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Families and How to Survive Them
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Families and How to Survive Them

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  708 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Written in an unconventional dialogue form, this book explores the inner workings of the modern family, and the interactions between couples and their children.
Paperback, 152 pages
Published November 29th 1984 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1983)
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I enjoyed this hugely for the first hundred pages, by page one hundred and fifty I noticed I was going slow and it had become a bit of a bore, after that it was more of a struggle and I felt I was reading on only in the hope of the next cartoon. Because yes, this text is broken up by little cartoons. In fact it was the fault of the cartoons that I ended up reading the book altogether because I remember in conversation a cartoon in which three men are having a very superficial conversation in a p ...more
Oct 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Oof. I think this may be a brilliant example of remembering what's valuable and forgetting the rest. I remember reading this book years ago and finding the discussions of how and why we replicate family relationships and how we are drawn to people hiding the same problems as ourselves fascinating. And so they are still. But I'd completely forgotten the outdated ideas about the causes of depression, autism or schizophrenia; the positivity around fairly strict 'innate' gender roles and the snark a ...more
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: growth
This is one fantastic book! Everyone needs a little bit of psychotherapy and I feel like this book can offer you a lot of information about why we are the way we are. So, if you want to understand yourself, your parents, your partner, your friends... If you want to deal with some things from the past, if you are in a love relationship... If you're becoming to be a parent or already are one... Don't waste a second and read this book!!
Milica Chotra
Dec 13, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Milica by: Milenija Trandafilovic
"Čuveni Pajtonovac i njegov psihoterapeut u duhovitom dijalogu otkrivaju kako struktura porodica iz kojih smo potekli oblikuje nas i naše živote, i nude ohrabrenje i putokaz za ostvarenje sreće," piše na korici ove knjige. Skeptik, kakva sam, nisam u njoj tražila putokaz za sreću, pa ni ohrabrenje, ali me je zanimalo psihološko objašnjenje uticaja porodičnog okruženja na naš psihosocijalni razvoj, a budući ljubitelj britanskog humora, očekivala sam da ću se usput i zabaviti. Umesto toga, dobila ...more
Graeme Cumming
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Most books should be read once, so it doesn't matter whether you buy it or borrow it. In this case, it does matter. Everyone should have a copy, and everyone should read it at least once every 5 years.

If you see the name John Cleese, you might be expecting belly laughs. You might enjoy the occasional smile, and you won't get bored, but you won't be rolling around on the floor laughing. I don't say that to put you off - just manage your expectations.

This book will open your eyes to the way in whi
Jan 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010, read-1998
Excellent. Written as conversations between John Cleese (of Fawlty Towers fame) and his family therapist, Robin Skynner. This book looks at psychiatry for the layman, in terms of why some people are happy while others aren't; why some people have repressed emotions, and what happens to them; what can cause people to become 'stuck' in their development from babyhood.

I don't agree with every word - the recommendations about strict discipline for children seem over-harsh to me, for instance - but
Laura Mada
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Amazing! It's unbelievable how common sensical most things seem and how most (if not all) situations described remind one of personal experience or of that of people around them.
Having a baby and a toddler in the family, I can honestly say that they will benefit from the fact that both parents have read the book.
Jun 07, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was a bit hard for me to get through. Perhaps psychology isn't my thing. But I got interested towards the end, once it got into all of the sexual identity stuff. I also wonder if psychiatrists etc even still have these same beliefs, since the book was written almost 30 years ago now. But I will read anything John Cleese has anything to do with and that is the cross I have to bear.
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ох, най-сетне успях да прочета нещо всъщност.
Много приятно, достъпно четиво.
Marc Borgers
Oct 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
If you have little children and want to know what is going on in their head, this is a good start...
If you want to know why you married the partner you are married to, this is a good start too...
Eva Ptašková
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolute must read for any amateur psychology enthusiast who wants to understand their own development and how their family's influenced them and their relationships.
D.A. Cairns
Sep 19, 2012 rated it liked it
An interesting and different book on psychology which is aimed at the average reader rather than the psychology student or medical expert. It takes the form of a conversation between English funnyman, John Cleese and his psychologist, Robin Skinner. Much like actual conversation, it tends to ramble at times, but it is quite witty. I could hear Cleese's voice in my head as I read. It also features cartoon illustrations which add to the "not too heavy" feel to the book.

As Freud blamed all psycholo
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
The whole book is written in dialogue form between John Cleese and his old Therapist (Skynner). They discuss the psychological development of the child and how it can be disrupted. How we chose our partners and how families repeat patterns of behaviour down through the generations is looked at in great depth.

