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How to Be an Adult: A Handbook on Psychological and Spiritual Integration
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How to Be an Adult: A Handbook on Psychological and Spiritual Integration

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  728 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
Using the metaphor of the heroic journeydeparture, struggle and returnthe author shows readers the way to psychological and spiritual health.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published May 1st 1991 by Paulist Press
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Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What impressed me most about this book is that Richo doesn't offer any kind of objective evidence to back up his statements; he just comes right out and says what he believes to be true about being a mature adult. He often makes bold statements in a very compelling (and sometimes provocative) way. I certainly didn't agree with all of it, but his confident and intelligent voice was compelling enough to make me want to stay with it. This is a literary self-help book. There are no quick fixes, and ...more
Nov 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I didn't always like this book as I was reading it -- it was dry at times, and irritatingly "soothe your inner child" at others. That said, this book changed my life. I'm not sure I've ever seen so many fundamental truths spelled out in such accessible, straight-forward language. Many people seem to swing between the extremes of needing too much and needing too little from other people; Richo seems to understand how to be an independent, self-actualized person while still receiving an appropriat ...more
Nov 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who breathes
This is the best, most concise book on psychological transformation. If you read this and get it and can embody it, you will jump up the learning curve of life. For the rest of us, it's a great companion to any personal growth work.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very good - however, I can say this for sure: Richo only gets better!!! That is exciting for all of you who have started with this book. Keep reading - Richo is quickly becoming one of the primary motivators in my life. Richo inspires me to create new spins on classic phrases like, "Richo bless you" and, "I believe in Richo" and "Richo-damnit" Okay, the last one went to far, but I freaking LOVE Richo.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology, self-help
I like David Richo's teachings. That said, this particular book is like stumbling onto his notes for a class--very straight forward without stories, etc. In some ways I appreciated that, and in other ways, it was too dry for me to feel inspired.
Julien Law
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book is a compilation of cliff notes highlighting basic Eastern philosophies. Yes, it will tell you what to do and how to be, steering you in a general direction, but it never delves any farther than that to give detailed instructions about how to do any of it. So overall, it is a summary of concepts invented by others and transcribed into laymen's terms for the lazy American.
Aimee Barnes Pestano
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
An accessible synopsis of the hero's journey and integration of the self. Richo combines wisdom from Buddhism and Catholicism as well as his decades of experience working as a psychotherapist and retreat leader to instruct on evolving from a neurotic ego to a healthy one. This book is a useful guide for people in recovery from substance use disorders, eating disorders or codependency, as well as mental health professionals and coaches working with clients who have chosen to embark on the hero's ...more
Claudia Loureiro
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
This is an amazing book for helping to figure out issues remaining from not-having-the-best-childhood-ever and learning 100% of everything that you need to get through life. Even though I am well into my adult years, this book has been an absolute eye-opener to me in so many ways. It is written in a very concise manner, as the author states at the outset, and is extremely straightforward in approach. This book is about growth and it is filled with love, kindness and gentleness! I've invited a co ...more
Lee Ann
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled onto this book during a recent silent retreat. I found it very practical in helping me explore issues from my childhood/past that were affecting how I respond to events today and obscuring my true self. I liked it enough that I bought a second book of his.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The first part of this book has made me know that I still keep using pacifier.
It's a pretty short and compact book, but very dense. I'll need to read it again when the slaps I've got from it's first reading sediment in some way.
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read!

I will definitely reference back to this book in the future. Very insightful and gives me a lot to think about.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this carefully over a few years even though it's a thin book. I wanted to mull over his writing. It served me well.
Terri Strange
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
a lot of practical advice for learning how to take responsibility, give up victimhood, assert your desires and give up entitlement. good exercises for shadow integration work as well.
Muhammed Abiola
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great short psychological read.
Colleen Wainwright
One of the best books I've read on living mindfully in the real world, both from the "why" and the practical, how-to perspectives. Great lists and examples throughout, very clearly (and clearly, thoughtfully) written. It's one of those books that found me at just the right time, and that I read with both great understanding—because I have finally have some experience with both the disconnect between mind and spirit that he describes, *and* some awareness that it's that disconnect I'm experiencin ...more
Corrie Campbell
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysticism
David Richo's book "How To Be An Adult" is full of psychological insights and genuine spiritual wisdom. It is a sound book which emphasizes ideas and techniques that helps oneself do the personal work needed to enrich our lives by breaking old patterns and seeing what's going on in our blind spots. It is a book to help with your shadow-work.

The book is broken down into a few parts (besides the Intro, Summary and a Reflected Reading section): Personal Work, Relationship Issues, and Integration. E
Melissa Greene
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am not sure how I've missed this book over all these years, but I do believe that books find us. This book is definitely a treasure that I will refer to again and again, both for personal development and a reference in the treatment I provide through psychotherapy. Already many of my clients are tired of hearing about it! This book follows the theme of the hero's journey described by Joseph Campbell-- that in all our lives there is a call to higher consciousness, the struggle in working toward ...more
Steffan Bard
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't re-read books often, but this is one I've thoroughly benefitted from coming back to time and time again. The wisdom here is quite rich, and I'd dare to say this is the most "nutrient dense" book I've read to date.

