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Life And How To Survive It

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  314 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Brilliantly entertaining, enlightening and inspiring, Robin Skynner and John Cleese take on the big issue: life, and the challenge of living, in all its myriad forms. This book is an essential guide to surviving life's ups and downs - at home or in the workplace, as a member of a family or society.

Presented in the same lively style as the best-selling Families
Published June 24th 1996 by Cedar Books (first published 1993)
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Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fictions, english
It has been a surprising, thrilling and enjoyable journey through this book. I really like the exchange of ideas and arguments of the two authors, and especially the conversational format of the book.

What is it about? In short, mental health of individuals, families, organizations and societies. But I think I learned more from the detailed discussions than the main points. The book covers how we think about and deal with family members, neighbors, colleagues, friends and ourselves, w
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was going to write a lot about this book, but I'm going to simply say that you should read it. Just do it. You'll never see humanity, or issues in your own life, in quite the same way.
Trish Khoo
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny and packed with insight
Tara Shah
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exceptional book. Changed my life solidly for the better. Please read.
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody who wants to live well and be happy
Absolutely amazing. I cannot recommend this book too highly. The generalized insights on human psyches and relationships are unlike anything I've ever seen anywhere else.

The authors start by discussing the characteristics of exceptionally healthy families and spend the rest of the book expanding widely and thoroughly in all directions. They talk about what it's like for individuals, families, companies, and societies to be mentally and emotionally healthy, unhealthy, or somewhere in the middle
Jan 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book that takes some thought, delving into research about what makes the 'healthiest' people, families, organisations and countries. It's written as a conversation between John Cleese and the late Robin Skynner (his therapist) with a few moments of humour. It makes for an enjoyable read but the depth of the concepts isn't always immediately obvious.

The sections on 'religion' were rather revealing, despite some facets not tying in with Christian belief. A surprising emphasis is given to Jesus'
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written after 1 year of reading:
The book is in the form of a written conversation, which makes it very easy to read.
The book contains a lot of statistical information resulting from academic or other studies and Robin and John talk about what they mean. It is very interesting to read how these two clever people translate the outcome of these studies in everyday language. I think that this book should be read every once in a while. It is not at all like a self improvement do-this do-t
Simon Patience
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is he kind of book that, when you read it, you'll feel cobwebs being swept out of the corners of your unconscious. It's one of those books that is good to have around the house so that you can dip into it now and again depending on what you're confronting in your life.

It's sequel, Families and How to Survive them (which I'm rereading at the moment), is just as good.

I would like to know, though, how discredited or dated the counselling and psychiatric communties would
Thomas Strömquist
The sequel to "Families" stays true to sequel form by being more of the same and not quite as good. Family dynamics is probably quite enough of a topic for a book and when the duo takes the leap to explain Life, the bite feels a bit too large to chew. Skynner's self-assured teachings, told to a bit too uncritical Cleese does not ring quite so true this time around. Still, it is an entertaining book, and not without insights and good passages.
John Khoury
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can't give it anything other than 5 stars. I studied Psychology in college but this book took it all and made it relevant to my life. Thoroughly enjoyable and well-presented. Despite it's dialog format, you don't get the feeling that the book is scripted (though it must be) and it doesn't go off on all these tangents as a normal conversation would - it has all the logical build up of a proper non-fiction book. A must read.
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Using John Cleese's wit and Robin Skynner's thoughtful insights, this book illuminates patterns in the lives of people who are most satisfied with their lives -- not the usual "disfunctional" targets of psychological research. This remains a really useful and fun way to re-think your approach to new people, situations, and problems.
Jun 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
Very interesting format, quite easy to absorb the basics due to the conversational format. I did miss, however, a summary page, point form, to summarise the basics. Apart from that, quite an interesting book on the various stages of 'healthiness' from all levels of society - micro & macro.
May 23, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I only gave this 1 star because unlike the Families edition, I just couldn't get into this book. The chapters were too long and it was hard to pick up the thread if I had to stop reading part way through. I'm sure it is a very useful book for those who have a bit more time available.
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Informative and extremely eye opening. In some cases the language and/or ideas are a little hard to take as homosexuality is effectively described as a deviation. All in all, the story seems to come back to a fundamental point, that all our avoidances manifest themselves as our fundamental traits.
Vir Batra
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the book, although I feel I may need to read some bits over.
Allen Sam
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still find it interesting after all these years...
David Hyner

helps you to understand why we are, the way we are
Reau Beaut
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still the only comprehensive research on how functions healthy mind. Besides, it's co-written by John Cleese. Stop looking for mental disorder symptoms and learn better some smart things.
Alex Villepique
Jan 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book :-)
Tara Neale
The content of this book is remarkable, but I find the Q&A format difficult to read...thus the lower rating.
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book, very easy to read. Give it a try if you're interested in psychology but have no previous background.
rated it really liked it
Oct 08, 2018
Marc Borgers
Oct 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book that changed my life.
rated it it was amazing
Apr 28, 2012
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Jun 03, 2012
Patrick Ferguson
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Nov 03, 2018
Ella Roose
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Aug 20, 2018
Badra GE
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May 02, 2019
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Mateusz Florek
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Sep 23, 2019
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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
“Life is a terminal disease, and it is sexually transmitted.” 71 likes
“The healthier people are, the more they are willing to admit to their limitations and so the more open they are to the possibility of improvement.” 18 likes
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