They discuss some very complicated psychoanalytic theory in a very accessible way, without once mentioning any technical terms. I already know a great deal of what they were discussing, but
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've read this before many years ago and remember finding all the cartoons funny but possibly alarmingly I don't think I took anything away from the book. This time I found it much more interesting, possibly because I have my time for non fiction now and also because I am in a better place in my life. Being pregnant probably helped as I'm very open to creating a fabulously nurturing environment for my little sproglett whilst trying to figure out how to handle my current step-mother hang ups and ...more
Alice Florence
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: on-shelf
This book is written as an informal chat between Cleese and Skynner where they discuss how people's family influences who they choose as a partner and how that feeds on to how their new family functions once they have kids. Some bits are interesting - after reading it, I notice a lot more how couples seem to come from similar background even if the similarities aren't obvious. However, a lot of the theory and ideas are just too dated for me to pay them much attention at all. Homosexuals are devi ...more
Joaquim Igreja
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Um livro muito interessante sobre as terapias de grupo nomeadamente para fins de aconselhamento matrimonial. John Cleese (ator, do Monty Python) e o psiquiatra Robin Skynner conversam sobre casamento, filhos, amor, educação, paranoias, tudo aquilo que nos preocupa. Um livro que se desenvolve em 5 longos diálogos mas que se leem com muita facilidade até porque os autores vão ajudando os leitores a perceberem tudo. Um livro com quase 30 anos mas com muitas coisas interessantes para vivermos a vida ...more
Thomas Strömquist
"I was incredibly impressed with this book when I was younger and I've read it a number of times. The psychology of people functioning (or rather, not) as families is explored and explained by Robin Skynner in conversations with John Cleese. However, it does feel dated now, and some of the ideas perhaps turned out not to be the truth. It is still highly enjoyable though, containing both insights as well as a lot of fun passages and comments."
Sep 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
It is particularly interesting how psychoterapy tends to make itself religion-like by owing virtually all inconveniencies of human personality to such early a childhood that no method of proving particular behavior of patient or patient's parents in that period exists. Still, no verifiable explanations of various pathologic and/or semi-pathologic states. This book contains a bunch of unconventional ideas, though without solid proof of them, therefore my rating is only 3*.
Sep 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Read this when it was first published as part of my husband's search for the reasons behind some of his behaviour patterns. All part of facing up to his depressive side. I found some of it very good, but obviously didn't agree with all of it. I think I discovered that I was a "good enough" mother rather than a perfect one.
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Může být knížka psaná formou rozhovoru Johna Cleese z Monty Pythonů s psychiatrem vůbec špatná? Nejde to. Rozmělnění kresleným vtípkem přicházejí přesně ve chvílích, kdy témata začínají být na laika přece jen trochu moc psycho. Povinná literatura pro všechny, kteří uvažují o tom, že by si jednoho dne mohli někoho vzít a mít s ním nedejbože dítě.
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very good intro to stuff you might not know about how we chose our friends, partners etc.

Nicely written, in an understandable format, a conversation between Sinner and Cleese.

Very helpful in unpicking some of the crap that we encounter in interactions with our families.

I recommend this to my daughter Jo!
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read, but only scratching the surface. As soon as I felt like we were getting somewhere, it moved on to a new subject. But I guess that's what the goal of the book was, to give a brief overview of everything in the earlier personal development and family. Interesting nevertheless.
Alain van Hoof
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read the Dutch version. Very interesting psychology theories about how we become what we are, depending on our first 4 years after birth. Makes you look to your family relations with a new perspective.
Maria Meagher
Totally out of date
Sophie Vyncke
Feb 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Leuk om tussendoor in de bladeren, passages opnieuw te lezen en er even over na te denken.
Anastasia Alfimova
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Tells a lot interesting things about your family and how it influences one's personality.
This was a very interesting read but kind of dated, especially the part about child discipline. I did learn a lot, though now I want to read more on the subject but from a more modern perspective.
Luka Debeljak
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really amazing insight into the parenthood, marriage and what you can influence or do wrong. Written in an interview form... Everyone can learn a lot!
Michael Dorothy
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
This book is amazing. It answered to my main questions regarding relationships in family.
Алена Tалапіла
Вельмі цікавы і сістэмны выклад псіхалагічнага развіцця чалавека ад уласнага нараджэння да нараджэння сваіх дзяцей.
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Robin Skynner was a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot who flew the Mosquito twin-engined bomber, and was also a psychiatric pioneer and innovator in the field of treating mental illness. Trained in Group Analysis and working as a child psychiatrist, and a family therapist, he employed group-analytic principles in that therapeutic modality. He was a gifted teacher and practitioner of psychotherapy with i ...more
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