherapist.
“Life is a miserable thing. I have decided to spend my life thinking about it.” 102 likes
“Religion has everything on its side: revelation, prophecies, government protection, the highest dignity and eminence. . . and more than this, the invaluable prerogative of being allowed to imprint its doctrines on the mind at a tender age of childhood, whereby they become almost innate ideas.” 56 likes
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