The clarity with which Richo elaborates on so many key predicaments of the human experience is refreshing and challenging. A lot of it helps cut through the polarizing nature that's all too easy to approach issues of life. For instance, on control, we might think we need to give
Paul Blaney
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I decided it was probably time to learn this trick! This is a very slim volume but a very dense one. Like a series of notes that could have been worked up into a 300-page book. I'm glad they weren't, but this one requires plenty of pauses for thought. I like, too, how the author brings together psychology and spirituality. With a good dose of Jung. And lots of wonderful quotes and valuable affirmations.

The book is patterned on the hero's journey, although here the route is from neurotic ego via
Sep 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Richo uses the metaphor of the heroic journey to describe the process toward psychological and spiritual maturity. First he discusses "personal work" and the three challenges to adulthood: fear, anger, and guilt, as well as the self-esteem that comes from meeting those challenges. Then he discusses relationships and the dual problem of maintaining personal boundaries and establishing appropriate intimacy. Finally, he discusses the techniques of integration: flexibility, befriending the shadow, u ...more
Sahar Pirmoradian
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
The previous psychological book that I had read, "Staying OK", pointed me to be an adult. But I was not sure what it really means to be an adult and how I can be one. I searched and found this book. It is a great book that gives you indeed a concise definition of being an adult. It is concise because it offers you a list of points without going deep into each point or without giving examples to make the point clear. It is not a self-help book because it borrows a lot of jungian ideas without pre ...more
This is basically all of talk therapy condensed into a hundred pages. I have a mixed relationship at best with talk therapy, but I do think it has its useful points, and this is a hell of a cheaper way to get at them than paying for a few hour-long sessions.

The chapter on anger was particularly powerful, and did a good job explaining how to separate anger-the-feeling from its more dramatic manifestations. The chapter on dream analysis, on the other hand, should probably be skipped unless you hav
May 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A very short book, but very chewy. Dr. Richo breaks down some of the challenges that individuals face in relationship to themselves and those they are in relationship with. He also outlines how to identify certain belief and behavioral patterns that might keep individuals stuck in certain ways of being and some alternatives to those learned behaviors. Good stuff. A little intense, since I could really identify some of my own emotional habits being elucidated (kind of like having a bright light t ...more
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is my handbook for life... I have referred to it over and over again for over a decade now... it is finally starting to make sense for me. If you are interested in developing a deeper understanding of yourself and your relationships - and if you are drawn to the Jungian perspective - this is a great book... the only book you need. I am now working my way throuhg it with a therapist and it has been very rewarding.
Mark Henderson
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Remains as the most impactful book I've read in the past couple of years. Each re-reading leaves me with so much to think about in regards to assertiveness, responsibility for my own emotions, and boundaries for all types of relationships. Richo writes from a definitively practical, therapeutic position. No fluff here. The book is just ~150 pages of approachable and meaningful - and sometimes difficult - emotional work.
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is a bit of a dry read but it was one of the most life changing books I've ever read in regards to understanding myself. It is like the ultimate handbook to feelings. There is a chapter on anger, a chapter on guilt, and a chapter on fear. There is also a section about assertiveness vs. aggressive and passive behavior. It helped me to see that each person is responsible for their own feelings and that betrayal and rejections are not feelings at all, but beliefs.
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It took a long time to finish this book.... It's really a deep read, even in its 100+ pages, packs a wisdom that requires one digest slowly and go back from time to time to get the fullness of the gifts Richo has shared with the world. Practical exercises and techniques to assist in self reflection and self development. This has become one of my favorite books, with Siddhartha and Black-No-More, that I look forward to returning to.
Celia Juliano
How to Be an Adult is a concise, enlightening book. This book speaks to me where I am and has so much helpful and empowering information, thoughts, and quotes that it's one of the few self-help books I've bought. I've already read the first section twice--it's a book I'll come back to again and again and will be seeking out more books my David Richo.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rosa by: Eliza Chappell
A clear and straightforward guide to the hardest task each of us faces: growing up. Discusses making peace with your past, building fulfilling relationships with healthy boundaries, handling conflict, and creating a meaningful life. All stuff that's far easier said than done of course, but this book says it well and surely that's something.
Sep 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is not an ordinary book where you can simply breeze through. Though the book is slim, each page is compact with meaning that forces you to dig deep and reflect. I think this is a type of book where you can revisit at any stage in your life and still be able to find gems in each chapter that can help enrich your lifestyle.
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David Richo, PhD, is a therapist and author who leads popular workshops on personal and spiritual growth.

He received his BA in psychology from Saint John's Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, in 1962, his MA in counseling psychology from Fairfield University in 1969, and his PhD in clinical psychology from Sierra University in 1984. Since 1976, Richo has been a licensed marriage, family, and chi
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“In the hero stories, the call to go on a journey takes the form of a loss, an error, a wound, an unexplainable longing, or a sense of a mission. When any of these happens to us, we are being summoned to make a transition. It will always mean leaving something behind,...The paradox here is that loss is a path to gain.” 39 likes
“We are born with inalienable emotional needs for love, safety, acceptance, freedom, attention, validation of our feelings, and physical holding. Healthy identity is based on the fulfillment of these needs.” 5 likes
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