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The Seasons of a Man's Life

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  214 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The first full report from the team that discovered the patterns of adult development, this breakthrough study ranks in significance with the original works of Kinsey and Erikson, exploring and explaining the specific periods of personal development through which all human begins must pass--and which together form a common pattern underlying all human lives.
"A pioneering a
Paperback, 363 pages
Published May 12th 1986 by Ballantine Books (first published 1978)
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C.G. Fewston
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Seasons of a Man’s Life (1978) by Daniel J. Levinson (with Charlotte Darrow, Edward Klein, Maria Levinson and Braxton McKee) is a book for every man at any age of his life, but I recommend The Seasons of a Man’s Life for young men who are in high school or in college because this book will help shape and reshape life decisions for decades to come.

At age 35 I first learned of this book from my late mentor Joseph Campbell, who mentioned this book in an interview ages ago, and I wished I had d
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a rare and invaluable book on the evolution of our perspectives and desires as we age. This is not a self-help book, instead, it explores commonalities across different development periods to illuminate what we should prepare for. The book studies the lives of 40 men aged in their thirties and forties, all in the New York area, with the sample evenly divided across novelists, biologists, executives and workers, all set in the 1970s. Although this sample is not representative of men, let ...more
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: men
Without fully disagreeing with this research, I'm not buying it that these stages are that universal to every man's life. I don't see all of it represented in myself, for start, but even disregarding that, I still find it hard to agree that this pattern they've ''discovered'' pervades every man's life. I think there are exceptions, and grand ones at that.

I also doubt the timings presented here (if not in general, then in particular), and, contrary to what was said by the author, I think it is p
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was interesting and very convincing.

Although I agree with my goodreads friend Elyssa that it would be interesting to see this same study conducted with a younger generation (the subjects of this longitudinal study were mostly born in the 1920s), I found this surprisingly consistent with what I perceive as the stages of development of my contemporaries (and me) and even of my nephews and friends' sons, etc. who are in their 20s and 30s now, and who seem in so many other ways to have grown u
Lee Herman
Oct 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I couldn't finish this book - it's too dated and it's viewpoint is too narrow due to the worldview of the author's time and place. ...more
Jan 03, 2021 rated it liked it
The main argument—that adults have developmental tasks that take place in stages alternating between settling and unsettling one's life structure—has basically been absorbed into culture as common sense. The specificity of the ages bothered me, both because it sometimes seemed like fortune cookie logic ("You will ascend a ladder in the next five years") and because it gave short shrift to the influence of circumstances like economic climate and the expectations of different social groups.

The thi
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good, if somewhat dated look at human male development across the lifecycle. Follow up with study participants who left the area would have been helpful - but of course would not gave altered the basic findings.
Frank Dietze
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
very good psychological insights of mans life
Evan Humphreys
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
An insightful look into the complex, necessary mapping of man's developmental stages. Levinson eruditely & anecdotally debunks the myth that middle age-death is one big depressing stage.

Reading this helped me better understand where my father-in-law learned some key foundations for his mentoring other men.
Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it
This book focuses on how our needs, wants, drives and illusions are supported, diverted and even destroyed by the institutions we work at, the relationships we develop/commit to and the family lives we build. The culmulative effect challenges each life period's structure and thus, determnines the tasks that each person must achieve to successfully pass through.

Interesting to find that every (working) person goes thru the same developmental life periods in the same sequence and with very little v
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The book provided me with an accurate conceptual framework of adult development. It is systematic, straightforward yet deep and insightful. I found its approach of combining between theory and real case studies particularly helpful in apprehending the different facets of adult development.
On a personal level, the book helped me analyse, understand and re-frame my own past development phases, the current one (The age 30 transition) and have insights in what might be my life in the future and how
Ryan Murdock
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
While I did find some of the writing to be a bit dry and academic, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It put the patterns of my past into perspective, it gave new insights into the periods of growth that I went through, and a glimpse of the road ahead. And it gives tremendous insight into the turbulent period of reassessment that happens in the early-40's transition, which is where I find myself right now. The patterns and phases that were discovered in the study matched my life so far very closely ...more
Nov 19, 2014 rated it liked it
The reading reminds me of the Nurture Assumption. The topics are not related, the style of writing is similar.

Years ago I watched a movie that reduced peer identity to 1.5 (Moon is Blue?). The idea is if one takes their age and divides it by 1.5, that age and anyone younger is viewed as young. Similarly if one takes their age and multiplies it by 1.5, that age and anyone older is viewed as old. Both are considered outside peer group.

The second half of this book was no fun to read because I'd rat
Richard Kravitz
Aug 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I remember reading this book distinctly. It was good and hit many of the points I'd been considering about life. In reading it and thinking about my life, I went back to my old "journals" and began typing them. Then, as I read about all of my expoits, I started smoking weed again (I'd stopped back in September, before the school year began) and haven't stopped.

Not much about the book, more about me. But the book did get things going in my mind.
John McElhenney
Aug 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book follows the lives of 30+ men through their young adulthood into late adulthood. By asking about their dreams and the watching how their lives unfold, a lot is revealed about how we work. "Follow your bliss," is a nice mantra, but in reality it is much more complex. It is fantastic to see how these men trekked through their dreams. ...more
Stan Bartkus
Oct 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fantastic read from the viewpoint of developmental psychology & social psychology.

The historical overview of "The Ages of Man" (pgs 325-326) from the perspectives of:Talmud, Confucius, & the Greeks (Solon) are worth the price of the book.

Should be required reading for any man before he hits age 21, and for any gal who wants to be a life-mate for a guy.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I mostly focused on the parts which relate to my own life, but the whole book is full of invaluable information and advice for all men. I will come back to this one again in the future when I need guidance. Some of the other reviewers are saying the information in this book is dated. No it's not. This kind of information doesn’t get dated. Men are men. ...more
Oct 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
I read this in Developmental Psychotherapy class in 1996 when this was still considered relatively "new". I think a lot of the theories about men's development would endure today, but I hope that a new edition is in the works. ...more
Dec 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Rated: B
Covenant Presbyterian Springfield Ohio
Call Number: 155.6 LEV

Phillip Moffitt
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Explores and explains the specific periods of personal development through which all human begins must pass and which together form a common pattern underlying all human lives.
"Around the age forty transition, it begins to occur to you that if there is anything you really want to do, you had better do it." ...more
Nov 23, 2009 added it
Gerontology, about man's aging ...more
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I refer back every 10 years or so! Brilliant
Michele Rice
rated it it was ok
Aug 10, 2015
rated it really liked it
Sep 19, 2008
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Feb 02, 2011
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Jul 15, 2016
Mark Lassiter
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Oct 04, 2017
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Jan 08, 2017
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