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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

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,061 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Living life as a happy, mature adult does not always come easily to all of us. In this best-selling work, David Richo conveys to his readers just how to do this, based on his many years' experience as a psychotherapist and workshop leader. The author uses as a model the heroic journey whose three phases--departure, struggle, and return--explain what happens in us as we evo ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published January 1st 1991 by Paulist Press
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 ·  1,061 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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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
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 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. ...more
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
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
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. ...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.
David Teszár
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book should be required reading for people in their 20s. Reading and re-reading every 2-3 years.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I recommend everyone read this. It contains more wisdom and truth than one could get out of many years of therapy. His integration of accountability, spirituality, and responsibility set this book apart from others. He is direct, concise, and clear.
Alexander Butler
If you're only going to read one personal development book (and you don't have a copy of mine) then this is the one. Amazing little book. I recommend this to more coaching clients than any other book. ...more
Rebecca Noran
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was excellent. So much wisdom packed in so few pages. I underlined and starred practically every other sentence. What they don’t teach you in school. I plan to pick it up again and again. Unassumingly amazing. Highly recommend.
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is life changing and I keep going back to it, and I expect to keep going back to it.
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
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. ...more
Mar 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
How does a person change for the better? How do you grow as an individual? How much is a person’s growth socially conferred, and then, how much is growth a change of substance: something so deep-down and personal that the change cannot be verbally communicated, it can only be reflected in your actions, in the way you share with others, not what you share.

I have been a hardline skeptic of personal growth stuff since I was thirteen because it promised my mom and me so much more than it delivered.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The origin of our identity is love.

In adulthood the needs can be for filled only flexibly or partially since we are interdependent and our needs are no longer connected to our survival.

The adult is satisfied with reasonable dividends of need for filament in relationships.

Knows how to love unconditionally and get tolerate no abuse or stuckness in a relationship.

Changes the locus of trust from others to himself so that he receives loyalty when others show it and handles disappointments when ot
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
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the category of “books with awful titles”, but some enjoyable chapters. Is a slow read as is dense and takes time for reflection.

In reading it be prepared for spending time reflecting or journaling about how you act, react, or respond in relating with others.

One snippet: “before making any serious or lasting decision, test yourself at wanting it consistently each day for one to six months.”

Charles Nguyen
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Life-changing and powerful. This book both empowers and charges you to understand yourself so that you are able to take care of you. I'll be re-reading this a few times. Great way to start the new year... A year of continued learning and discovery.

“Wonderful changes are happening in me; I allow them.”
"My life is rich and complete; I am rich and complete."
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.
Margaret Bryden
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
At first I found the book a bit dry. But, the wisdom contained in the pages of this book is so incredible I couldn’t stop reading. I wish this book’s content was taught in public schools! I will be referring back to this book again and again for many years to come.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Finished but will be revisiting it often. Feeling lightened by the reminder that we have everything we need within us, and that we have the capacity to love unconditionally in every part of our lives and selves - even the parts that we do not want to accept.
Valentina Cassis
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book made from the knowledge of amazing psychologists and spiritual mentors that will help you get rid of any childhood wound you may still have and accept the life as it is. Great life guide to re-read often and feel inner joy, no matter who or where you are in your life.
Allen O'Brien
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is concise, deep, and has been massively important for me. It collects and continuously names so many elements of the journey— adding clarity to what we may have intuited or gathered from so many other resources. It’s worth a read.
Apr 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
An excellent book that all adults and adult-to-be’s should read. Concise, dense, yet very readable. I like the chapters on fear, anger, and guilt and how to make sense of these three most common emotions.
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. ...more
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.
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.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Deceptively short book; took a year to read, will probably refer to it throughout the rest of my life
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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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